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Entries in Chris Davis (13)

Monday
Jul152013

HR Derby Preview: Team Cano

Citi Field's Home Run Apple will get a workout tonight, as some of the game's preeminent power hitters aim for the fences during the 2013 All-Star Home Run Derby (8 p.m. ET on ESPN). Team Robinson Cano (including Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis, Prince Fielder) will take on Team David Wright (Pedro Alvarez, Michael Cuddyer and Bryce Harper). Here's a breakdown of dingers hit by Team Cano as you ponder which tally will be higher -- attendance at Citi Field or the number of "backbackback"s belted out by Chris Berman.

Robinson Cano

Where he hits 'em: Cano has been pull-happy in 2013, hitting 13 of his 21 homers to right field. He has also hit four shots apiece to center and left field.

Cano's HR spray chart

 

Hard or soft stuff? He's doing most of his damage against "soft" stuff -- breaking and off-speed pitches. Cano has hit seven homers against sliders, tying Miguel Cabrera for the major league lead. He has four HR off curveballs and three on changeups, giving him a total of 14 HR against soft pitches. Only Cabrera and Chris Davis have more homers against sliders, curves and changeups.

HR sweet spot: Despite his tendency to pull the ball, Cano has hit most of his home runs (13) on pitches thrown on the outer half of the plate. He's also loves stuff thrown at the knees, hitting 16 home runs on pitches thrown in the low half of the strike zone.

Pitch location of Cano's HR

 

Yoenis Cespedes

Where he hits 'em: Cespedes just about never goes oppo (he has just one HR to right field), but he has plenty of power to right field (8 HR) and center (6 HR).

Cespedes' HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff? Cespedes likes high-velocity stuff, hitting 11 of his homers against fastballs, cutters and splitters.

HR sweet spot: Like Cano, Cespedes hammers knee-high pitches. Twelve of his HR have come on stuff thrown to the lower half of the zone.

Pitch location of Cespedes' HR

 

Chris Davis

Where he hits 'em: Everywhere. Davis has 14 homers to the pull side, 12 to center, and nine to left field. His next opposite-field shot will make him the first batter to hit double-digit homers to all fields this season, a feat that only Miggy pulled off in 2012.

Davis' HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff?  It doesn't seem to matter what pitchers throw to Davis, as he leads all hitters with 20 HR against hard pitches and is tied with Cabrera for top honors against soft stuff (15 HR).

HR sweet spot: As you might expect from a slugger with so many opposite-field and center field homers, Davis is crushing pitches thrown to the outer half of the plate. His 24 outer-half HR lead the majors -- and it's not even close. His closest competition, Raul Ibanez, has 18.

Pitch location of Davis' HR

 

Prince Fielder

Where he hits 'em: While Fielder has yet to go oppo this season, he has 11 homers to the pull side and five to center field.

Fielder's HR spray chart

  

Hard or soft stuff? He has gone deep nearly an equal amount against hard pitches (9 HR) and soft stuff (7 HR).

HR sweet spot: Unlike Cano and Cespedes, Fielder is a high-ball hitter. Prince has pounded 10 HR against pitches thrown in the upper half of the strike zone.

Pitch location of Fielder's HR

Sunday
Jul072013

Fun With Baseball-Reference's Neutralized Stats

If you are a regular reader of this site, then you are no doubt, a regular visitor to Baseball-Reference. Which means you also know about Baseball-Reference's neutralized batting and pitching stat tables. If you don't, here's a rundown.

Baseball-Reference took the time to create a special, interactive-like, table where you can adjust a players stats to reflect what they could have been like had the player put up his stats in a different season. Want to change Babe Ruth's 1927 hitting line? See what it would have looked like had he played for the Montreal Expos in 1987? Go for it. Want to see what Jimmie Foxx's 1932 would have looked like had he and his back pocket flask been a member of the Miracle Mets in 1969? You can do that too. See? Fun.

This is fun.

So I was sitting around, doing what people normally do when they live in a town of 1,900 people (which is nothing), and said to myself: "Self. Let's go play around with Neutralized Batting on Baseball-Reference for a few hours. It's not like we are doing anything else today." Then I took my meds, and the voice stopped. But it had already given me a good idea.

And now, here we are.

So let's start with the aforementioned Babe Ruth and his 60 home run 1927 season. The original home run record. A year where the Bambino hit an astounding .356/.486/.772. Now, let's jump into our Dalorean with it's flux capacitor and take this season ahead in time. Add some extra competition. Ruth played in an eight-team American League in 1927 and without interleague play, had the chance to face each team 19 times.

The major league average for runs scored by a team during the 1927 season was a healthy 4.75. Thanks largely to a Yankees team that was stacked from top to bottom, and anchored in the middle by Ruth and fellow slugger, Lou Gehrig.

