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Entries in Florida Marlins (11)


Weaker Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins remains mired in a slump.  His .200/.298/.295 slash line pales in comparison to his .306/.379/.506 career numbers.  There doesn't seem to be a change in his approach at the plate or the way pitchers go after him.  Opponents still work him down and away, and Hanley still recognizes balls and strikes as well as he did in 2010.  He simply does not seem to be as strong.

Hanley Ramirez, fly ball distance and line drive rate, 2008-2011.Ramirez suffers from a bad back, and that prevents him from swinging hard.  His average fly ball distance this season stands at 291 feet.  Over the previous three seasons, it came in at 321 feet.  From 2008-2010  he put the ball in play as a line drive about 20% of the time, and hit .787 on those liners.  This season, only 13% of his balls in play are line drives, and he's hitting .667 on them.

The good news is at the end of the graph.  His fly ball rate is spiking upward.  If his back is healing and his strength is returning, Hanley could return to a decent average and help pull the Marlins out of their funk.


Chris Volstad's Changeup Success: Unsustainable?

Chris Volstad (FLA) has done well throwing the changeup this season.  He's second in opponent's batting average (.063) behind Ryan Madson's change (.057).  Last year, opponents hit .246 against his changeup, putting Volstad in the bottom half of the league. 

Here's a look at how his changeup this season compares to last.

Chris Volstad's Changeup Movement

Volstad has lost a little vertical movement (BrkZ) on his changeup, while gaining some horizontal movement (BrkX).

Chris Volstad's Changeup Results

Batters have swung less and chased fewer of Volstad's changeups this season. Yet, they have swung and missed slightly more and failed to produce more than one hit. Perhaps the increase in left to right movement on the pitch has been more effective against batters, even at the expense of less downward movement.

I'd hesitate to suggest he will be able to sustain this success. Batters still make a great deal of contact against his changeup. Volstad has struck out only two batters with it this season. However, he's only thrown the change 13 times with two strikes. Given that a BABIP correction is more than likely forthcoming, he'll need to start throwing the change more when batters are down in the count.


Gaby Sanchez's Hot Start

(Click to enlarge)

Gaby Sanchez is off to a hot start for the Florida Marlins.  He's tenth in the league in wOBA and batting average, and eighth in on-base percentage.  Sanchez has been equally dangerous against lefties and righties, with a .397/.396 wOBA split respectively.

Here's a look at how Sanchez's 2011 start stacks up against last season:

Games through 5/24/2010.279.369.44217.9%11.3%2.7%.357
Games through 5/24/2011.326.406.50913.9%11.9%4.0%.397

Games through 5/24/2010.720.250.23821.4%41.0%35.9%6.3%
Games through 5/24/2011.806.213.25820.8%32.9%41.6%12.8%

Much of the difference between the two starts can be attributed to the long ball. Even though Sanchez is hitting fewer fly balls this season, he's producing HRs at a better rate. From his heat map, you can see he's generating a ton of power on balls on the inner half of the plate.

The one issue Gaby Sanchez has had this season has been hitting changeups. He's faced 73 changeups this season with a 59.5% contact rate. He's yet to get a single hit off the pitch (0 for 25), while striking out nine times. If he doesn't work on picking up the change better, pitchers are really going to come after him with it the rest of the season.