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Entries in Ichiro Suzuki (5)

Saturday
Aug132011

Best Offspeed Hitters

Top 20 Offspeed Hitters by AVG, 2010-2011 (Min. 300 offspeed pitches faced)

While Justin Morneau has the highest batting average on offspeed pitches of all players since the start of the 2010 season, Ichiro has collected the most hits (140) over that period....This season, new Phillie Hunter Pence leads all hitters with 63 hits on offspeed pitches....Cleveland Indian Lou Marson has the lowest batting average on offspeed pitches (.116) of all active players since 2010.

Wednesday
May042011

Is Ichiro Really a Free Swinger?

Ichiro Suzuki (SEA) earned the reputation as a hitter who will swing at anything.  We've seen him earn hits on balls at his shoe tops and way outside the strike zone.  Is he really that much of a free swinger, however?  The data indicates he may be more selective than thought.

The following graph shows Ichiro's swing rate versus the rate for the majors since the start of the 2008 season:

Ichiro Suzuki swing rate (left) versus MLB rate (right), 2008-2011.Note that most of Ichiro's swing density is in the strike zone.  Yes, he does swing out of the zone more than average, especially down.  There's a good reason for that, however:

Ichiro Suzuki contact rate (left) versus MLB rate (right), 2008-2011.When most batters go out of the strike zone, they swing and miss, especially up and down.  When Ichiro goes out of the strike zone, he makes contact.  Ichiro's strike zone is simply bigger than than it is for most players.  Not only does he make contact, he makes productive contact:

Ichiro Suzuki, in play average, 2008-2011.Notice the nice bright reds down and outside the strike zone.  Those are some of his best places to get a hit.  This represents more evidence that Suzuki's strike zone covers more area.  When most players swing out of the zone, they trade balls for outs.  Ichiro trades them for hits.  He is a selective hitter, just not in the traditional way.

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