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Entries in Mike Napoli (13)


Napoli's Two-Strike Contact

Mike Napoli is thriving in his first season in Texas. The 29-year-old masher, never fully embraced by Mike Scioscia in L.A., was traded to Toronto in the logic-defying Vernon Wells deal last off-season and then sent to the Rangers in exchange for reliever Frank Francisco. The part-time catcher is raking to the tune of a .294 average, a .386 on-base percentage and a .592 slugging percentage with Texas, racking up a career-best 3.3 Wins Above Replacement so far.

Napoli's having his best season yet by paring down his strikeout rate from 26.9 percent of his plate appearances last season to 18.6 percent in 2011. In particular, he's making for more contact in two-strike counts.

First, here's the league average contact rate by pitch location in two-strike situations:

Overall, non-pitchers miss 20.5 percent of pitches swung at with two strikes.

Now, compare Napoli's contact rates in two-stike counts in 2010 and 2011:

Napoli's contact rate by pitch location in two-strike counts, 2010

Napoli's contact rate by pitch location in two-strike counts, 2011

Napoli is whiffing less just about everywhere, especially against high pitches and offerings thrown inside. His miss percentage with two strikes has dropped from 29.6 percent in 2010 to 19.9 percent in 2011. And while most players are fighting a losing battle once they have two strikes on them, hitting a collective .191/.260/.288, Napoli has a .277/.358/.484 line in such situations.

Considering that Angels catchers are getting on base barely a quarter of the time and slugging .300, you'd have to think they'd love to have Napoli back instead of watching him dim their playoff prospects on hard cut at a time.


Top Two Strike Hitters by wOBA

Min. 100 Two Strike Plate Appearances (Click image to enlarge)

There is no shortage of good hitters in the top 10 of this list.  Some notables that didn't make the cut: Chris Iannetta of the Colorado Rockies (.322) has the the highest walk rate (21.5%) of all major leaguers with two strikes....Yankees' Curtis Granderson (.316) has 5.1% HR rate, 4th behind Cabrera, Tulowitzki, and Berkman....Victor Martinez (.328) of the Detroit Tigers has a .310 batting average in two strike counts, best in the majors.


Mike Napoli's Month

Mike Napoli (TEX) has been the most productive hitter in the last month of baseball.  His .567 wOBA since July 6th leads the majors and is 85 points better Hideki Matsui (OAK) in second place on the list.

(Click to enlarge)
Over that span, Napoli has drilled 8 home runs and 7 doubles, while walking 8 times in 80 PA.  His 11.1% HR rate also leads all players since July 6th.  His HR/FB rate of 29.6% is third behind only Marlins' Mike Stanton (39.1%) and Rays' Ben Zobrist (30.0%).