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Entries in Adrian Gonzalez (18)


Jacoby Ellsbury Tater Tidbits

 With three more clouts yesterday, Jacoby Ellsbury has now hit more home runs during the 2011 season (31) than he hit in the minor and major leagues combined from 2005-2010 (30). Here are some tidbits on Ellsbury's tater binge this year.

- Ellsbury has hit 12 homers apiece in hitter's and pitcher's counts, and seven in even counts.

- The lefty hitter is the anti-Adrian Gonzalez, pulling 25 of his homers to right field, going deep to center four times and going the opposite way twice.

- Ellsbury is doing almost all of his damage on pitches below the letters. Just one home run has been on a pitch located high in the strike zone, compared to 21 on pitches located in the middle and nine thrown low:

Pitch location of Ellsbury's HRs, 2011

- Thirty of his dingers have been on pitches located within the strike zone.

- Fifteen of Ellsbury's homers have come at Fenway, and 16 have come on the road.

- Right-handed pitchers have been victimized 26 times, and leties five times.

- Here's a breakdown of how many homers Ellsbury has hit aganst each pitch type:

21 fastballs/sinkers

5 changeups/splitters

5 sliders/cutters

- Ellsbury has saved his most prodigious slugging for September, averaging a season-best 393 feet on his seven homers this month. He averaged 375 feet on his round-trippers from April-August.

 - Ellsbury's 31 shots place him fifth all-time among Red Sox center fielders, according to Baseball-Reference. Here's the rest of the top five:

1. Tony Armas, 43 (1984)

2. Fred Lynn, 39 (1979)

3. Armas, 36 (1983)

4. Carl Everett, 34 (2000)

5. Ellsbury, 31 (2011)

- Measured by OPS+, Ellsbury's big homer season (146 OPS+) ranks ahead of those of Armas (85 in '83, 121 in '84) and Everett (135), but well behind Lynn (176).



Looking When it Counts

White there are plenty of selective hitters in Major League Baseball, there is one count in which batters need to take with certainty, 3-2.  Take a ball and in that count and win a free pass to first base, take a strike and walk back to the dugout.  During the last four seasons, 101 players took at least 100 pitches on a 3-2 count.  The following table shows the hitters who took the highest percentage of walks, or taking ball four:


BatterStrikeout %Walk %
Albert Pujols 9.4% 90.6%
Brian Roberts 8.5% 90.6%
Dustin Pedroia 8.7% 90.4%
Adrian Gonzalez 9.9% 90.1%
Joey Votto 11.0% 89.0%
Miguel Cabrera 10.3% 89.0%
David Ortiz 11.0% 88.4%
Derek Jeter 11.4% 87.9%
Luke Scott 11.4% 87.6%
Andrew McCutchen 12.5% 87.5%


I'm not surprised that sluggers like Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto are near the top of the list.  Often, pitchers will work carefully to these batters, since throwing the a strike might result in a home run.  It's better to try to get them to chase an outside pitch, but these sluggers have an excellent eye for the strike zone.

Note that along with the sluggers are table setters like Dustin Pedroia and Derek Jeter. Their ability to work the count and draw walks makes them so valuable at the top of the order.  You may also notice that the Red Sox stock up on players with great strikeout judgement, as three of these hitters currently reisde in Boston.

At the other end of the spectrum are the hitters who strike out quite often.


BatterStrikeout %Walk %
Drew Stubbs 28.4% 70.6%
Andruw Jones 26.2% 73.8%
Mike Cameron 25.0% 75.0%
Troy Tulowitzki 23.8% 76.2%
Jack Cust 22.1% 77.9%
Jorge Posada 22.0% 77.1%
B. J. Upton 21.7% 77.9%
David DeJesus 21.6% 78.4%
Hanley Ramirez 21.6% 77.8%
Dexter Fowler 21.6% 77.6%


Note that there are a number of good, or formerly good hitters in this list.  Jorge Posada saw his hitting prowess fade this season, but he still reached base at a good clip the last few years.  Troy Tulowitzki rates as the outstanding hitting shortstop in the majors, and Hanley Ramirez held that distinction in previous seasons.  With the exception of B.J. Upton, these are players that are very good, but have more flaws that the group at the top.  It seems that the willingness to take on 3-2 indicates a selective hitter, regardless of how well the 3-2 looks turns out.


Top 20 Hitters on Pitches Within the Strike Zone

Top 20 Hitters on Pitches Within the Strike Zone
(Min. 500 pitches in the Strike Zone - click image to enlarge)

While Adrian Gonzalez's wOBA on pitches in the strike zone leads all hitters, it's 184 points higher than his wOBA on pitches out of the strike zone.  Jose Bautista, however, has a .467 wOBA on pitches missing the strike zone, which is 44 points higher than his wOBA on pitches in the strike zone.  Along with Bautista, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers are the only other hitters in the top 20 of both lists.