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Entries in Cincinnati Reds (36)


Things Looking up for Gomes

Jonny Gomes is off to a great start in 2011.  He's showing selectivity and power at the plate, ranking among the league leaders in walks and home runs.  His home run rate should cause him to eclipse his previous season high of 21.

Gomes's selectivity isn't so much strike zone judgement as it is pitch judgement.  Great hitters talk about getting one good pitch per plate appearance, and that's the one they want to attack.  In the past, Gomes swung at most pitches in the strike zone:

Jonny Gomes, swings, 2008-2010.Although he swung at strikes, his power zones were limited:

Jonny Gomes slugging, 2008-2010.This season, Gomes seems to be looking for pitches up in the zone:

Jonny Gomes swings, 2011.That turns out to be a great place to power the ball:

Jonny Gomes, slugging 2011.By selecting pitches he can hit hard, Gomes increases his slugging percentage.  That also helps his walks in two ways.  Pitchers are more careful throwing to him, and umpires see that Gomes defines his own strike zone well.  If he can keep this up, Gomes could have a monster year.


Arroyo's Hook

Bronson Arroyo has thrown over 200 innings in every season since 2005.  Last season was the first in that stretch where he yielded less than 200 hits.  Most of his success comes against right-handed batters, and he has done well pitching them away.

Bronson Arroyo vs. RHB - Outside Zone

Arroyo was very efficient with his pitches to the outside corner.  The above graphic shows all his pitches that would qualify as hitting the outside part of the zone in 2010.  Last year, 43.6% of those pitches were curveballs, the highest of any pitcher throwing outside to righties.  Batters struck out 30.8% of the time and produced an overall wOBA of .130 against curves in that zone (298 pitches, 91 PA).  In his career, Arroyo has a 31.2% K-rate on curves to RHB in that zone with a wOBA of .171 (890 pitches, 261 PA).

With two strikes versus RHB last season, Arroyo went to his curveball 38% of the time, most of any pitch in his arsenal.  Batters swung 63.4% of the time and struck out 43.2%.  When they did make contact, the result was a miniscule .062 batting average and .148 slugging percentage.  At this point in his career, opposing batters are probably well aware of what's coming - but Arroyo continues to make that pitch work.


Gomes Trouble Zone

Reader John Tyler Moore requested we take a look at Jonny Gomes. Gomes played more games in 2010 than in any other season in his career. This may have taken a toll on his game as he put up a league average OPS+.

Compare his 2010 heat map to his two prior years:

Jonny Gomes 2008-09

Jonny Gomes 2010

The drop in production on pitches in the upper part of the zone isn't helped by Gomes' slight tendency to swing at high pitches.

Jonny Gomes 2010

In the upper part of the zone, most of Gomes troubles came against right-handed pitching. In the zone outlined below, Gomes wOBA was 124 points lower against RHP. His K-rate was also 20.5% vs. RHP, compared to 6.7% against LHP.

Gomes will be a free agent at the end of the season. The Reds would love to see him put up his 2009 numbers over the course of a full season before possibly signing him to anything more than another 1-year deal. Look for him to work on improving his swing versus righties, particularly on pitches located up in the zone.

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