Now, let's take Ruth out of that season, and put him on the, oh, I don't know, the 1988 Dodgers. Ruth still gets a ring (even though Kirk Gibson reportedly blows up on him in Spring Training for his eating habits), but he now has to face 11 other teams. And the National league average for runs scored is nearly a full run lower at 3.881. What happens?

Ruth is still a monster, but is not as historically monstrous.

He hits 53 home runs instead of 60. Drives in 135 runs instead of 164. And his slash line takes a hit as he now hits .321/.448/.692. If Ruth played his entire career under the circumstances only playing in Dodgers Stadium, and every year the league average for runs scored during a game was at 3.881, he wouldn't hit 714 home runs. He wouldn't hit 700 home runs. He actually falls below Willie Mays and finishes his career with 652.

Which speaks more to the testament of how otherwordly talented Ruth was as a hitter.

Even if you place him in an enviroment where he faces more competition, and where less runs are being scored, and all of his games are being played in a pitchers park. Babe Ruth is still a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Amazing. 

Let's go contemporary.

In Baltimore, Chris Davis is having a season for the ages. He has already matched his career highs for home runs and RBI, and the Orioles haven't even reached the 90 game mark. But what if we took Chris Davis into that same Dalorean, maybe this time with Michael J. Fox driving (I get tired from driving. I'm sure you understand), and place him in an even more favorable hitting environment? Like, oh, I don't know, pre-humidor Colorado in the year 2000.

The 2000 Colorado Rockies scored 968 runs. Baseball-Reference's much-better-at-the-math-than-me stat heads figured out that if they only played games in Colorado, they would have score 1,013 runs. But how would the 2013 version of Chris Davis fare in the middle of a lineup that sported a breakout season from a young Todd Helton?

He would already have 42 home runs and 127 RBI to go along with a slash line of .381/.459/.846. Or roughly Todd Helton's entire 2000 campaign. That's how neutralized batting says he would fare.

So, in summation...

Congratulations to every era of baseball that didn't include Babe Ruth. No matter when he played, there stands a good chance he would have owned that time in baseball history.

And congratulations to the 2000 National League. You didn't have to face what Chris Davis has turned into. A ferocious lefty with power for days weeks months eons. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Check back in next time when I play around with Neutralized Pitching. We'll do some flip-flopping of Christy Mathewson and Pedro Martinez.

We'll have all kinds of fun.

I'll even bring some dip.

Friday
Jul052013

How Chris Davis is Crushing the Record Books

Chris Davis has crushed a major league-leading 32 home runs already this season, leaving him just one clout shy of matching his 2012 total and putting him in prime position to break the Orioles' single-season home run record, set by Brady Anderson (50 HR) in 1996. Somewhere, Earl Weaver is smiling. How has the Rangers castoff maintained a homer pace that would make him the first batter to go deep 60 times in a season since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa in 2001? Here's a breakdown of how Davis is breaking down opposing pitchers.

  • Davis wastes little time once he's in the batter's box, swinging at far more first-pitch offerings (39%) than the major league average (26%). That aggressive approach is paying off, as he's tied with Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion for the most first-pitch homers this season (8).
  • When he does get behind in the count, Davis is no longer an automatic out -- he has 13 homers in two-strike counts. That leads the majors, and it's not even close (Cabrera is a distant second, with eight HR in two-strike situations). Davis' 13 HR in two-strike counts already tops his ten hit in 2012 and nearly matches his combined total from 2008-11 (14).
  • Hard stuff, soft stuff -- it matters little to Davis, who's crushing every pitch type known to man. He has 17 homers against fastballs and sinkers, six against sliders, four versus curveballs, three on changeups, and one apiece on a splitter and a knuckleball. Has anyone tried throwing him an eeuphus pitch?
  • Davis also doesn't seem to care whether he has the platoon advantage, as he's tied with Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez for the most home runs hit by lefty hitters against lefty pitching (seven). That matches his HR output against left-handers in 2012.
  • Davis has been an all-fields slugger, actually hitting more combined home runs to left field (8) and center (10) than to right field (14). We're barely halfway through the 2013 season, yet Davis has nearly cranked double-digit home runs in every direction. To put that into perspective, the only player with ten or more homers to left, center and right field in 2012 was Cabrera.

Davis' home run spray chart

 

  • On a related note, Davis has done most of his damage on pitches thrown to the middle (14 HR) or outer third (15 HR) of the plate. If the 6-foot-3, 230 pound behemoth has a weakness, it might be on inside pitches that require him to extend his arms. He has three homers and is slugging .347 on inside stuff, compared to an .829 slugging percentage on middle pitches and a .794 mark on outer-third offerings.

Davis' slugging percentage by pitch location