While Adrian Gonzalez's wOBA on pitches in the strike zone leads all hitters, it's 184 points higher than his wOBA on pitches out of the strike zone. Jose Bautista, however, has a .467 wOBA on pitches missing the strike zone, which is 44 points higher than his wOBA on pitches in the strike zone. Along with Bautista, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers and Mike Napoli of the Texas Rangers are the only other hitters in the top 20 of both lists.
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Entries in Jose Bautista (17)
New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is crushing fastballs this season. His .785 slugging percentage against them ranks first in the league, as does his 1.231 OPS. Also, 11.5% of his at bats decided on a fastball have resulted in a home run.
Considering how he's done versus fastballs in the past two years, his current season has been quite an improvement.
What has helped Granderson's overall numbers against fastballs has been his ability to lay off pitches out of the zone. In 2010, he chased 26.6% of fastballs out of the zone, and 23.5% in 2009. This season, he's chasing only 18.5%.
You can see from the above graphic that Granderson is swinging at more fastballs that land in the zone, while chasing outside fastballs a bit less. His increased plate discipline has resulted in a lot more production. And while his 34 total HRs is second behind Jose Bautista's 35, his 23 HRs off fastballs leads all major leaguers.
Tonight at 8 p.m. E.T., eight of the game's most prolific sluggers will take their cuts in the 2011 Home Run Derby at Chase Field. For the first time, each league has a captain who handpicked three other teammates for the contest. National League captain and 2009 Derby champ Prince Fielder selected Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp and Rickie Weeks. American League honcho David Ortiz, who won last year's derby, called on Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez.
Here's a quick breakdown of Team Ortiz, which offers a mix of pull power and all-fields thump.
Where he hits 'em: The leader in the home run clubhouse at the break with 31, Bautista is all about the pull power. Twenty-four of his shots have been ripped into the left field stands this season, with four clearing the center field fence and three going the other way. Believe it or not, that's actually a more even dinger distribution than in 2010, when Bautista pulled 47 of his 54 homers.
HR pitch location: As noted last week, opponents are trying to keep the ball away from Bautista, with little success. Take a look at the pitch location of Bautista's shots this season:
Bautista has hit 12 homers apiece on pitches located down the middle and on the outside corner of the zone. Inside, middle, outside...if Bautista has a weakness, pitchers haven't found it yet.
Pitch type breakdown: Sixteen of Bautista's home runs have come on fastballs/sinkers. He has gone deep six times on sliders, while also hitting three changeups, curveballs and cutters apiece.
Where he hits 'em: Playing his home games in Yankee Stadium, a venue that smiles upon left-handed hitters, Cano has pulled all 15 of his home runs this season. That pull-happy tendency might serve the second baseman well on Monday night: Chase Field gives lefty power hitters a 14 percent boost compared to a neutral park, according to StatCorner.
HR pitch location: Cano likes the ball on the inside third of the plate, particularly low-and-inside pitches that he can golf into the cheap seats:
Eight of Cano's homers have come on pitches thrown inside.
Pitch type breakdown: Six of Cano's round-trippers have come on sliders, four on fastballs/sinkers, two apiece on changeups and sinkers and one on a curveball.
Where he hits 'em: In contrast to Bautista and Cano, Gonzalez is an all-fields slugger. Seven of his home runs have gone to the pull side, with two going to center field and eight the opposite way.
HR pitch location: As you might expect given his opposite-field slugging, Gonzalez does most of his damage on pitches on the outside corner:
Nine of Gonzalez's home runs have come on pitches located on the outside third.
Pitch type breakdown: Eleven of his homers have come on fastballs/sinkers, with four coming on changeups and one apiece on a slider and a cutter.
Where he hits 'em: Papi has pulled 12 of his home runs in 2011. He has three blasts to center, and four to the opposite field.
HR pitch location: Ortiz has taken advantage of pitchers who have left the ball over the fat part of the plate:
Ten of his home runs have been on pitches thrown over the middle of the plate.
Pitch type breakdown: Ortiz is making much more contact on fastballs this season, and it's loud contact, too. Fifteen of Ortiz's homers have come on fastballs/sinkers, two on changeups and one apiece on a slider and a cutter.