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Where did Cuddyer's Power Go?

Michael Cuddyer saw his slugging percentage drop 100 points from 2009 to 2010.  The most obvious explanation for the drop would be the move to a new ball park, as the Twins abandoned the Metrodome for the outdoor splendor of Target Field.  There is just one problem with that, as seen in the following table (numbers include the playoffs):


Cuddyer SPct20092010
Overall .523 .426
Home .554 .457
Road .494 .397


It's tough to blame the ballpark when the fall in slugging percentage on the road is the same as at home.  Somehow, his power up the middle disappeared, as most of his home runs in 2010 were pulled down the leftfield line.  In 2009, they spread into the power alley and centerfield.

You can see it in his slugging hot zones.  In 2009, he dominated down the middle of the plate:

Michael Cuddyer slugging 2009.In 2010, that swath of power went cold.

Michael Cuddyer slugging 2010.His power was mostly down and in, the place to pull the ball.  His doubles and triples stayed about the same, however, and there's no evidence pitchers worked him differently.  It could be that at age 31 his bat slowed down a bit, just enough to keep those deep balls that used to go out in the park.


Colorado Rockies' Lucky CarGo

Over at Purple Row, Bryan Kilpatrick recently wrote about expectations for Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez in 2011.  CarGo's first full season in the majors was a tremendous success as he hit .336/.376/.598 and finished in the top 10 in wOBA.  But hitting at Coors probably inflated his overall numbers as his home/road splits indicate.  Kilpatrick notes that CarGo was still above average when compared to how the rest of the league performed away from home.

But what really interested me was Cargo's .384 BABIP last season (top 1% in the majors), indicating he had a fair amount of luck at the plate.  Kilpatrick argues that Gonzalez has "the hit tools necessary to avoid a complete statistical plunge due to BABIP regression." 

I took a look at his pitch splits and found that CarGo had a .417 BABIP versus fastballs, the highest in all of baseball last season.

2010 Top 10 BABIP vs. Fastballs

On average, half the pitches a batter will see in a given season will be fastballs.  I'd argue that CarGo's very high BABIP on fastballs is likely due for serious regression; however, he also managed a 26.6 LD% vs. fastballs last season, and his overall LD% has been climbing every year.  If CarGO continues to square up fastballs as he's been doing, his overall line might not take such a hit when(if?) that BABIP drops.


Arizona's Clutch Hitter

Rob Neyer recently wrote about whether the Arizona Diamondbacks could see a turnaround in the near future. One of the more interesting aspects of Arizona's 2010 season was that they were seventh in the league in OBP and fourth in SLG, yet finished eighth in scoring. As he notes, poor clutch hitting usually accounts for this disparity, but the Diamondbacks apparently did well in this area.

Among all players in the league with a minimum 50 plate appearances with runners in scoring position last year, Arizona had one batter in the Top 50 in wOBA (Mark Reynolds) and five in the Top 100 (LaRoche, Drew, Upton, Montero). Reynolds is an interesting case; while he had a fairly big drop off across the board from his 2009 numbers overall, he excelled in big spots.
Mark Reynolds - 2010
w/ RISP.276.414.619.441

w/ RISP27.6%11.0%8.2%.325

Reynolds is a true outcome player. In 2010, he had the worst K-Rate of any qualifying major leaguer, while finishing in the top 6% in BB% and the top 4% in HR%. All those strikeouts really hurt his overall line, and dropped his OBP into the bottom 34% in the league. He may have gotten a bit lucky in clutch situations last season, as his BABIP saw a pretty big jump. However, it’s worth pointing out that in his last 551 plate appearances with RISP, Reynolds has hit .256/.365/.527 with 30 HRs for a .391 wOBA.
Mark Reynolds w/ RISP 2008-2010

Without Mark Reynolds' elevated numbers with RISP last season, the D-Backs would have likely finished a lot worse than 8th in scoring. Somehow, I don't think Melvin Mora will be able to replace that offense.