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Wednesday
Jul062011

Baseball-All-Starlytics: Curtis Granderson: What a difference a year makes

"The Grandy Man can."

Yes, we're all sick of hearing that during Yankee radio casts but the truth is, Curtis Granderson can rake.

Were it not for the beast numbers of Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista, not to mention Asdrubal Cabrera's season, we would be hearing chants of "MVP!, MVP!" at the Stadium

We have written in these pages in praise of Yankee batting coach Kevin Long whose work with Granderson has produced remarkable results. But you really need to see the numbers to appreciate the contrast.

What a difference a year makes

Let's compare Curtis Granderson's 2010 through July 5 to Grandy's 2011 season through July 5.

Granderson to July 5, 2010

Granderson's hot spots look like Caribbean islandsOn the morning of July 6, 2010, Curtis Granderson was hitting .228 with seven homers and 23 RBI. He was slugging .411. He was hitting .192 against lefties with one homer and 22 total bases and 23 strikeouts (more strikeouts than total bases can't be good).

Granderson to July 5, 2011

His Heat Map looks like a view of New England

First look at the difference in the map. He was getting destroyed at this point last year on the outer portion of the plate. High and away (in the strike zone) and low and away were ways of getting him out. That's no longer the case.

Now, look at the difference in his numbers: On the morning of July 6, 2011, Curtis Granderson is hitting .278 (I'm no math genius but I think that's 50 points higher) with 25 homers and 62 RBI. He is slugging .597. He is hitting .260 against lefties with nine homers and 63 total bases and 31 strikeouts (over twice as many total bases as whiffs is very good).

A history making season in the making?

The last Yankee outfielder to hit over 40 homers was Reggie Jackson in 1980 when he hit 41. In fact, and I found this surprising, there really have been relatively few Yankee outfielders with over 40 homers in a season. Babe Ruth did it 10 times, Mickey Mantle four times, Reggie, Roger Maris and Joe DiMaggio did it once each.There have been 26 Yankees, who've played at any position, who have hit over 40 homers and driven in 100+ runs.

Right now, Granderson is en route to being the next, he could be number 27 on this list exhibiting the power of the '27 Yankees.

Tuesday
Jul052011

Inside-Out Avila

Alex Avila of the Detroit Tigers does a great job producing hits on the edges of the plate in 2011.  His ability to work the edges helped put him on the All-Star team.

Alex Avila, in-play batting average on the inside and outside parts of the plate, 2011.Among left-handed batters with 150 PA ending on a pitch in these areas, he owns the highest Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) in the American League:

 

HitterTeamPlate App.BABIP
Alex Avila DET 188 0.402
Victor Martinez DET 150 0.378
Alex Gordon KC 243 0.377
Jacoby Ellsbury BOS 237 0.363
Erick Aybar LAA 150 0.363
Adrian Gonzalez BOS 285 0.356
Asdrubal Cabrera CLE 165 0.347
Casey Kotchman TB 175 0.336
Jack Cust SEA 161 0.333
Matt Joyce TB 194 0.331
Mitch Moreland TEX 199 0.331
Adam Lind TOR 184 0.328
Bobby Abreu LAA 244 0.327
Josh Hamilton TEX 150 0.327
Cliff Pennington OAK 151 0.320
Johnny Damon TB 249 0.318
Denard Span MIN 152 0.318
Brennan Boesch DET 222 0.315
Chris Getz KC 194 0.315
Eric Hosmer KC 170 0.312
Brett Gardner NYY 191 0.303
Carl Crawford BOS 184 0.301
Adam Kennedy SEA 163 0.294
Jack Hannahan CLE 158 0.290
Nick Markakis BAL 245 0.288
Sam Fuld TB 171 0.286
Corey Patterson TOR 220 0.281
Luke Scott BAL 159 0.280
A. J. Pierzynski CWS 198 0.278
Michael Brantley CLE 219 0.277
Curtis Granderson NYY 251 0.276
Melky Cabrera KC 198 0.274
Shin-Soo Choo CLE 214 0.273
Ben Zobrist TB 175 0.270
David DeJesus OAK 179 0.267
Adam Dunn CWS 209 0.264
Robinson Cano NYY 238 0.263
Ichiro Suzuki SEA 272 0.260
Juan Pierre CWS 244 0.258
David Ortiz BOS 215 0.257
J. D. Drew BOS 177 0.255
David Murphy TEX 172 0.252
Hideki Matsui OAK 184 0.250
Justin Smoak SEA 165 0.241
Justin Morneau MIN 162 0.212
Carlos Santana CLE 153 0.211
Daric Barton OAK 190 0.207
Nick Swisher NYY 153 0.195
Mark Teixeira NYY 178 0.194

 

Note that the BABIP for all American League left-handed hitters is .290 on the edges.  Note that when the ball is in the middle of the plate Avila's BABIP drops to .283, with a league average for lefties of .311.

Very high BABIPs and very low BABIPs tend to be unsustainable, since in the long run, batted balls in play tend to get fielded at about the same rate.  Given that Avila is collecting a lot of hits in zones that are not conducive  to that results, I would not be surprised if his production fell off in the second half.

 

Tuesday
Jul052011

Baseball-All-Starlytics: Tim Lincecum vs. Anibal Sanchez

Joe Capozzi in an entry to his  Fish Tank blog on the PalmBeachPost.com site had an interesting piece on Sunday where he talks about how Marlins manager Jack McKeon is frustrated both that pitcher Anibal Sanchez is not going to the All Star game and that Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum is going.

His bottom line comment was this: 

“He’s on his team. And he’s a good pitcher, don’t get me wrong. But do we reward for what you’re doing now or do we reward for what you’ve done in the past? …

“I think the guys, there are lot of guys who will never make the All Star game again who are worthy of being on that team and will never get another chance.

“If he’s not having an all star year, are we voting for all stars for this year? In other words you go out and you bust your tail and have a good year this year, you can’t make it because some guy is hitting 240 that happened to make it the last couple of years. Reward the guys for this year.”

McKeon of course is right. There s always a tendency on the part of voters and selectors to opt for the old "star"with the reputation versus the new "star" with the numbers, but that is a sports tradition. However, that doesn't prevent us from comparing the numbers.

Who is the All-Star: Tim Lincecum or Anibal Sanchez?

Here is Lincecum this season:

Batters are hitting .230 against Lincecum and slugging .339Here is Sanchez this season:
Batters are hitting .238 against Sanchez and slugging .376

The numbers between the two are strikingly close:

 

  • Lincecum has a 3.14 ERA; Sanchez has a 3.30.
  • Lincecum has a 1.193 WHIP; Sanchez an identical 1.193.
  • Lincecum has surrendered seven homers; Sanchez has given up nine.
  • Lincecum has struck out 126 (26% batters faced); Sanchez 11 (24.7%).
  • Lincecum has walked 41 (8.5%); Sanchez 33 (7.3%).

 

Here's the reality:

Yes, on paper, these two are remarkably similar, so if one makes the All-Star squad , the other should as well. But, who has the casual fan heard of: Tim Lincecum or Anibal Sanchez? Who will that fan tune in Fox to see?


After all is said and done, I'm sure that Sanchez and McKeon know the answers to that question, so now Sanchez just needs to wait to see which NL pitcher bails on the game and he is added to the squad.