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Entries in Dustin Pedroia (18)

Wednesday
Sep212011

Looking When it Counts

White there are plenty of selective hitters in Major League Baseball, there is one count in which batters need to take with certainty, 3-2.  Take a ball and in that count and win a free pass to first base, take a strike and walk back to the dugout.  During the last four seasons, 101 players took at least 100 pitches on a 3-2 count.  The following table shows the hitters who took the highest percentage of walks, or taking ball four:

 

BatterStrikeout %Walk %
Albert Pujols 9.4% 90.6%
Brian Roberts 8.5% 90.6%
Dustin Pedroia 8.7% 90.4%
Adrian Gonzalez 9.9% 90.1%
Joey Votto 11.0% 89.0%
Miguel Cabrera 10.3% 89.0%
David Ortiz 11.0% 88.4%
Derek Jeter 11.4% 87.9%
Luke Scott 11.4% 87.6%
Andrew McCutchen 12.5% 87.5%

 

I'm not surprised that sluggers like Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto are near the top of the list.  Often, pitchers will work carefully to these batters, since throwing the a strike might result in a home run.  It's better to try to get them to chase an outside pitch, but these sluggers have an excellent eye for the strike zone.

Note that along with the sluggers are table setters like Dustin Pedroia and Derek Jeter. Their ability to work the count and draw walks makes them so valuable at the top of the order.  You may also notice that the Red Sox stock up on players with great strikeout judgement, as three of these hitters currently reisde in Boston.

At the other end of the spectrum are the hitters who strike out quite often.

 

BatterStrikeout %Walk %
Drew Stubbs 28.4% 70.6%
Andruw Jones 26.2% 73.8%
Mike Cameron 25.0% 75.0%
Troy Tulowitzki 23.8% 76.2%
Jack Cust 22.1% 77.9%
Jorge Posada 22.0% 77.1%
B. J. Upton 21.7% 77.9%
David DeJesus 21.6% 78.4%
Hanley Ramirez 21.6% 77.8%
Dexter Fowler 21.6% 77.6%

 

Note that there are a number of good, or formerly good hitters in this list.  Jorge Posada saw his hitting prowess fade this season, but he still reached base at a good clip the last few years.  Troy Tulowitzki rates as the outstanding hitting shortstop in the majors, and Hanley Ramirez held that distinction in previous seasons.  With the exception of B.J. Upton, these are players that are very good, but have more flaws that the group at the top.  It seems that the willingness to take on 3-2 indicates a selective hitter, regardless of how well the 3-2 looks turns out.

Wednesday
Aug102011

Cano vs. Pedroia

Both Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano are having very good seasons.  Even though Pedroia struggled in the first two months of the season, batting just .240 with a .332 SLG, he's turned it around and is now batting .310 with a .477 SLG.  Even when he was struggling, the Red Sox second baseman was walking quite a bit, keeping his OBP around .350.  Once the power kicked in, his overall numbers took off.

Meanwhile, the Home Run Derby champion has been fairly consistent all year for the New York Yankees.  He ranks in the 90th percentile in both doubles and triples this season, however he's struggled to get on base overall with a .343 OBP, the lowest it's been since 2008.

Here's a look at how the two match up:

2011 Season
AVGOBPSLGwOBAOPS+
Robinson Cano.295.343.503.362125
Dustin Pedroia.310.403.477.386139
(Click to enlarge)

Pedroia has surpassed Cano in wOBA in the past couple months as his power numbers have risen. Through the first three months of the season, Cano held a 5 point edge in wOBA over Pedroia. This was all despite his lackluster walk rate of 4.5%, which ranked him in the bottom 8% of the league. However, through June 30th, Cano's .501 SLG% was 102 points higher than Pedroia's. Since that time, Pedroia has slugged a whopping .633, and his .388 batting average in that span ranks first in the majors.

