Mike Napoli (TEX) has been the most productive hitter in the last month of baseball. His .567 wOBA since July 6th leads the majors and is 85 points better Hideki Matsui (OAK) in second place on the list.
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Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies and Carlos Quentin of the Chicago White Sox lead the majors in hit by pitches since the start of the 2008 season. Utley leads with 77 and Quentin is close with 75, but there is a big fall off to Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers with 50. Utley and Quentin do a great job of leaning in so they are closer to the strike zone.
Utley comes very close to getting hit in the strike zone, which would be strikes. He also manages to take a pitch on the foot more often than most left-handed batters.
Carlos does not lean in as much as Utley, with the highest concentration of hit by pitches very much inside. The difference between Quentin and most right-handed batters, is he lacks the big fall off as the pitches get closer to the plate. Maybe he's just better at getting out of the way of the border-line strikes than Utley, as he seldom gets hit low.
This is not a trival stat. Hit by pitches add over 20 points to Utley's and Quentin's OBP in this time frame. Avoiding outs is a hugh part of offense, and these two players found a painful way to help out their teams.
When the Angels acquired Vernon Wells from the Blue Jays they had two goals: one, to move the then disappointing Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera; and two, to compensate for losing the Adrian Beltre sweepstakes. They certainly had to anticipate they would get some semblance of the player who through 12 seasons had averaged .280 and had an .804 OPS.
They didn't get it.
So far this season, Wells has a .214 batting average and a .640 OPS.
Here is the Wells 2011 slugging picture
Clearly, Wells is doing practically nothing on the outside of the plate.
On the outside
The power numbers on the outside portion of the plate are even sadder than his batting average. He has just three doubles, one triple, and just one homer coming from that zone.
Wells is not doing well on inside pitches either.
Power numbers on inside pitches are clearly better with two doubles and seven homers, but still not great.
Wells is really struggling against righties
What perhaps is most surprising is that this veteran hitter is overwhelmed when he has two strikes on him at any point in the count.
With two strikes
It is crunch time in this season and while Wells is not going to end up with great numbers, he still has shown the skills in the past to have a hot final seven weeks. If he does, it could still end very well for the Angels in their race for the postseason.