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Entries in Anaheim (2)


Albert Pujols' Slow Start

Batting .246 with no home runs so far in 2012, Albert Pujols is off to a rough start with his new team.  It is early and Pujols will no doubt eventually make the appropriate adjustments necessary to bust out of this funk.  However, scouts have noticed that Albert has been expanding the strike zone, swinging at pitches he normally avoids.

First here's a look at his slugging percentage heat map from the previous four years compared to this season:

Click image to enlarge.Albert has yet to take advantage of pitches in the heart of the strike zone. This is a truly odd heat map for someone with Pujols' abilities.

Now take a look at his swing rate comparison:

Click image to enlarge.Pujols has so far swung at a higher percentage of pitches out of the strike zone, particularly down and away, up and away, and way up out of the zone.  Between 2008 and 2011, Pujols chased 25.7% of pitches thrown to him that were out of the PitchFX strike zone.  This year he's swinging at 34.9%. 

All those extra swings have resulted in an increase in his strike out rate; 8.9% in 2011 to 12.9% so far in 2012, while his walk rate is down 2.3%.

Pujols is not likely to remain in this slump for long.  More than likely, he will start to become more selective and cut down on chasing pitches.  When that happens, opposing pitchers will have to start throwing to the strike zone more; and the walks, hits and home runs will follow.


Jered Weaver's Big Slider

Jered Weaver was very efficient at keeping batters off the bases last season.  His OBP against of .267 was the second best among all major league starters throwing a minimum 500 plate appearances.  Weaver's off speed pitches, specifically his slider, were a big part of his success.

Jered Weaver's Slider, 2010
(Click to enlarge)

Weaver's slider had more horizontal movement than any other right-handed major league slider last season.  It averaged 9.4 feet per second of right to left movement when crossing the plate, more than a half a foot of movement more than the next slider on the list.

When Weaver's slider averaged more than 8 feet per second of movement last year, batter's managed to hit only .207 and slug .269.  When it's movement dropped below 8 feet, batter's hit .250 and slugged .500.