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« An analytic look at the struggles of Alex Rodriguez | Main | The rookie Septembers of Mays, Mantle, Harper, and Trout »
Monday
Oct082012

David Ortiz has learned to be a home body

There are many reasons for the Titanic-like collapse of the Boston Red Sox but other than being hampered by damaged Achilles' you can't blame this disaster on David Ortiz

The Red Sox finished their miserable Fenway season with a 35-47 record and once again, you can't blame Big Papi. In fact, over the last four seasons, David Ortiz has improved his home batting average by close to a hundred points.

For all the public relations and marketing reasons to sign David Ortiz, there are none more important than his Fenway hitting prowess.

David Ortiz home batting average over the last four seasons:

Year

BA

2009

.263

2010

.278

2011

.342

2012

.359

 

How has Ortiz done this?

When I shared this with a colleague yesterday, his first assumption was a drop in power as Ortiz sought to become more of a contact hitter.

It's a good guess, but it is incorrect.

David Ortiz home slugging percentage over the last four seasons:

Year

SLG

2009

.532

2010

.547

2011

.588

2012

.706

 

Ortiz has improved his home slugging pct. by over 170 points over the last four seasons.

There has been no drop in power

Year

G

AB

2B

HR

2009

78

278

19

18

2010

72

245

19

15

2011

76

272

26

13

2012

47

170

20

13

 

Again we ask: How has Ortiz done this?

Here are Big Papi's 295 hits at Fenway since 2009

Ortiz at Fenway 2009-12

Compare that to Ortiz' 239 on the road

Ortiz on the road 2009-12As you can see, the answer is as evident as the famous smile on David's face.

Compare the positive results in left field. Let me save you the trouble of counting the dots.

Ortiz has countered the right sided over-shift played on him by taking advantage of the dimensions of Fenway Park. In other words, Big Papi and the Green Monster are good buds.

Here are David's hits to far left field, left field, and left-center.

Away

76 total hits from 2009-12

Home sweet Fenway

122 hits around, off, and over the MonsterUnderstanding going to the opposite field has made a Ortiz a better batter, away and at home.

Here is Ortiz 2009-12 batting avg. away from home going to the opposite field

In 159 games, Ortiz has hit .292 with 13 doubles and 3 homers

Here is Ortiz 2009-12 batting avg. at Fenway going to the opposite field

In 153 games, Ortiz has hit .488 with 42 doubles and 15 homersBottom line:

I admit, I am not a fan of a dedicated Designated Hitter. I prefer guys who can play the field and I like the concept of rotating veterans in and out of the slot in order to give them a blow. Having said that, I simply can't imagine that the Red Sox, as they look at another bridge year, won't find it worth the price of the toll to bring David Ortiz back for another season or two.

And Big Papi probably won't find a better place to play.

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