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Entries in Justin Upton (10)

Wednesday
Jun292011

Justin Upton's Contact

Justin Upton of the Diamondbacks upped his batting average and OBP to new highs this season, and could be on the way to the best year of his young career.  The change that stands out most for Justin is his reduced strikeout rate.  In his first three full seasons, Justin struck out in between 23 and 29% of his plate appearances.  His three year average of 26% was the sixth highest in the majors.  In 2011, that's down to 17.5%.  That number is not low, but he's now in the middle of the pack rather than near the top.

Justin's strike zone judgment remained the same.  With two strikes, Upton swings at strikes:

Justin Upton, swing rate with two strikes, 2008-2010.Justin Upton, swing rate with two strikes, 2011.The heat maps are nearly identical in terms of inside/outside the zone.  In fact, it looks like Justin swings a bit more frequently this season.  The big difference comes in terms of contact:

Justin Upton, contact rate with two strikes, 2008-2010.Justin Upton, contact rate with two strikes, 2011.In the past, if the pitch was not inside, Justin had trouble hitting it.  He knew to swing, the swings just failed.  Now, he's handling the high and low outside pitches better, and fouling them off or putting the ball in play more.  He's playing this season as a 23 year old, and it appears he's learning to adjust, a good sign as he approaches his peak years.

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