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Entries in Alfonso Soriano (3)

Monday
Jul292013

Soriano Slugging, Hacking Way to History

(All stats through Friday's games)

The injury-ravaged New York Yankees have hit the fewest right-handed home runs (24) in the majors this season, and they rank just 25th in on-base percentage (.306). Well, the Bombers at least addressed one of those issues by throwing lots of cash ($17.7 million of the $24.5 million he's owed through 2014) at the Cubs to acquire Alfonso Soriano. The 37-year-old is still slugging, but he's drawing walks at his lowest clip in over a decade and is well on his way to making power-hitting, out-making history.

Soriano, who began his career in pinstripes from 1999-2003, has clubbed 17 home runs this season. That's now second best in the clubhouse, behind Robinson Cano's 21. But Soriano has also drawn just 15 free passes. While he has always been a free swinger, Soriano's walk rate (3.9% of his plate appearances) is his lowest since 2002 and his .284 on-base percentage is a career low.

If Soriano keeps going deep (he's on pace for 27 homers) and drawing walks at this pace, he'll join an infamous list of high-slugging, low-OBP hitters that includes the likes of Dave Kingman, Joe Pepitone and teammate Vernon Wells. Should Soriano hit 25 homers while remaining such a prodigious out-maker, he'll post one of the 20 lowest on-base percentages ever among hitters reaching that big fly milestone.

Lowest OBP during 25+ home run season

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

Soriano's has an ultra-low OBP for two main reasons. He's even more of a hacker this season, with his chase rate climbing from 36% in 2012 to 41% in 2013 -- only San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval has been jumpier against pitches thrown out of the strike zone. Soriano also doesn't seem to instill as much fear in pitchers these days. He is seeing more pitches thrown over the plate (46%) than he ever has during the Pitch F/X era (2008-2013).

With power but also a paltry OBP, Soriano has essentially been a league-average hitter this season (99 OPS+). That might beat playing Wells every day, but Soriano's Kingman-esque production is a far cry from his early glory days in the Bronx.

Thursday
Sep202012

30-homer hitters

Last night, Alfonso Soriano and Adam Jones became the 15th and 16th players this season to hit 30 homers.

This was the first time for the right-handed Jones hitting 30 homers.

Jones against righties:

Jones against righties has hit .283, slugged .512 and hit 23 of his 30 homers. he has struck out 80 times.

Jones against lefties:

Against lefties, Jones has .299, slugged .486 and only hit seven homers. He has whiffed 30 times.

Soriano has now hit at least 30 homers in a season six times.

YearAgeTmGPAABHR ▾
2006 30 WSN 159 728 647 46
2002 26 NYY 156 741 696 39
2003 27 NYY 156 734 682 38
2005 29 TEX 156 682 637 36
2007 31 CHC 135 617 579 33
2012 36 CHC 139 568 521 30
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table Generated 9/20/2012.
 

Soriano is now tied with Gil Hodges for 71st place on the all-time HR list, with 370.

Soriano has similar numbers to Jones homering eight times off lefties and 22 times off righties.

Active players with at least four 30+ homer seasons:

All-time leaders in 30+ homer seasons:

Rk YrsFromTo 
1 Hank Aaron 15 1957 1973 Ind. Seasons
2 Alex Rodriguez 14 1996 2010 Ind. Seasons
3 Barry Bonds 14 1990 2004 Ind. Seasons
4 Mike Schmidt 13 1974 1987 Ind. Seasons
5 Babe Ruth 13 1920 1933 Ind. Seasons
6 Albert Pujols 12 2001 2012 Ind. Seasons
7 Jim Thome 12 1996 2008 Ind. Seasons
8 Manny Ramirez 12 1995 2008 Ind. Seasons
9 Jimmie Foxx 12 1929 1940 Ind. Seasons
10 Carlos Delgado 11 1997 2008 Ind. Seasons
11 Sammy Sosa 11 1993 2004 Ind. Seasons
12 Mark McGwire 11 1987 2000 Ind. Seasons
13 Frank Robinson 11 1956 1973 Ind. Seasons
14 Willie Mays 11 1954 1966 Ind. Seasons
15 Rafael Palmeiro 10 1993 2003 Ind. Seasons
16 Fred McGriff 10 1988 2002 Ind. Seasons
17 Harmon Killebrew 10 1959 1970 Ind. Seasons
18 Eddie Mathews 10 1953 1965 Ind. Seasons
19 Lou Gehrig 10 1927 1937 Ind. Seasons
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used Generated 9/20/2012.

Seasons that produced the most 30+ homer hitters:

RkYear#
1 2000 47
2 1999 45
3 1996 43
4 2001 41
5 2004 37
6 2006 34
7 1998 33
8 1997 31
9 2009 30
10 2003 30
11 2008 28
12 2002 28
13 1987 28
14 2005 27
15 2007 26
16 2011 24
17 1993 22
18 1995 21
19 1977 19
20 1970 19
21 2010 18
22 1969 17
23 2012 16
24 1982 16
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used Generated 9/20/2012.
Sunday
May012011

Soriano Catching Up to the Fastball

Alfonso Soriano (CHN) finished April tied for the Major League lead in home runs with ten.  Although his other batting stats are weak, he's slugging like he did prior to the 2009 season.  Soriano is once again able to catch up to the fastball:

 

Alfonso Soriano hitting against fastballs
SeasonAverage SpeedwOBASlugging Pct.
2008 91.0 .441 .650
2009 90.0 .392 .553
2010 91.2 .379 .548
2011 90.8 .488 .781

 

Sorinao's bat speed might have returned, but in 2011 it looks like pitchers are helping him with their fastballs.  In the two down years, the fastballs Alfonso saw tended to be down and away or up and in:

Alfonso Soriano, fastball pitch frequency, 2009-2010.There was a good reason for this pattern, as Soriano's power tended to be up and way and down and in:

Alfonso Soriano, in play slugging percentage on fastballs, 2009-2010.So far this season, Alfonso has seen fastballs up:

Alfonso Soriano, fastball pitch frequency, 2011.

And he's killing the high pitch.

Alfonso Soriano, in play slugging percentage on fastballs, 2011.He's catching up to the high and tight pitch, which says to me he improved his bat speed.  He's even slugging better on the few down and away fastballs he's seen.  The change in pitching pattern hasn't worked, as Soriano proved up to the task of smacking fastballs again.