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Entries in AL East (3)

Wednesday
May162012

Top Hitters with Two Strikes

Most Hits with Two Strikes in 2012
RankPLAYERpaH2B3BHR
T1Adam Jones8324303
T1Derek Jeter7724600
3Josh Reddick8423400
T4David Ortiz7322304
T4Martin Prado8122410
T6Joe Mauer8521414
T6Rafael Furcal7621301
T8Mark Ellis7920201
T8Emilio Bonifacio10020510
T10Daniel Murphy7219310
T10Ryan Braun8219011
T10Bryan LaHair7419400
T10Prince Fielder7619704
T10Elvis Andrus8119503
T10A. J. Ellis7219404
T10Dustin Pedroia8319522
T17Edwin Encarnacion8917702
T17Joey Votto7817403
T17Jayson Werth6917202
T17Brett Lawrie7617301
T17Michael Bourn9217501
T17Michael Cuddyer8117100
T17Curtis Granderson9217003
T17Ian Kinsler8717111
T17Nelson Cruz8017200

Adam Jones has been on fire for the Baltimore Orioles. He's batting .302 with a .591 slugging percentage. And his .397 wOBA is 67 points higher than his 2008-2011 average. Jones is apparently doing much better with two strikes as well, as he's tied with Derek Jeter for the league lead in hits when one pitch away from a strikeout.

In 2011, Jones had 51 hits in two strike counts, and with not even a quarter of the current season finished he's almost half way there. His wOBA with two strikes between 2008 and 2011 was .245. In 2012: .388.

One possible reason for his success this year is that Jones has become more selective when down in the count. Between 2008 and 2011, Jones chased 54.0% of pitches out of the zone with two strikes. This season that number is down to 49.4%. Jones is also making more contact in two strike counts as his miss rate is down to 19.1% from 22.8% between the 2008 and 2011 seasons.

Of course, there's always a little bit of luck involved with balls in play, and Jones is no exception. His BABIP with two strikes is a rather high .408, compared to .312 between 2008 and 2011, and a .298 League Average BABIP with two strikes in 2012.

Tuesday
Apr172012

Big Game James

James Shields entered Monday's game against the Boston Red Sox with his team facing the possiblity of getting swept in four straight at Fenway.  He certainly stepped up, holding the Red Sox to no runs and four hits while striking out five over 8.1 innings.

James Shields vs. Red Sox LHB, April 16th, 2012James Shields vs. Red Sox RHB, April 16th, 2012Last year, Shields relied on his fastball only 35.3% of the time; fairly low compared to the league average of 46.2%.  Last night, he mixed up his pitches quite well, and in fact only threw 14 fastballs, accounting for just 14.8% of his total pitches.

In addition, Shields made sure to keep the ball away from righties yesterday, as you can see from the above graphic. Take a look at where RHB hurt him most in 2011:

James Shields vs. RHB, 2011 Regular SeasonShields really limited right-handed batters in 2011 by hitting that outside part of the zone. He followed this pattern yesterday and as a result, the Tampa Bay Rays got a much needed 1-0 victory.

Thursday
Aug252011

Who Is Benefiting from an Expanded Strike Zone?

Minimum 300 pitches thrown out of the strike zone (Click image to enlarge)

The above graphic shows all the pitches that were called strikes by umpires this season even though though they missed the strike zone. The list is sorted by called strike percentage, showing which pitchers have benefited the most from a generous strike zone.

Umpires seem to like the AL East; seven of the top ten pitchers with the highest called strike rate on balls out of the strike zone play in that division. Then again, Luis Perez of the Blue Jays has the worst rate in the league at 2.9%. Livan Hernandez of the Washington Nationals has the highest total number of called strikes out of the zone with 182.