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InDepth Spotlight: Wade Davis vs. Jose Bautista

>(Click to enlarge)

Tomorrow, Wade Davis will toe the rubber for the Tampa Bay Rays as they square off against the Toronto Blue Jays at home.  Davis has handled Jose Bautista (TOR) fairly well.  Last year, he held the righty slugger to one hit in 10 plate appearances, striking him out once.

As you can see from the above graphic, Davis has some trouble coming in on righties, while Bautista has been nearly impossible to pitch to for RHP.  Last year, Davis kept the ball away for the most part when throwing to Bautista, and it served him well.

Wade Davis vs. Jose Bautista
(Click to enlarge)

The one hit Bautista managed was off a curveball that got a bit too much of the plate. Expect Davis to continue to keep the ball away from Bautista in tomorrow's matchup.


Alburquerque's Devestating Slider

Al Alburquerque (DET) is winning high praise after three no-hit innings Saturday night.  Jim Leyland described his slider as electric, and batters have yet to earn a hit off the pitch while striking out eleven times in thirteen at bats on the pitch.

Al throws his slider as much as the fastball, and these heat maps show why the pitch is so good:

Al Alburquerque, fastball and slider frequency, 2011.The mass in the middle represents the fastball.  The other mass in the lower corner of the catcher's right hand is the slider.  Here's what the movement looks like:

Al Alburquerque, fastball and slider movement, 2011.The fastball comes in with the expected drop, and moves to the catcher's left a bit.  The slider comes in with a big drop and moves the opposite way.  So if Alburquerque gets a hitter used to the fastball, the slider changes everything the hitter learned.

Yet, in looking at his pitch log, Al sometimes just comes after batters with the slider.  The last batter he faced on Saturday was Asdrubal Cabrerra, and he attacked him with sliders, but moved them all over the strike zone.  He even pulled the string on the last two, dropping them from 86 to 84 MPH.  We'll see how batters adjust to the pitch as the season progresses.


April's Outside Power Hitters

April's Top 15 Power Hitters on Outside Pitches
  • Jose Bautista (TOR) continues to crush pitches regardless of where they are in the zone. His 5 HRs on outside pitches leads all major league hitters. Curtis Granderson (NYY), Mark Teixeira (NYY), and Ryan Howard (PHI) are tied for second with 4 HRs.
  • Peter Bourjos (LAA) leads the league with 4 triples on outside pitches.
  • Carlos Quentin (CWS) leads all hitters with 6 doubles on outside pitches.
  • Carlos Santana (CLE) lead the majors last year with a .643 SLG on outside pitches. He's currently ranked 42nd with a .476 SLG. Albert Pujols, who was ranked 2nd last year with a .601 SLG, currently holds a .167 SLG on outside pitches, putting him in 235th place.