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Jose Bautista: Selective Endpoints

(Click image to enlarge)

Jose Bautista's power numbers have come down a bunch over the last couple weeks.  Through May 22nd, he had an .816 slugging percentage; since then, .491.  It was unreasonable to expect him to maintain such a high SLG, so the recent regression isn't much of a surprise.  However, through his first 176 plate appearances, Bautista had a wOBA of .534, and it still sits at .509 today.  In fact, over his last 73 plate appearances, he's hit only 2 doubles and 2 home runs, yet still produced a .450 wOBA.  This is partially due to the fact that he's consistently maintained an OBP over .500 for the majority of the season. 

While opposing pitchers haven't changed their location against Bautista, he has seen more off-speed stuff recently.  Since May 23, pitchers have thrown him 7.4% fewer fastballs and 12.1% more sliders.  Lastly, his line drive rate is up from 18.6% through May 22 to 23.9% since, while his fly ball rate dropped from 39.8% to 17.4%.


Cutters and Hit By Pitches

Jon Lester of the Red Sox explained why the cut fastball is a tough pitch to avoid after he hit Mark Teixeira of the Yankees in the knee Tuesday night.

“The Teixeira ball was obviously a terrible pitch,” Lester said. “It’s what comes with that pitch, sometimes it gets away from you. That’s the bad thing about it. A lot of guys don’t move because of that pitch. It looks like a fastball and breaks in and they don’t have time to react by the time it gets there. It’s tough to hit a guy like that and see him go off the field.”

It sounds like a good explanation, but does it hold water?  The following table shows the most common pitches as percent of the total since 2008, and the HBP for each of those pitches:


Pitch Type% Pitches% HBP
Fastball 47.3 48.5
Change up 11.5 5.5
Curveball 9.3 11.9
Slider 15.4 13.3
Cutter 5.2 7.6
Sinker 9.6 11.4


Pitches that move a lot, or are fast, appear to be tougher to avoid.  The cutter is both.  There is about a 50% increase from the percent of cutters thrown to the percent of cutters that hit batters.  For Lester, change is even more pronounced:


Pitch Type% Pitches% HBP
Fastball 37.4 11.1
Change up 10.7 0
Curveball 13.8 22.2
Cutter 24.9 55.6
Sinker 12.5 0


Lester hits a lot of batters with his curve ball compared to all pitches thrown, but you can see why he thinks his cutter does damage.  Over half the batters he hit since 2008 came on his cut fastball.  Of course, that means his cutter is a good pitch.  It moves a lot, and that makes it tougher to hit.


TruMedia Networks In Sports Illustrated

This week's issue of Sports Illustrated (June 13, 2011) includes analysis and heat maps from TruMedia's MLB analytics platform. Here is the story cover page... Be sure to pick up the mag or click here to read this article aboue the cut fastball

Sports Illustrated June 13, 2011 - "The Game Changer"