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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks


Best Hitters on Inside Pitches

Top MLB Hitters on Inside Pitches
(Click to enlarge)

Interesting notes: Alex Rodriguez (NYY) is actually making less contact on inside pitches compared to his three previous seasons (72.2% to 80.9%.)  However, he's yet to strike out on an inside pitch this season.  In his three previous seasons, 19.3% of his plate appearances decided on an inside pitch were strike outs.
Stephen Drew's (ARZ) 2010 batting average on inside pitches ranked in the bottom half of the league; his .636 currently ranks second this season.
Ten of Matt Kemp's(LAD) thirty-one HRs since the beginning of 2010 have come on inside pitches.
Brandon Inge (DET) is swinging at 13.6% fewer inside pitches compared to last season; his .377 BAbip on inside pitches since 2008 is 7th best in all of baseball.
Of Starlin Castro's (CHC) 29 hits this season, 14 have come on inside pitches, including one HR, one triple, and three doubles.


Matt Harrison's Dead Fish

At the top of his game, Tom Glavine owned a reverse platoon split.  His statistics would show him more effective against right-handed batters than left-handed batters, despite Tom throwing from the left side.  During my time at ESPN in the 1990s, I asked both Ray Knight and Greg Olson (Glavine's former catcher) why Tom owned that split.  Both gave the same answer, both calling Glavine's off-speed pitch, "a dead fish," one that moved away from right-handed batters.

Matt Harrison is showing a reverse platoon this season.  In his first three years in the majors, Matt produced a normal left/right split.  As you can see, his off-speed pitches to right-handers came in pretty straight, even coming a little in on righties:

Matt Harrison, off-speed pitch movement, 2008-2010.This season, those pitches started moving away from the righties:

Matt Harrison, off-speed pitch movement, 2011.He's shutting down right-handed batters so far this season, holding them to a .135/.224/.192 slash line.  He's showing righties something different, and they have yet to adjust to the change.


Did Carlos Gonzalez Lose Bat Speed?

In 2010, Carlos Gonzalez contended for the NL triple crown and the MVP award.  His .336 batting average led the NL.  He hit fastballs and off-speed pitches well:

Carlos Gonzalez, in play average on off-speed pitches, 2010.Carlos Gonzalez, in play average on fastballs, 2010.Notice that huge hole in the middle of the strike zone on fastballs.  Carlos handled down fine, he handled up and away fine, but throw a fastball down the middle and it gave him problems.  Pitchers have changed their approach to him early in 2011.  In 2010, they concentrated fastballs up and away:

Carlos Gonzalez, fastball location, 2010.In 2011, the concentration of pitches is more toward the middle of the plate and down:

Carlos Gonzalez, fastball location, 2011.Look at that big gob of red smack in the middle of the strike zone.  Major league hitters are supposed to pound that pitch, but Carlos is not doing well with it:

Carlos Gonzalez, in play average on fastballs, 2011.Compare that to how he smacks off-speed pitches:

Carlos Gonzalez, in play average on off-speed pitches, 2011.Gonzalez doesn't strike out much on the fastball compare to the change up and slider, but teams will take him putting fastballs in play for a low average all day long.

So is this a real weakness?  The good news for Rockies fans is that Carlos showed big swings against the fastball in 2010:

Carlos Gonzalez, in play average on fastballs, 2010 timeline.The physical adjustment from going from high altitude to low altitude parks may take a toll on Gonzalez during a season.  This poor start on fastballs may just mean he needs to make an adjustment.  If he flipped this graph in 2011, he would end up doing quite well.