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Entries in Andre Ethier (8)


Ethier's Adjustment?

Andre Ethier (LAN) extended his hitting streak to 24 games Wednesday afternoon.  A .279 career hitter, Andre's batting average stands at .380 in 2011.  The pattern that pitchers used against him doesn't seem to be working this year.

During the previous three seasons, Ethier did his best hitting on balls inside:

Andre Ethier, in play average, 2008-2011.So pitchers worked him away:

Andre Ethier, pitch frequency, 2008-2010. They continue to work him away in 2011:

Andre Ethier, pitch frequency, 2011.What's changed is Andre is poking those outside pitches for hits:

Andre Ethier, in play average, 2011.So is this real, or just an early season fluke?  Andre hasn't really changed his approach.  He's not swinging more at outside pitches, except those in the upper outside corner.  He's squaring up those pitches better, however.  In the past, 19% of balls he put in play on outside pitches resulted in line drives.  This season, 35% of those pitches turn into line drives.  That seems like an unsustainable rate, but for now, the old way of pitching to the Dodgers outfielder just isn't working.


Ethier Slugging Home and Away

Over the last three season, Andre Ethier recorded a much higher slugging percentage at home than on the road.  His .547 mark at Dodger Stadium drops to .464 away, mostly on a drop in home runs.  While he's hit 17 fewer home runs on the road, his combined doubles and triples goes up by seven.  Is Andre doing something different away from Chavez Ravine?

On both sides of the split, Andre's power comes mostly in the lower inside quadrant of the strike zone:

Andre Ethier slugging at home, 2008-2010.Andre Ethier slugging on the road, 2008-2010.Looking at a chart of Ethier's hits, what becomes clear is that his extra base hits are more spread out around the park away.  He tends to pull the ball more at home.  Do pitchers work him in more at Dodger Stadium?

Andre Ethier, pitch frequency at home, 2008-2010.Andre Ethier, pitch frequency on the road, 2008-2010.There's very little difference in how pitchers approach Andre.  They know his power is down and in, and they try to avoid that park of the strike zone.  Pitchers might work away more on the road, but they don't work more inside in LA.

The hits going the other way have to do with Andre himself:

Andre Ethier, swings at home, 2008-2010.Andre Ethier, swings on the road, 2008-2010.Andre is more likely to swing at pitches off the plate away from home.  Those tend to be lower value pitches for Andre to hit, hence, fewer home runs, and more doubles and triples the other way.

If the strategy is conscious, I'm not sure it's a bad one.  He plays 18 games a year in San Diego and San Francisco, tough home run parks.  He's probably better off going for a double to left than a home run to right in those locations.  He did show less of a power split in 2010, so maybe he's adjusting in other ways as well.

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