2011 vs. LHP
AVGOBPSLGwOBAK%BB%HR%
Robinson Cano.314.358.482.36211.3%4.6%2.9%
Dustin Pedroia.417.523.642.5008.7%18.8%4.2%

2011 vs. RHP
AVGOBPSLGwOBAK%BB%HR%
Robinson Cano.286.336.513.36214.8%5.5%4.6%
Dustin Pedroia.271.355.416.34111.3%11.8%3.0%

As expected, Pedroia holds the edge against left-handed pitching this season. His .523 OBP ranks first in the majors and his .417 average ranks third. However, it's important to note that Pedroia currently holds a ridiculously high .437 BAbip(Batting Average on Balls In Play) against lefties. Only two other players in the American League with more than 100 PA against lefties have a BAbip over .400: Michael Young of the Texas Rangers with a .408 BAbip in 128 PA versus lefties, and Michael Bourjos of the L.A. Angels with a .418 BAbip in 118 PA. Pedroia's BAbip vs. LHP was .288 in 2009 and .266 in his injury shortened 2010 season; his career BAbip versus southpaws is .323. A correction in the next couple months could start to rein in those numbers.

Pedroia has also made good use of the short wall in left field at Fenway, particularly against lefties. In 78 plate appearances, his line is .455/.526/.742 with a .482 BAbip. In his previous three seasons combined at home versus lefties, Pedroia has .335 BAbip. While Fenway does tend to inflate BAbip, it's more than likely that Pedroia has benefited from a little luck as well.

Robinson Cano has fared as expected against righties; his 4.6% home run rate is about a 44% increase over his previous three year average. And his 3 triples off lefties this season matches his combined total from 2009-10. His walk rate, however, is down from 8.8% in 2010 to 5.5%. Meanwhile, his 14.8% strike out rate is a 47% increase from 2010 when he struck out in 10.1% of his PA versus RHP. Contributing to this problem has been Cano's propensity to swing at more pitches out of the zone. His current 37.4% chase percentage versus RHP ranks in the bottom 8% of the league.

Struggles and surges aside, the Yankees and Red Sox will look to their second baseman to help lock down a playoff spot down the stretch. And with both teams vying for top honors in the AL East, the production they get from their respective second baseman could be the difference maker.

Tuesday
Jul262011

Dustin Pedroia under the 'scope

Pig-Pen, not PedroiaIn Boston, where he wears as much as the second base dirt as seemingly possible, Dustin Pedroia (aka "The Muddy Chicken"), has been creating his own heat dome of late. Since June 9, when Pedroia had his knee scoped, Pedey has hit .371 with a .454 OBP and a slugging percentage of .648. Let me save you the brain power, that's an OPS of 1.102.

Pedroia has a 22 game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 34 straight games. He has been so hot that he even has columnists like Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com speculating whether this four-and-a-half season veteran is on his way to Cooperstown.

We thought the least we could do here at BaseballAnalytics.org is put his heat under our 'scope, so that you can see the anatomy of his streak.

Before June 9

231 at bats through June 9

Up to June 9, in 59 games, Pedey hit .247 with a .361 OBP and a slugging percentage of .338. His OPS of .699 was .403 less than it has been since that date. Probably because of the pain of bending his knee, Pedroia was getting killed on sliders hitting .118 with just four singles in 34 at bats.

Since June 9

159 at bats since June 9A lot more red wouldn't you agree? Pitchers have continued to throw Pedey the slider, but now with very different results. Since the knee pain has been relieved, Pedroia has gone 11-for-37 (.407) on the slider with three doubles and two homers. 

The arthroscopic difference

Pedroia's arthroscopic procedure has clearly made him more comfortable in going low for a pitch but by also help him get around the ball and turn that knee to hit inside pitches with more force and power.

Up to June 9Leading up to June 9, Pedroia struggled on inside pitches hitting .188 and slugging .238 in 80 at bats. 

Since June 9

Since June 9, Pedroia is 20-for-43 on the same inside pitches that were getting him out regularly prior to the procedure. The .471 batting average has prodced a .791 slugging percentage.

Obviously Pedroia can't be expected to stay this hot, but as that knee stays healthy we can expect his numbers to stay healthy as well.