There is no shortage of good hitters in the top 10 of this list. Some notables that didn't make the cut: Chris Iannetta of the Colorado Rockies (.322) has the the highest walk rate (21.5%) of all major leaguers with two strikes....Yankees' Curtis Granderson (.316) has 5.1% HR rate, 4th behind Cabrera, Tulowitzki, and Berkman....Victor Martinez (.328) of the Detroit Tigers has a .310 batting average in two strike counts, best in the majors.
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Entries in Colorado Rockies (26)
Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies increased his batting average from a career low .256 in 2010 to a career average .324 in 2011. The difference for Todd comes from his ability to handle the fastball.
|Todd Helton Vs. the Fastball||2010||2011|
The difference comes from his ability to make contact. He's swinging at these pitches at about the same rate, and chasing them out of the strike zone only slightly less. He's cut way down on his swing and misses, and that led to a much lower strike out rate. In general, more balls in play means more hits, and that's giving his batting average a boost. You can see that in heat maps of his contact rate on fastballs:
Todd could not catch up with much off the inside part of the plate in 2010. Now, he can cover the full lower half of the plate, and he's back being a productive hitter.
Thursday afternoon, Fredie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves hit his 15th homer of the season, but it was his sixth longball against the Colorado Rockies. The question then comes up, "What are the Rockies doing wrong?" He's played one tenth of his games against Colorado, but those games produced 40% of his home runs.
When it comes to slugging, Freeman covers the strike zone very well.
Looking at that heat map, pitchers should aim low and away. In fact, that's what they do:
The Rockies staff, however, has not been consistent in hitting the lower outside corner.
The Rockies staff put plenty of pitches inside and up in the middle of the plate this season, just where Freeman likes to smack the ball. Today's home run was outside, but it was a slider that didn't slide and a bit up. Freeman's home runs against Colorado came from poor execution by the Rockies staff.