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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Friday
Aug262011

A Grand Night in the Bronx

Eat your heart out, Murderers' Row. Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson each hit a grand slam in last night's 22-9 thrashing of the Oakland Athletics, making the Yankees the first team in major league history to hit three grand slams in a game.

Cano ripped a low-and-inside splitter from Rich Harden over the right field fence in the fifth inning:

  

That's a bad location for Harden, considering that Cano typically crushes pitches low and at the knees:

Cano's in-play slugging percentage by pitch location, 2011

The Yankees second baseman is slugging .778 on pitches thrown down and in, which ranks in the top 10 among MLB hitters.

One inning later, Martin hit an opposite-field shot on a high 96 MPH fastball thrown by Fautino De Los Santos:

  

As was the case with Cano, Martin's blast came on a pitch thrown to one of his hot spots in the zone:

Martin's in-play slugging percentage by pitch location, 2011

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Martin's granny is that he went the opposite way. Just four of the righty batter's 69 career home runs had been hit to the opposite field prior to last night, yet his grand slam was his second opposite-field homer of the night (he also took Harden deep in the fourth frame).

Granderson made history in the eighth, golfing a low 94 MPH Bruce Billings fastball to right-center field:

 

Ranking second in the majors in home runs and slugging percentage, Granderson is scorching pitches thrown just about anywhere in 2011...

Granderson's in-play slugging percentage by pitch location, 2011

...but he's killing fastballs like no one else. Granderson has a major league-best .771 slugging percentage and 24 homers against heaters. Mark Teixeira ranks a distant second in homers vs. fastballs, with 19.

Thursday
Aug252011

Who Is Benefiting from an Expanded Strike Zone?

Minimum 300 pitches thrown out of the strike zone (Click image to enlarge)

The above graphic shows all the pitches that were called strikes by umpires this season even though though they missed the strike zone. The list is sorted by called strike percentage, showing which pitchers have benefited the most from a generous strike zone.

Umpires seem to like the AL East; seven of the top ten pitchers with the highest called strike rate on balls out of the strike zone play in that division. Then again, Luis Perez of the Blue Jays has the worst rate in the league at 2.9%. Livan Hernandez of the Washington Nationals has the highest total number of called strikes out of the zone with 182.

Thursday
Aug252011

Learning Lawrie

Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays made a big splash during his first month in the majors.  Ten of his 20 hits so far landed for extra bases, with four doubles, two triples and four home runs.  Pitchers mostly worked Lawrie away but in the strike zone so far.

Brett Lawrie, pitch frequency, 2011.Lawrie demonstrated great play coverage so far.

Brett Lawrie, in play average, 2011.You can see why pitchers are working him a little lower and a little bit more away.  Going away outside the strike zone isn't that great an idea, however:

Brett Lawrie, swing rate, 2011.Note that Brett shows great selectivity on outside pitches, but is more likely to swing at something in on his hands.  The nice thing about that from the pitcher's point of view is that he generates little power inside:

Brett Lawrie, fly ball distance, 2011.Balls on the inside edge of the plate don't get hit for distance. 

Pitchers are learning Brett's tendancies.  If these hold up, look for them to bust him inside more.