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Entries in Michael Morse (4)

Tuesday
May142013

About one in three Justin Upton's fly balls are home runs

Joe Sheehan has a great piece in the 5/13 edition of Sports Illustrated presenting the case for Justin Upton.

Sheehan writes about Upton, "He's swinging harder and missing more pitches (a 12% swing-and-miss rate, his highest since 2009), but he's crushing the ones he's hitting: An absurd 35.3% of his fly balls leave the yard."

This got me curious as to who else has a high flyball to HR percentage.

To his credit, Sheehan in his article was quick to point out, "Upton isn't going to hit 60 bombs. His home-run-to-fly-ball rate isn't sustainable; his career mark coming into this year was 13.2%. The league leaders in the category usually end up around 25%."

As you can see from the chart above, Upton has already dropped down to 30.2%.

Not surprisingly, right behind him are Ryan Braun and Bryce Harper, both with numbers in the upper 20th percentile. But it may surprise you (because it did me) how good Mets teammates John Buck and Lucas Duda's numbers are.

Carlos Gomez and Ryan Howard are both at 15.8%

Then you have to look and wonder what s going on with David Wright, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, and Buster Posey, all of whom are in the 13th percentile of flyballs turning into homers.

Take a look at the guys under 10% and you will be amazed to see names including Alfonso Soriano, Jay Bruce, Andre Ethier, and Matt Kemp.

Their teams have to be wondering what happened to the power?

Looking at the AL and we see Mark Trumbo and Michael Morse's power in action

Chris Davis is pounding the baseball and the Indians have to be thrilled with the success of Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana.

Robinson Cano is making it more and more expensive for the Yankees to keep him. And, Chris Carter and Jose Bautista have identical numbers.

But what has happened to the Red Sox' Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks?

In the 15th percentile are a number of batters including: Miguel Cabrera, Mitch Moreland, Alex Rios, Josh Willingham, Adrian Beltre, Alex Gordon and Mike Trout.

And their numbers are better than Adam Jones, Billy Butler, Albert Pujols (10.6%!) and Josh Hamilton (10.0%!!).

There is a lot of warning track power being exhibited these days, but just remember there is a much better opportunity for something good happening on a fly ball than on a strikeout.

Wednesday
Apr102013

Michael Morse is Mr."He Swings and Misses"

Here is an early look this season at batter swings and batter misses.

Our spectrum ranges from A.J. Ellis of the Dodgers who has swung at 30 pitches and missed only two to the Mariners' Michael Morse who has swung at 95 pitches and missed on 35.

Take a look and mouse over the icons to see the player's stats.

 

For the most part, Morse is exceeding expectations. Morse is 10-for-38 thus far with an MLB leading six homers. But in 40 plate appearances he has drown just one walk and struck out 11 times.  His .300 OBP puts him in the middle of the league (52nd percentile), but you have to figure that in the long run it's going to get ugly with all the swings and misses.

Morse is certainly getting his money's worth at the plate

Morse has swung at 30.9% out of the zone.

Morse has missed four pitches right down the heart of the plate.

It will be interesting to track Morse's whiffs and bombs this season.

Thursday
Feb072013

The Fantasy Baseball Diary: Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez is an ideal example of a pitcher who has seen enormous success from locating, mixing and sequencing. For the past five seasons he’s been one of the best starting pitchers in the game because of his durability and domination of hitters. 

During the 2012 regular season opposing batters hit .241 versus Felix Hernandez.

What was the most remarkable about his 2012 season was that he was able to dominate hitters despite moving away from his fastball and its decreasing velocity. 

Felix Hernandez's Trending Fastball Velocity

Source: BrooksBaseball.net

 

Hernandez’s velocity has decreased year-over-year since the start of his MLB career. As the velocity dropped he no longer depended on his plus-plus (well above-average) fastball to get hitters out. Instead, he relied on location and the sequencing of his secondary pitches.

 

In the last five seasons he leads the league in ground ball percentage and is sixth in strikeouts per nine innings among any pitcher with at least 1,000 innings pitched. What was the most remarkable about his 2012 season was that he was able to dominate hitters despite a decline in the speed of his fastball.  

Checkout These Career Numbers

YEAR

IP

K/9

BB/9

H/9

HR/9

WHIP

ERA

2005

84.3

8.22

2.46

6.51

0.53

1.00

2.67

2006

191

8.29

2.83

9.19

1.08

1.34

4.52

2007

190.3

7.80

2.51

9.88

0.95

1.38

3.92

2008

200.7

7.85

3.59

8.88

0.76

1.39

3.45

2009

238.7

8.18

2.68

7.54

0.57

1.14

2.49

2010

249.7

8.36

2.52

6.99

0.61

1.06

2.27

2011

233.7

8.55

2.58

8.40

0.73

1.22

3.47

2012

232

8.65

2.17

8.11

0.54

1.14

3.06

The table below shows the percentage of pitches Hernandez threw in 2012 compared to the four seasons prior.

Last season he threw the fastball far less and utilized his secondary pitches more. 

Pitches

2008-11

2012

Fastball

43%

23%

Change Up

12%

25%

Curveball

12%

14%

Slider

11%

14%

Cutter

1%

12%

Sinker

19%

12%

Splitter

2%

-

 

What's Felix Hernandez's Fantasy Value for 2013?

The maturation process of Hernandez from a thrower to a pitcher has largely flown under the radar. Last season was by far his most impressive season of his career because he was able to sustain his dominance without plus-plus stuff. He maintained his level of performance by relying on his command of the strike zone and incorporating more of his secondary pitches.

 

The fences are moving in this year at Safeco Field, but Colin Wyers wrote a great article that moving in the fences will only have a slight impact on the number of runs scored. King Felix pitches in a great pitchers park and the Mariners offense should be improved with the acquisition of Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales, but he’s still going to have a difficult time trying to get wins against the best division on the American League.