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Entries in Mike Trout (16)

Friday
Jan042013

Miguel Cabrera was Too Much with Two-Out

There were many categories in which Triple Crown leader Miguel Cabrera topped the batting world in 2012, but you may not realize that one of those lists was two-outs hits.

Miggy had 79 two-outs in 2012. That is more than Adrian Beltre's 73 two-out hits, David Wright's 72, Ryan Braun's 68, and Torii Hunter's 67. They were the five best in baseball last year.

Before you ask, Mike Trout had 50 two-out hits, the same as Edwin Encarnacion and Paul Goldschmidt.

Check out Cabrera in 2012 with two-out

That's a lot of red when pitchers want to get out of an inning don't you think?

With two-out in 2012, Cabrera hit .346 with 17 homers and 47 RBI. He had a .411 OBP and he slugged .618 giving him an OPS of 1.029.

Overall, Miguel Cabrera had a brilliant 2012 season, it was even great with two-outs. 

Friday
Dec142012

Josh Hamilton: Angelic Power, Devilish Approach

Josh Hamilton, the Angels' new $125 million man, can look like Reggie Jackson and Reggie Abercrombie -- in the same at-bat. Hamilton boasts the 16th-best OPS+ among major league hitters since the beginning of the 2007 season, but he has reached such heights in spite of a plate approach that earns players lacking his prodigious power a one-way ticket to the Independent Leagues. When Hamilton swings at a strike, he's in a class all his own. But when he chases? Shield your eyes, Angels fans.

Here's a look at Hamilton's 2012 slugging percentage when swinging at a pitch thrown in the strike zone. In short, pitchers are doomed when he takes a cut at an in-zone offering:

Hamilton's slugging percentage when swinging at in-zone pitches, 2012

Hamilton had the best slugging percentage in the game when swinging at an in-zone pitch, and it wasn't even close. He bested runner-up and new teammate Mike Trout by over 100 points:

Highest slugging percentage when swinging at in-zone pitches, 2012

BatterSlugging Pct.
Josh Hamilton .839
Mike Trout .733
Ryan Braun .731
Chris Davis .723
Miguel Cabrera .720
Jay Bruce .712
Pedro Alvarez .709
Mark Trumbo .706
Robinson Cano .699
Adrian Beltre .697
MLB Avg. for qualified hitters .544

 

So, Hamilton is the game's preeminent slugger when he takes a cut at a hittable pitch. Unfortunately, he also chases more pitches outside of the strike zone (42.5%) than any other qualified hitter. Hamilton turns into a scrub when he goes after those junk pitches:

Hamilton's slugging percentage when swinging at out-of-zone pitches, 2012

Hamilton slugged .280 when swinging at a pitch thrown out of the zone, about 20 points below the MLB average for qualified hitters and lower than L.A.'s slap-and-dash shortstop Erick Aybar (.281). Why is Hamilton so ineffective against out-of-zone pitches? It's because the pitches he chases aren't just off the plate -- they're in the next zip code.

Last year, Hamilton swung at more "non-competitive" pitches than any other hitter in the game. Non-competitive pitches are those thrown at least 18 inches away from the center of the strike zone. These aren't pitches that just miss the corners. Rather, they're guaranteed to be called balls by big blue and are next to impossible to make hard contact against if you're crazy enough to swing at them. Hamilton chased 17 more non-competitive pitches than his closest hacking competitor, Alfonso Soriano:

Most swings against non-competitive pitches, 2012

BatterSwings vs. non-competitive pitches
Josh Hamilton 118
Alfonso Soriano 101
Adam Jones 84
Mike Moustakas 79
Starlin Castro 77
Danny Espinosa 75
Ryan Braun 74
Dayan Viciedo 66
Mark Trumbo 66
Miguel Cabrera 63

 

When Hamilton swung at a non-competitive pitch, he went 2-for-46 with 42 strikeouts.

With such an aggressive approach, Hamilton has struck out nearly two-and-a-half times as often as he has walked during his career. His offensive success in spite of his hacking is rare. According to Fangraphs, the only Expansion-Era hitters who managed to be at least 35% above the league average offensively through their age-31 seasons while striking out twice as often as they walked are Frank Howard, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Jose Canseco, Ryan Howard, and Hamilton. The common trait among these guys? Mammoth, awe-inspiring power. So long as Hamilton keeps killing strikes, he should produce. But if injuries cut into his pop and he keeps lunging at pitches thrown two feet off the plate, years four and five of this deal could get ugly.

Thursday
Nov152012

Trout, Cabrera Dangerous To All Fields

When it comes to fielding, base running and positional value, Mike Trout easily trumps fellow AL MVP contender Miguel Cabrera. But in the batter's box, L.A.'s fleet-footed center fielder and Detroit's burly third baseman bear a striking resemblance. Trout and Cabrera are arguably the game's most well-rounded sluggers, lacing extra-base hits to all fields.

Check out Trout's hit chart during the 2012 season. While he showed serious pop to the pull side, Trout also racked up plenty of doubles, triples and homers to center and right field:

            Trout's spray chart

 

Similarly, Cabrera crushed pitchers in every direction:

                  Cabrera's spray chart

Trout and Cabrera had a nearly identical distribution of pitches put in play. Trout pulled the ball about 40% of the time, went up the middle 26% and punched pitches to the opposite field 34%. Cabrera pulled the ball 39%, hit it to center 27% and went oppo 34%. Trout and Cabrera were prodigious pull hitters, but they were also terrifying to center and right field.

Trout and Cabrera's slugging percentage by side of field

BatterSlugging Pct. to Pull SideSlugging Pct. to Center FieldSlugging Pct. to Opposite Field
Trout .852 .811 .514
Cabrera .757 .672 .738
Avg. for Right-Handed Batter .588 .475 .464