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Entries in Hanley Ramirez (9)

Monday
Oct072013

Postseason Batting - It's Hanley and Everyone Else

I've been watching these games and seeing the success of the Red Sox and Dodgers (Pirates as well) bats and the futility of the Tigers, Rays, Cards, and A's and wanted to see how they were succeeding and struggling even beyond the averages.

Let's take a deep dive into the batting prowess of each team

Who's Fooling Who? (Batters as of October 7, 2013)
P PA Swng% Miss% Strk% InPl% Foul% Zone% Chas% ClStk% AVG BABIP
Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD) 446 120 51.3% 24.0% 65.7% 34.9% 41.0% 46.0% 31.5% 29.5% .333 .419
Tampa Bay Rays (TB) 405 109 48.6% 30.5% 64.9% 35.0% 34.5% 47.7% 31.6% 31.7% .208 .258
Oakland Athletics (OAK) 309 68 48.5% 36.7% 63.1% 22.0% 41.3% 43.4% 32.0% 28.3% .177 .313
Pittsburgh Pirates (PIT) 551 149 47.7% 23.6% 62.6% 41.8% 34.6% 44.3% 29.3% 28.5% .277 .294
Atlanta Braves (ATL) 468 109 47.2% 24.4% 62.4% 30.3% 45.2% 46.6% 31.2% 28.7% .221 .313
Detroit Tigers (DET) 266 68 46.6% 19.4% 62.4% 39.5% 41.1% 44.7% 31.3% 29.6% .219 .292
Boston Red Sox (BOS) 294 80 46.6% 19.7% 63.3% 42.3% 38.0% 49.7% 23.0% 31.2% .352 .411
St. Louis Cardinals (STL) 421 109 43.7% 17.9% 62.2% 44.0% 38.0% 47.7% 23.6% 32.9% .219 .234
What stands out:
  • The Dodgers are not afraid to swing against the Braves pitching.
  • The Dodgers and Red Sox have an unsustainable batting average for balls in play.
  • Look how few pitches the Braves are putting play and then you see the A's are putting way fewer in play. Both teams have a .313 BABIP.
  • The A's have been missing a lot of Tigers pitches and really have to be thrilled with a 1-1 tie in the series.
  • The Tigers are really struggling against the A's pitching and really have to be thrilled with a 1-1 tie in the series.
  • The Red Sox are showing great discipline at the plate not doing a lot of swing and missing and not chasing a lot of pitches out of the zone. They are confident enough to take called strikes and work the count. They are not being fooled by Tampa Bay pitching.
  • In contrast, the Cardinals are not swinging at a lot of pitches, they missing very few, they're not chasing a lot of pitches, and they are not hitting in good luck, in part because we've seen they are not taking good swings at pitches.

