The two interactive scatter charts below display 2013 American and National League pitchers along with their respective opponent miss rates and strikeout rates. These charts include data through the games that occurred on April 24, 2013. You may mouseover each pitcher to view their data points.
This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks.
Mike Napoli may have found a silver lining to the offseason hip cloud he experienced.
Think about this: Napoli had agreed to three-year $39 million contract with the Red Sox. Boston fans waited and waited for the deal to become official. Then came the news in December that catcher/first baseman Napoli was suffering from avascular necrosis, a degenerative bone disease that was doing a number on his hips. Both camps regrouped and after much negotiations, now just first baseman Napoli ended up with a one-year deal worth $5 million.
Today, 19 games into this season, Napoli's hips are behaving and he leads the majors with 25 RBI. The team record for April is 25 held by Manny Ramirez who did his damage in 23 games in 2003.
Napoli is hitting .278 and slugging .570. In 10 games at home, he's hitting .306 and slugging .611 with five doubles, two home runs, and 12 RBI. At Fenway, he's hitting .389 with runners on base and has gone 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
This is what .611 slugging looks like
Napoli is showing tremendous horizontal coverage of the strike zone but the pitcher who attempts to get a pitch by Napoli low in the zone is simply punished.
That red area you see on the heat map above reflects a .400 batting average and an .875 slugging percentage, all four of his homers, and 17 RBI.
Look how effective Napoli has been when he's come to the plate with runners on base
- BR = Base runners
- BRS - Base runners scored
- As you can see, Napoli is driving in baserunners at an amazing rate with productivity approaching that of some full seasons.
All of this with the right-hand hitting Napoli so far looking miserable against lefties.
Whiffs are still an issue
There is still some reality that could be an issue when Napoli's .367 BAbip stabilizes: Napoli has struck out 26 times good for sixth in the majors with Rickie Weeks and if you need some perspecitve, Adam Dunn, the current model of hitting inefficiency, has whiffed 27 times.
However, we wait and watch Napoli drive runners home and possibly turn a cloud's silver lining into pure gold.
AL Teams Batting Average and BA w/RISP
I can't help be fascinated with the differential between team batting average and team average with runners in scoring position as an indicator of team success.
AL teams are hitting .251 overall and .251 with runners in scoring position
It stands to reason then that the teams that are succeeding this young season are the ones with the highest positive differential between the two figures.
As you mouse over the teams, you can see that in terms of batting, the team closest to the average is Houston. Remember, this only takes into account batting and clearly the 5-13 Astros have problems that far exceed their ability to hit with runners in scoring position.
When you look at the Kansas City Royals numbers you can see why they are a first place team. Their batting avg. is fifth best in the league, but their abilty to hit with runners in scoring position is the best in the AL and at +55 points, you can see a reason for their success.
Look at the Twins, and you can see a reason for their surprising early success. They have a +49 point differential. The Red Sox have a +35 which has brought them success when paired with their strong pitching.
Wonder why the Tigers with their great bats are off to a rocky start? How about hitting 42 points lower with runners in scoring position as an answer?
The Angels have the highest batting average in the league at .280, but are only hitting .223 w/RISP. This puts them in the bottom four in the league.
But no team is exhibiting worse timely hitting than the White Sox
Chicago, like Toronto, is not hitting well overall, both at .232. But as bad as the Jays are hitting with RISP at .200, that is robust compared to the White Sox at .170, a -62 differential.
Unless, and until, those two teams narrow the gap, the liklihood of even reaching .500 this season remains remote.
In the meantime, as the Royals, Twins, Red Sox, Orioles, and Rangers continue to hit well with runners in scoring position, we will see them above .500 and challenging in their respective divisions.