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Entries in Los Angeles Angels (46)

Sunday
May012011

April's Outside Power Hitters

April's Top 15 Power Hitters on Outside Pitches
  • Jose Bautista (TOR) continues to crush pitches regardless of where they are in the zone. His 5 HRs on outside pitches leads all major league hitters. Curtis Granderson (NYY), Mark Teixeira (NYY), and Ryan Howard (PHI) are tied for second with 4 HRs.
  • Peter Bourjos (LAA) leads the league with 4 triples on outside pitches.
  • Carlos Quentin (CWS) leads all hitters with 6 doubles on outside pitches.
  • Carlos Santana (CLE) lead the majors last year with a .643 SLG on outside pitches. He's currently ranked 42nd with a .476 SLG. Albert Pujols, who was ranked 2nd last year with a .601 SLG, currently holds a .167 SLG on outside pitches, putting him in 235th place.
Saturday
Apr092011

Wood Gives Away the Plate

Why is Brandon Wood such a terrible hitter?  Since the start of the 2008 season, he posted a .169/.200/.257 slash line.  That might be okay for a pitcher, but a major league third baseman can't survive with such low averages.  Part of the problem is that Wood gives away a large part of the plate.

Brandon Wood, taken strikes, 2008-2011.That's a huge area where he is taking pitches that have almost no chance to being called balls.  One reason he may take there is that he often swings and misses those pitches:

Brandon Wood, swinging strikes, 2008-2011.Note that little green donut hole on the inside half of the plate?  That's Wood's hot zone:

Brandon Wood, in play average, 2008-2011.So he can't hit balls on the outside part of the plate, so he takes those pitches hoping to get a ball down and in.  His taking strikes leads to another problem as well:

Brandon Wood, ball rate on taken pitches, 2008-2011.Look how far off the plate a pitcher needs to throw before the umpire gives Wood the ball call.  The dotted line represents the area of uncertainty, yet outside of that line Wood is only getting 50% of the calls.  Wood gave away the outside half of the plate, and the pitchers and umpires give him no benefit of the doubt.  Until Wood takes back the outside part of the plate, and shows he knows the difference between a ball and a strike, he won't get those calls.

Of course, it just may be that down and in is the only place where he can be successful when he swings.  If that's the case, he won't be in the majors much longer.

Monday
Apr042011

Abreu's Dropping OBP

Bobby Abreu invigorated the 2009 Angels with his high OBP.  His .390 mark that season not only helped the Angels offense, but inspired other hitters on the team to be more selective at the plate.  Bobby was a perennial .400 OBP hitter during the peak of his career, but that stat started falling in 2007, and 2009 may have been his last hurrah as he dropped to .353 in 2010, the lowest level he ever posted in a full season.

The following graph shows Bobby's ball and strike rates over 2009 and 2010 (click graph for a larger version):

Bobby Abreu ball and strike rate, 2009-2010.Note that in 2009, Bobby played two stretches in which his ball rate (the green line) was much higher than his strike rate (the blue line).  In 2010 that reversed, with two periods of much higher strike rates than ball rates.  Since walks are a part of Bobby's OBP, fewer balls meant fewer walks, and he drew seven fewer in 2010 than in 2009.

The drop in ball rate was attributable to two changes.  Bobby was putting more balls in play outside the strike zone, and getting fewer balls called in the strike zone:

 

Number of Pitches20092010
Called balls in zone 124 106
Strikes outside zone 364 364
In play outside zone 80 98

 

The umpires were less forgiving, but it also seems that Bobby was fishing outside the zone more.  It's tough to say if one caused the other.  From the above graph, it was clear Abreu was not getting ball calls early, which may have caused him to to start swinging at pitches he would normally take.  The change led to 19 fewer hits, and a lower OBP.

Bobby is off to a good start in 2011 with seven hits and four walks in his first three games.  Maybe the calls are going his way again.