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Deadspin on Baseball Analytics

Drop by our Three Up Three Down interview series for daily interviews... Today we were joined by's Chief A.J. Daulerio... Here is A.J.'s take on blogger credentials:

A.J. Daulerio of

"I think MLB clubs (and, frankly, all professional sports teams) should provide access to everyone. Not just bloggers, but anyone who really, really, really wants to go watch a game from a press box and jot little observations about what they see instead of actually enjoying the more" - A.J.


Past guests have included:

Rob NeyerOm Malik, Rob CorddryMolly Sullivan, Casey Stern, Jamie Mottram, Mikey Adams and more... 


Adrian's Approach

Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox talked to the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham about how he changes his approach to hitting with men on base:

Gonzalez explained how having runners on base helps make him a better hitter.

“They’re going to pitch the way they’re going to pitch. But when you have people on base, the pitcher doesn’t want to walk you and put you on base,’’ he said.

“They’re still going to pitch to you. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to throw fastballs down the middle. You just know that if you get to a situation where it’s 2-0 or 3-1, he might throw an offspeed pitch and it’ll be a strike.’’

You can see that in the pitch frequency against Gonzalez with the bases empty and men on:
Adrian Gonzalez, pitch frequency with the bases empty, 2011.Pitchers work him away.  They continue to do so with men on base, but they work more in the strike zone.
Adrian Gonzalez, pitch frequency with men on base, 2011.Mostly pitchers avoid going low out of the strike zone more.  Gonzalez, however, makes another adjustment that he doesn't talk about in the article.  Look where he takes pitches with the bases empty, or more accurately, where he doesn't take pitches:
Adrian Gonzalez, take percentage with the bases empty, 2011.With the bases empty, Adrian looks dead red.  If there's a ball in the middle of the plate he swings, and he usually clobbers it.
Adrian Gonzalez, in play average with the bases empty, 2011.
In fact nine of his thirteen home runs came with the bases empty.  With men on base, his non-take zone moves inside:
Adrian Gonzalez, take pecentage with men on base, 2011.Now he's taking the pitch down the middle quite often, but he's going after the inside strike.  Again, he hits those hard:
Adrian Gonzalez, in play average with men on base, 2011.With men on base, the right side of the infield opens up.  Going after inside pitches allows Gonzalez to pull the ball more, taking advantage of the bigger hole between second and first.  With the bases empty, he swings for the fences.  With men on, he goes for the hit to try to bring them home.  So far, this approach is working as his 60 RBI lead the majors.

Carl Crawford Returns to the Trop

Tonight, Boston's Carl Crawford returns to where he started his career.  Crawford played nine seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays before signing with the Red Sox this offseason.

The start to his Red Sox career has been anything but easy.  Through his first 40 games, he had hit .205/.243/.280 with just one home run and 31 strike outs.  However, he's managed to slowly climb out of that hole and has raised his line to .246/.279/.393.  At this point in the 2010 season, Crawford was sporting a .296/.346/.465 line.

Here's a look at his SLG% heat maps through June 13 for both this season and last:

Data through June 13 (Click to enlarge image)

Crawford has simply not been as dangerous on pitches in the strike zone this season.  Oddly enough, he's hit the same number of HRs (6) and triples (4) that he did at this point last season.  However, he's striking out at a slightly greater rate (14.2% to 16.9% K-Rate), and walking much less (7.1% to 3.4% BB%).  As a result, his wOBA is down over 50 points from where it was at this point last season.

Crawford has never hit lefties well, but this season he's struggled greatly against them.  He's hitting .159/.216/.280 vs. LHP for a .222 wOBA, compared to a .324 wOBA vs. RHP this season.  In his career, he's put up a .264/.310/.376 line against lefties. 

Tonight, Crawford and the Red Sox face James Shields (TB) who is off to a 5-4 start with a 2.85 ERA with the Rays.  Shields has held lefties to a .232/.279/.379 line this season.  Meanwhile, Crawford has been bashing RHP over the last month, with a .419 wOBA including 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 4 home runs in that span.