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Entries in Atlanta Braves (42)


Free Swinging Freddy Freeman

Freddy Freeman of the Atlanta Braves started a hot streak on May 16th.  Since that date through June 8th he compiled a .342/.375/.500 slash line, good for a .380 wOBA.  The relative closeness of his BA and OBP raises a red flag however.  His walk rate is way down in this period.  Now, that by itself is not a concern.  He's collecting a ton of hits, and given the choice between a hit and a walk for getting on base, take the hit.  The low walk rate might also indicate Freeman is picking up bad habits.

Pitchers worked Freeman away during this period:

Freddy Freeman, pitch frequency, May 16- June 8 2011.Freddy is getting good results no matter where the ball is pitched:

Freddy Freeman, in play average, May 16 - June 8, 2011.Not the three hot zones out of the strike zone, one up and away, one down and in and one down and away.  He's chasing balls way out of the strike zone:

Freddy Freeman, swing rate, May 16 - June 8, 2011.You can see the bad habit developing.  The green areas represent 50% swings, and most of those are way out of the strike zone.  Plenty of yellow and orange shows up there as well.  With all those swings, he's not giving himself a chance to get in good counts for hitters:

Freddy Freeman, ball rate, May 16 - June 8, 2011.It looks like his success on some outside pitches is causing him to go after more of them.  That may work short term, but once pitchers realize they don't need to throw strikes to get Freddy to swing, he'll receive fewer and fewer pitches he can drive.


Prince Fielder's HR off Tommy Hanson

In Wednesday's game between Milwaukee and Atlanta, Brewers' slugger Prince Fielder took Tommy Hanson deep in the 4th inning.  It was the second lefty HR yielded by Hanson this season, and the 7th HR for Fielder.

Hanson attempted to work Fielder very carefully and for the most part his pitch location wasn't bad.  He started Fielder off with a fastball that just caught the low outside corner for a strike, followed by a curve that he seemed to get a bad release on, floating it up and away for a ball.  His next pitch was a fastball outside of the strike zone that Fielder fouled off.  On his fourth and final pitch, Hanson tried to slip a slider down and in on Fielder.  However, he didn't get it down as much as I suspect he wanted to, and it came into the bottom portion of Fielder's power zone.

Tommy Hanson vs. Prince Fielder 4/5/2011, 4th Inning
Prince Fielder's SLG% heat map Data from 2008 to Present (Click to enlarge)

From the video, you can see that Fielder was sitting on an off-speed pitch.  Since his debut in 2009, Hanson has gone to either his curveball or slider with two strikes 50.2% of the time.  On 1-2 counts, that number jumps to 58.7%.  It wasn't necessarily a bad strategy for Hanson.  In fact, when throwing the slider with two strikes, he's held opposing batters to a .193 batting average with a .272 slugging percentage.  And before yesterday, he'd yet to yield a HR on any of the previous 460 two strike sliders he's thrown.

But this particular slider was thrown to a spot in Fielder's wheelhouse, and he was waiting for it.  Just a great piece of hitting from an excellent power hitter.


Up in the Zone with Chipper Jones

In his latest blog entry, Buster Olney writes about the two veteran hitters, Jim Thome and Chipper Jones.  While both have seen an expected decline in performance in their late thirties, Jones has had his share of trouble with pitches up in the zone recently.

Chipper Jones Contact% (click to enlarge)

In the highlighted zone, Jones' K-rate was 18.6%, 21.1%, and 31.9% in each successive year.

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