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Derek Jeter's Hit Types

Derek Jeter 2011 Hit Type
Line Drive10.0%.250.200.2500.0%.180
Fly Ball10.0%.200.200.2000.0%.180
Ground Ball76.0%.289.289.3160.0%.269
Pop Up2.0%.000.000.0000.0%.000
Total In Play100.0%.265.260.2860.0%.241
Total 100.0%.241.260.2590.0%.268

Although it's only been 61 plate appearances into 2011, Derek Jeter(NYY) seems to be picking up where he left off last season. His ground ball tendencies seem to be intensifying and even when he does get under a ball, he doesn't get much distance on it. In case you happened to notice, bunt data is not included in the chart which is why the percentages don't add up to 100.

Since Jeter's major hitting woes appeared to begin in 2010, here's his combined 2010 and 2011 hit type data, followed by his prior two seasons.

Derek Jeter 2010-2011 Hit Type
Line Drive15.9%.660.640.9202.0%.669
Fly Ball16.2%.294.229.6867.8%.392
Ground Ball65.5%.245.245.2600.0%.226
Pop Up1.2%.000.000.0000.0%.000
Total In Play100.0%.318.305.4311.6%.322
Total 100.0%.267.305.3621.3%.314

Derek Jeter 2008-2009 Hit Type
Line Drive19.8%.756.747.9772.3%.753
Fly Ball20.3%.308.209.79012.1%.437
Ground Ball57.0%.267.267.2730.0%.242
Pop Up1.5%.059.059.0590.0%.053
Total In Play100.0%.373.352.5182.9%.380
Total 100.0%.319.352.4442.5%.366

Watching Jeter hit has been pretty frustrating over the last year. The ground ball tendencies wouldn't be so annoying if he was making better contact overall. The drop in average on his line drives has been a big problem for Jeter. Since he's not really a home run hitter, he relies more on liners to prop up his average and power numbers. Jeter's .640 BAbip on line drives since the start of the 2010 season puts him in the bottom 8% of all major league hitters. I'd love to say that he's hit a rough patch of luck, but it's just not the case.

Derek Jeter Contact & SLG%
(Click to enlarge)

I posted Jeter's contact graphics a few months ago but I figure they're worth revisiting. The one area he tends to hit the ball well is also the area he has been making less contact. If Jeter is experiencing an overall drop in bat speed, it would explain why he's making less contact in his power zone, as well as why his ground ball and line drive averages are down. The balls he puts in play would not be hit as hard, making it a lot easier for opposing defenses to field and convert them into outs. I'm not saying this is the case, but it would certainly explain a lot.


The Yankees and the Three Home Run Bears

The Yankees lead the majors in team home runs hit this season.  The types of pitches they hit for long balls can be demonstrated with three particular players and opponents pitch velocity.  First, a look at the team as a whole:

Yankees home run by release velocity and location, 2011.New York batters hit fast pitches high and low, and slower pitches in the middle.  The papa bear here is Alex Rodriguez, who likes his pitches high and fast:

Alex Rodriguez home runs by release velocity and location, 2011.Alex, one of the great sluggers of all time, can handle the high, hard stuff.  This alos gives him power to all fields, as he hit two homers to left this season, one to center and one to right.

Russell Martin comes in as mama bear, who likes his pitches soft and hanging:

Russell Martin, home runs by release velocity and location, 2011.Martin has not been much of a slugger in his career, but he's killing mistakes in the middle of the plate this season.

That leaves Mark Teixeira as baby bear, the slugger where every pitch is just right:

Mark Teixeira, home runs by release velocity, 2011.He hits them high, he hits them low, he hits them fast, he hits them slow.  New York's diverse set of sluggers gives them the ability to take any kind of pitcher deep somewhere in the lineup, and their tremendous power to start the season vaulted them to first place in the AL East.


Chasing Pitches

Chase Percentage Ranking through April 16

No surprise that Vlad Guerrero (BAL) tops the list for highest percent of swings on pitches out of the strike zone. Even the greater than 15% gap between Vlad and Trumbo in second should not come as a shock to anyone who's seen at least a handful of the slugger's ABs. However, over the last three years, Vlad has averaged around a 44% swing percentage on pitches out of the zone. So, as the season progresses, expect him to rein it in a little.

WOBA Ranking on pitches out of the Strike Zone through April 16

None of the players in the top 10 in chase percentage made the top 10 in wOBA on pitches out of the zone. In fact, none appeared in the top 50, and only Pablo Sandoval (SF) made the top 100 at #87.