Prince Fielder needs to take a called strike

Here's some thoughts:
Prince Fielder needs to chill. Josh Donaldson is creating new wind currents with his swings-and-misses. Delmon Young is swinging at almost everything. Hanley Ramirez is a beast. Marlon Byrd loves being a Buc. Yasiel Puig of his own, rakes. If Jacoby Ellsbury continues the way he's been playing, Scott Boras will go deaf from all the ka-chings he keeps hearing for the soon-to-be free agent.
Here's why:
Top 20 Swingers as of October 7, 2013
P PA Swng% Miss% Strk% InPl% Foul% Zone% Chas% ClStk% AVG BABIP
Delmon Young (TB) 34 11 70.6% 41.7% 76.5% 37.5% 20.8% 41.2% 60.0% 20.0% .333 .250
Juan Uribe (LAD) 46 13 65.2% 30.0% 71.7% 33.3% 36.7% 50.0% 43.5% 18.8% .333 .375
Stephen Vogt (OAK) 36 7 63.9% 21.7% 77.8% 17.4% 60.9% 38.9% 54.5% 38.5% .143 .250
Prince Fielder (DET) 26 8 61.5% 6.3% 61.5% 50.0% 43.8% 46.2% 28.6% 0.0% .125 .125
Jose Iglesias (DET) 31 7 61.3% 15.8% 74.2% 31.6% 52.6% 41.9% 55.6% 33.3% .167 .200
Hanley Ramirez (LAD) 57 14 59.6% 11.8% 66.7% 35.3% 52.9% 42.1% 42.4% 17.4% .538 .545
Evan Gattis (ATL) 57 12 59.6% 20.6% 68.4% 23.5% 55.9% 40.4% 44.1% 21.7% .500 .625
Yoenis Cespedes (OAK) 34 8 58.8% 20.0% 67.6% 30.0% 50.0% 47.1% 38.9% 21.4% .500 .600
Torii Hunter (DET) 24 8 58.3% 28.6% 66.7% 28.6% 42.9% 41.7% 50.0% 20.0% .143 .250
Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS) 28 9 57.1% 18.8% 82.1% 43.8% 37.5% 67.9% 33.3% 58.3% .556 .714
Justin Morneau (PIT) 60 18 56.7% 23.5% 73.3% 44.1% 32.4% 53.3% 32.1% 38.5% .294 .333
Freddie Freeman (ATL) 55 13 56.4% 25.8% 67.3% 29.0% 45.2% 54.5% 28.0% 25.0% .333 .444
Marlon Byrd (PIT) 51 16 54.9% 32.1% 62.7% 42.9% 25.0% 31.4% 40.0% 17.4% .333 .364
Chris Johnson (ATL) 44 12 54.5% 37.5% 75.0% 29.2% 33.3% 54.5% 40.0% 45.0% .333 .571
Starling Marte (PIT) 76 18 53.9% 24.4% 63.2% 31.7% 43.9% 51.3% 32.4% 20.0% .188 .167
Carl Crawford (LAD) 52 15 53.8% 25.0% 73.1% 32.1% 42.9% 51.9% 36.0% 41.7% .286 .375
Josh Reddick (OAK) 41 8 53.7% 27.3% 58.5% 18.2% 54.5% 41.5% 25.0% 10.5% .143 .250
Yasiel Puig (LAD) 43 14 53.5% 39.1% 67.4% 39.1% 21.7% 34.9% 32.1% 30.0% .462 .667
Josh Donaldson (OAK) 30 8 53.3% 56.3% 70.0% 25.0% 18.8% 50.0% 40.0% 35.7% .125 .250
Stephen Drew (BOS) 32 9 53.1% 23.5% 65.6% 41.2% 35.3% 46.9% 29.4% 26.7% .222 .286

The Hanley Ramirez Report

Jacoby Ellsbury has had a great couple of games, but this is Hanley's world, we just live on it.
.300 Hitters (10/7/2013)
GPAABHXBHBBAVGOBPSLUGOPSBABIPK
Jacoby Ellsbury (BOS)299510.556.556.6671.222.7142
Hanley Ramirez (LAD)31413761.538.5711.2311.802.5451
Andrew McCutchen (PIT)41813715.538.667.6151.282.5831
Yoenis Cespedes (OAK)288420.500.5001.1251.625.6002
Shane Victorino (BOS)298400.500.556.5001.056.5711
Evan Gattis (ATL)31210502.500.583.5001.083.6252
A. J. Ellis (LAD)3128422.500.636.7501.386.6672
Yasiel Puig (LAD)31413600.462.500.462.962.6674
Desmond Jennings (TB)31110411.400.455.500.955.5002
Russell Martin (PIT)41613521.385.375.8461.221.3334
Dustin Pedroia (BOS)298310.375.333.500.833.4292
David Ortiz (BOS)298331.375.4441.2501.694.2001
Yadier Molina (STL)31211421.364.417.7271.144.3331
Matt Adams (STL)31311411.364.462.455.916.4001
Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)31414510.357.357.571.929.4444
Omar Infante (DET)276201.333.429.333.762.5002
Marlon Byrd (PIT)41615531.333.375.6671.042.3643
Juan Uribe (LAD)31312410.333.333.583.917.3753
James Loney (TB)3119311.333.455.444.899.4292
Freddie Freeman (ATL)31312411.333.385.417.801.4443
Delmon Young (TB)3119311.333.364.6671.030.2501
Chris Johnson (ATL)31212400.333.333.333.667.5715
Carlos Beltran (STL)31312431.333.385.9171.301.2221
Alex Avila (DET)276201.333.429.333.762.5002
Pedro Alvarez (PIT)41613432.308.375.8461.221.2504
Friday
Sep202013

Hanley Killing Soft Stuff, Chasing the Flying Dutchman

According to the man himself, 2013 has been the best year of Hanley Ramirez's career. And, while the Dodgers shortstop has played in just 81 games due to thumb, hamstring and back ailments, it's easy to see why. The Marlins refugee is going to the playoffs for the first time ever, as L.A. clinched the National League West last night behind Ramirez's 19th and 20th home runs of the season. His park-and-league adjusted on-base-plus slugging percentage is a career-best 94 percent above average (194 OPS+). That's tops among batters taking at least 300 trips to the plate this year and is the second-best OPS+ ever for a shortstop with at least 300 plate appearances in a season. Who's first? Some dude named Honus.

