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Entries in Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (6)

Tuesday
Jun112013

Homers by Lefties, Here, There, But Not Everywhere

So far this season, there have been 1913 homers hit.

  • Of that total, 1053 (54%) have been hit from the right-side of the plate, 860 from the left (45%, yes I rounded off).
  • Of the 860 homers that have been hit by lefties, 435 (51%) have been hit at home, 425 on the road (49%, yes I rounded off).
  • There have been 54 batters this season who have hit 10+ homers.
  • Of that total, 33 (61%) 10+ homer hitters did it from the right-side of the plate, 21 (38% yes, I rounded off again) from the left.
  • There have been 11 batters this season who have hit 15+ homers.
  • Of that total, six (54%) 15+ homer hitters did it from the right-side of the plate, five (45%, more rounding off) from the left.
  • The major league leading home run hitter is Chris Davis with 20 and the NL leader, Domonic Brown, has 19. They are both lefties.

Lefties are clearly hitting their share of homers.

Except for the Angels and for Kansas City in the AL.

The last Royals lefties who homered at home were Jarrod Dyson and Mike Moustakas off of Phil Hughes on May 10. 

Hank Conger homered for the Angels on May 2, the only homer the team has hit at home this month.

Except for the Brewers, Marlins and for the Dodgers in the NL.

Especially the Brewers

Norichika Aoki is the only Brewer lefty batter to homer this season.

Aoki has hit three at Miller Park, the last one on April 29.

The Marlins lefties  have hit one homer at home in each month this season.

Adrian Gonzalez hit the last Dodger lefty road homer and that was barely away since it was off Ernesto Frieri in Anaheim

By the way, the Brewers lefties only hit 27 homers lats season, 16 at home including an Aoki walkoff homer.

Saturday
May182013

Soft Stuff Killing Prince Albert

It's often said that diminished bat speed does in aging sluggers. Thirty-something power hitters, who once made bleacher creatures duck for cover upon being challenged with a fastball, make meek contact or whiff entirely as their quick-twitch fibers fray. At first blush, Albert Pujols seems to fit this narrative perfectly. The 33-year-old, hobbled by a surgically-repaired right knee, has a mere seven homers and a .422 slugging percentage so far in 2013. Pujols is the best first baseman since Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx, but even Prince Albert can't stave off the effects of a slowing bat.

Problem is, that narrative couldn't be more wrong. An older, gimpier Pujols is still crushing fastballs. It's the slow stuff -- breaking balls and changeups -- that's proving to be his downfall.

Pujols' slugging percentage vs. fastballs, 2013

Pujols is slugging .565 against fastballs this season. That doesn't quite match his Herculean production in past years (he slugged .587 versus the heat from 2010-12), but it's still over 100 points above the MLB average (.443). Against slow stuff, however, Pujols isn't nearly so studly...

Pujols' slugging percentage vs. curveballs, sliders and changeups, 2013

Unless pitchers hang one over the heart of the plate, Pujols isn't punishing breaking and off-speed stuff. He's slugging a paltry .279 against soft stuff, a far cry from his .460 mark the previous three seasons and over 100 points below the MLB average (.392). Pujols' lone homer against on a slow pitch in 2013 came on a Pat Neshek slider on April 29.

So far, Pujols has seen only slightly fewer two-and-four-seam fastballs (45.6%) than the average MLB hitter (46.6%). That could change if he continues to make such weak contact on curves, sliders and changeups. Pujols may be on the decline, but the cause is slow stuff, not a slowing bat.

Saturday
Apr132013

Hamilton Off to Hellish Start with Angels

Josh Hamilton has endured a lousy April thus far. He got the heel treatment from former fans in Texas, his new club is an AL-worst 2-8 and he's dragging down what was supposed to be a juggernaut Angels offense. Hamilton has a .179/.261/.231 batting line and is homerless in 46 plate appearances -- hardly the sort of production becoming of a $25 million a year slugger.

Hamilton has managed to post MVP-type numbers during his career despite being one of the game's most trigger-happy hitters. However, his plate discipline has taken yet another step backward early on in 2013. The Angels might as well return to the California moniker, because Hamilton is swinging -- and flailing -- at everything from Crescent City to San Diego.

Check out Hamilton's swing rate by pitch location this season. It's not just that he's taking a hack at pitches thrown off the plate -- it's that those pitches are in another zip code:

Hamilton has chased about 47% of pitches thrown outside of the zone this year, up from 42% in 2012 and tied with Chicago's Alexei Ramirez for the highest rate in the majors. He's batting .063 (1-for-16) against off-the-plate pitches, managing just a single off a Yu Darvish curveball on the border of the strike zone.

It's nearly impossible to get good results at the plate when you chase, even if you're blessed with superhuman strength and coordination. Hamilton defied the odds by batting .276 against out-of-zone pitches in 2010 (about 100 points above the MLB average), perhaps emboldening him to take his hacking exploits to another level. Since then, however, Hamilton's batting .182 when chasing off the plate.

Hamilton seems to be turning into the baseball equivalent of Icarus, ignoring warnings about his approach and flying too close to the sun. Uber-talented or not, Hamilton's going to lose his wings if he keeps going after so many junk pitches.