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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks


Missing Bats

Neftali Feliz won the AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award Monday.  His effectiveness against left-handed batters helped him take home the trophy.  LHB managed just a .127/.214/.195 slash line against the right-handed Feliz, striking out 40 times in 118 at bats.  Neftali could throw the ball by them in the strike zone:

Neftali Feliz, swing and miss, 2010Throwing in the high 90s will do that.  He could also catch them looking.  Not only did they take pitches on the outside corner, Feliz's movement toward the batter caused them to take pitches over the heart of the plate.

Neftali Feliz, taken strikes, 2010I suspect left handed batters will be looking for ways to adjust to these pitches so they can hit the balls over the middle of the plate rather than watching them go by.


Added Dimensions

Aaron Gleeman notes that Jorge de la Rosa could be the Yankees back up plan if they do not sign Cliff Lee.  Both throw left-handed.  Both showed significant improvement over their career numbers since the start of the 2008 season.  Jorge is two years younger than Cliff.  De la Rosa would come at a lower cost, and the reason can be seen in the movement of his pitches.  Both pitchers see mostly right-handed batters, so the study concentrates on those hitters.

Jorge de la Rosa, pitch movement to RHB, 2008-2010Note that de la Rosa does a good job of mixing up the vertical component of his pitches.  He throws pitches (mostly fastballs) that stay up, and pitches with a big drop.  Almost all his pitches, however, move toward right-handed batters. 

Cliff Lee, pitch movement to RHB, 2008-2010

Lee adds two dimensions to his pitch movment.  His pitches not only stay up and drop, buy move left and right as well.  Lee forces batters to add two more dimensions to their thinking when trying to judge a pitch, and that makes solving the problem of hitting him much more difficult.  Lee is Kirk to de la Rosa's Khan.


Cano's Power

Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long worked with Cano this season to improve his ability to turn on the inside pitch.  Here are his SLG% heat maps for the last 3 seasons.

Robinson Cano SLG% 2008Robinson Cano SLG% 2009Robinson Cano SLG% 2010You can see that Cano improved significantly on pitches inside in 2010.

Cano has also put more distance under his fly balls in each of the last 3 years.

Robinson Cano FB Distance 2008Robinson Cano FB Distance 2009Robinson Cano FB Distance 2010The Yankees have a number of veteran hitters that are in their decline years.  Jeter, who is sure to sign soon, had an awful 2010.  Alex Rodriguez's power has been in the decline since 2007.  While some of his problems in the last two seasons were probably due to his hip injury, he's not likely returning to his mid decade MVP form. 

At 28, Robinson Cano still has some of his best hitting years ahead of him, something this aging Yankees lineup will need.