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Entries in Detroit Tigers (64)


A Quick Look at Matt Joyce

Matt Joyce (TB) has been one of the Rays best hitters this season.  He's 10th in the league in overall wOBA, and 7th among all lefties. 

Matt Joyce
(Click to enlarge)

Joyce's power zones haven't changed much from last season when he hit .241/.360/.477.  You can see that there are fewer dead zones within the strike zone so far in 2011, and he's hitting outside pitches a bit better.

Joyce also has the third bast batting average against fastballs (.402) this season.  In fact, Joyce is hitting most pitches better this season.

Matt Joyce Batting Averages vs. Pitch Type

Joyce recently had a cortisone shot after experiencing shoulder soreness. He sat out Sunday and manager Joe Maddon hinted that he could be benched against lefty Phil Coke (DET) tonight.


Magglio Ordonez to return to the Tigers soon

Magglio Ordonez (DET) went on the disabled list on May 11th with a right ankle injury, and it looks like he's getting ready to return.  The injury really showed up in his overall numbers, especially fastballs.  He batted .146 with a measly .220 slugging percentage in 41 atbats decided by the pitch (195 total fastballs seen in 2011).  This is in stark contrast to last season when he hit .357 with a .567 SLG% on fastballs, good for 14th overall in 2010.

Magglio Ordonez
(Click to enlarge)

Ordonez's contact rate on fastballs was actually better this season before going on the DL, up from 88.3% in 2010 to 91.4%.  However, the balls he put in play haven't been particularly well hit.  The hit types he depends on for power (line drives, fly balls) were just not coming off fastballs this season.  He's only hit five fly balls and five line drives off the heater in 39 plate appearances so far.  However, he's already hit 23 groundballs and 6 popups (he popped up 8 fastballs total in 2010).  And his ground ball batting average is only .087 this season, suggesting Ordonez is not squaring the pitch up very well at all.

It's a small sample size, and there's no doubt his ankle problems contributed to his issues at the plate.  Without a strong right ankle, Ordonez would not be able to effectively plant and transfer power when swinging.  If he's fully recovered from that injury that he first received back in July of last season when sliding into home, his numbers vs. fastballs should begin to correct quickly.


Tigers and Twins and Short Fly Balls

At Baseball Musings, I noted the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers remain the only teams without a three-run or better homer in 2011.  The Baseball Analytics heat maps provide a good indication of why.  The Twins rank last in the AL in home runs with 15, and they just don't get very much distance on their fly balls.

Twins fly ball distance, 2011.The Tigers, with 28 home runs, rank 10th in the AL and don't put much sock on the ball either.

Tigers fly ball distance, 2011.Note that the Twins are at least hitting balls in the middle of the plate well.  The Tigers only seem to be getting distance on the edges.

Compare these teams to the Yankees.  They lead the league with 54 homers:

Yankees fly ball distance, 2011.The Yankees light up the strike zone with much brighter greens and even a little yellow.  If you think the New Stadium has something to do with it, the Yankees are actually hitting the ball further on the road this season.

Injuries and age hurt the Twins and Tigers long ball ability this sesaon.  Until the big bats come back or are replaced, the teams need to concentrate on other ways to score runs besides waiting for the three-run homer.