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Entries in David Ortiz (25)

Thursday
Jul052012

David Ortiz Forever Young against Fastballs

Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has been left for dead many times during his 16 years in the majors.  The Minnesota Twins released him back in 2002, tired of dealing with his wrist and knee ailments. Papi perenially looked cooked in April over the past several years, seemingly unable to catch up to quality fastballs as he reached his mid-30s.

Yet here he still is, slugging his 400th career homer yesterday by ripping an A.J. Griffin down the right field line in Oakland. The shot moved him past Andres Galarraga and into sole possession of 49th on the all-time list. Duke Snider (407) is next.  

That last epitaph written for Ortiz -- "Here lies Big Papi, he couldn't hit the fastball anymore" -- looks laughable these days. His fastball slugging has gotten finer with age:

YearMiss RateSlugging Pct.
2010 22 .610
2011 14.4 .696
2012 13.9 .760
2010-12 Avg. 15.6 .437

 

Ortiz trails only Andrew McCutchen and Alfonso Soriano in fastball slugging percentage this season, and his 17 homers against the heat tie him with Adam Dunn for tops in the game. Papi absolutely kills slower fastballs, but he has no trouble turning on Verlander-level gas either. Check out his fastball slugging percentage by velocity:

VelocitySlugging Pct.MLB Avg.
Under 90 MPH 1.156 .503
90-94 MPH .619 .449
95+ .735 .363

 

Still possessing that kid of bat speed has allowed Ortiz to turn in one of the best years ever among older sluggers. His 162 OPS+ ranks in the top 30 all-time among batters age 36 or older getting 300+ plate appearances in a season, according to Baseball-Reference. Slug on, Papi. We'll probably write your epitaph again soon. And we'll probably be wrong.

Friday
May112012

Best Mistake Hitters since 2010

Highest HR% on Mistake Pitches since 2010
PlayerPPAAVGSLUGK%HR%
Jose Bautista474183.396.9566.6%16.5%
David Ortiz383176.405.9714.5%15.0%
Matt Joyce25097.389.95811.3%14.7%
Shelley Duncan20475.387.89321.3%14.7%
Jim Thome21483.402.92716.9%14.6%
Russell Branyan17262.306.80619.4%14.5%
Matt Kemp508185.379.8799.7%13.7%
Pedro Alvarez21482.415.91512.2%13.4%
Mike Stanton293116.421.95610.3%13.2%
Pat Burrell24679.408.92111.4%13.2%
Josh Hamilton252124.369.8208.9%13.1%
Brennan Boesch276129.414.8757.0%12.5%
Ryan Braun458178.434.9146.7%12.0%
Brian McCann301109.367.78911.9%11.9%
Carlos Pena361139.296.74112.2%11.9%
Jorge Posada237101.257.64416.8%11.9%
Adam LaRoche24293.376.8179.7%11.8%
Joey Votto420165.466.9759.7%11.7%
Mark Reynolds459170.293.73117.6%11.4%
Carlos Quentin303109.286.7057.3%11.4%
Prince Fielder368159.365.7556.3%11.3%
Albert Pujols407162.379.8144.3%11.2%
Curtis Granderson411110.336.7763.6%11.2%
Kelly Johnson412153.329.7639.2%11.2%

Make a mistake to any of these hitters, and you're bound to pay for it. The above list includes only pitches that crossed the center of the strike zone since 2010. It's no surprise that Jose Bautista has a high HR% on mistake pitches; same for David Ortiz, Matt Kemp and a bunch of others.

I'm somewhat surprised to see Matt Joyce as #3 on the list. Of the 36 home runs he's hit since the start of 2010, 14 have come on pitches right in the center of the strike zone. Eight of those HRs came in 2011 when he hit 19 total long balls.

Nick Swisher has the most hits on mistake pitches with 80, while teammate Derek Jeter's 79 hits has him tied for second with Michael Young.

Mark Reynolds, #20 on the list, also has 30 strike outs on pitches over the middle of the plate since 2010. That's second only to Adam Dunn with 33.

Wednesday
Apr252012

David Ortiz Reinvents his Swing

The scouting report on David Ortiz is that he is going to pull the ball, and often times pull it hard. This is the reason so many teams have instituted the over shift when facing the left-handed slugger. For years it worked, but in the winter going into the 2011 season, the Red Sox acquire the left hander with one of the smoothest opposite field strokes in the game, Adrian Gonzalez. Since that acquisition, Ortiz and AGonz have made fast friends, sharing hitting advice, and it is definitely showing. 

From 2008-2010, Ortiz had only 104 hits to the opposite field with only 12 home runs and a .578 slugging percentage. Below is the spread for Ortiz opposite field production over those years (production is indicated in slugging percentage).

Ortiz to the opposite field '08-'10In contrast, Gonzalez crushed pitchers to the opposite side with 160 hits, 48 home runs, and an .809 slugging percentage. Gonzalez could take almost any pitch on the outside half and give it a ride.

Gonzalez to the opposite field '08-'10Since Gonzalez arrived, Ortiz has seen a rebirth to his opposite field hitting ability, which should cause some teams to be wary of the Red Sox slugger. After a full season as teammates, Ortiz is off to the hottest April he has had in years. He is hitting a robust .444 average and .714 slugging percentage while spreading the ball around the whole field. 

Spread of Ortiz's hits so far in 2012

Also, over the course of 2008-2010, Ortiz hit an abysmal .218 versus left handed pitching, mustering up a less than impressive .383 slugging percentage. His ability to put the ball in play was horrible, leading to his removal from games facing lefties and contributing to some of Ortiz's slowest starts in his career.

Ortiz's Average versus left-handers from 2008-10Post-2011, Ortiz has been on a torrid pace, hitting lefites at a .340/.567 clip. Being able to go with the breaking ball and outside pitches to the opposite field has corrected Ortiz's swing and made him a dangerous middle of the order hitter for the Red Sox again.
Ortiz's Average versus lefties since the start of the 2011 season

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