Highest single-season OPS+ for shortstops, min. 300 PA

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

How is Hanley, who rarely made an impact at the plate the previous two seasons (101 OPS+ in 2011-12), hitting like The Flying Dutchman? By taking to the air, of course. Ramirez is lofting far more "soft" pitches (curveballs, sliders and changeups) and depositing them deep into the left field at Chavez Ravine.

Last year, Ramirez hit a ground ball about half of the time that he put a curve, slider or changeup into play, above the 46% major league average. All of those weak choppers led to a .363 slugging percentage versus breaking and off-speed stuff, slightly below the .372 MLB average.

Ramirez's slugging percentage vs. soft pitches, 2012

This year, though? Ramirez is hitting grounders just 34% of the time against soft pitches. He's making those extra fly balls and line drives count, too.

Ramirez's slugging percentage vs. soft pitches, 2013

Ramirez is slugging .711 against soft stuff, trailing only home run king Chris Davis (.725) among big league hitters seeing at least 450 breaking and off-speed pitches in 2013. Compared to Hanley, even Rookie of the Year contender and break-dance enthusiast Yasiel Puig (.576) looks pedestrian. Enjoy the pool party, Hanley. When you're clubbing pitches like Honus Wagner, you've earned a few post-game cannonballs.

Tuesday
Aug132013

The Dodgers Turnaround Part 1: Offense

On June 21st, the Dodgers lost to the Padres dropping their record to 30-42 and leaving them 9.5 games behind the NL West leading Diamondbacks. Their team record $223 million payroll was buying the team nothing but a spot at the bottom of their weak division. And it wasn't just one part of the team that was performing below expectations, this was a team effort.

Since that date, the Dodgers have gone 39-8. Good enough for a winning percentage of .826 during that span. 

It took the entire team to fail. And it has taken the entire team to push itself back into contention.

Offense first

After play concluded on 6/21, the Dodgers offense was among the worst in the National League. The team's .696 OPS (11th in the NL at the time), was dragged sown by a team slugging percentage of .375. Which was good for 13th in the NL. Right ahead of the Mets and the Marlins.

Although the entire offense was offensive, none drew more ire than three-hole hitter, Matt Kemp.

Through 51 games, Kemp had two, TWO home runs.

This was the same player who two seasons ago was nearly a 40-40 player. And here he was struggling through 51 games with a slash line of .251/.305/.335. That .335 SLG percentage was only 11 points better than his 2011 batting average. And if the pitch wasn't right down the middle, Matt Kemp was getting weak contact.

Kemp wasn't the only offender. His target was just the biggest.

Andre Ethier was disappointing as well through the third week in June. His slash line of .254/.335/.377 was well below his career numbers: .288/.361/.468.

The Dodgers tried to inject some life into the lineup with a June 3rd callup of Yasiel Puig (you may have heard of him) who got off to a kind of OK start with a .455/.478/.773 slash line in the 17 games he played in leading up to 6/21. 

So, how have the Dodgers performed since getting hot?

What's the opposite of terrible?

First things first, the Dodgers brought back the thunder to the lineup.

Since 6/21, their team slugging percentage has been .427. That's the best in the NL for that time period.

Ditto for batting average (.287) and OPS (.773). They may be getting a smidge lucky with a team BABIP of .336 (NL average is .296), but with a team-wide line drive rate of 23.8% since 6/21, the higher BABIP should be expected.

Remember how terrible Matt Kemp was earlier?

Yeah, he's been almost a non-factor since then. But in the 37 at bats he has had since 6/21 (AKA, a super-duper small sample size), he is hitting a robust .324/.390/.622. I give credit where it is due, but Kemp hasn't been the one pulling this train.

That would be Hanley Ramirez.

Although currently dealing with a sore shoulder after crashing into the wall while playing in Wrigley Field last week, Hanley has been crushing pitchers to the tune of a .356/.415/.651 slash line since late June. And with runners in scoring position, Ramirez is literally the last Dodger an opposing pitcher wants to see at the plate with a .412/.524/.824 slash line with RISP during this run of success for the Dodgers. 

But it takes more than one man to win in baseball.

Just ask the Angels and Mike Trout.

Other offensive stars during that time frame include Puig (.341/.421/.518) and Adrian Gonzalez (.289/.325/.463). Even Zack Grienke has gotten into the act of hitting with a .450/.542/.550 slash line in 28 PA. Which was good enough for manager, Don Mattingly, to name him as an option to pinch hit.

The Dodgers are averaging 4.85 runs per game during this stretch of dominance, which, well, with the pitching staff that they have, that should be plenty.

We'll talk about the Dodgers pitching next.