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Entries in Milwaukee Brewers (41)


Braun Hitting the Straight Stuff

Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers collected three more hits on Thursday afternoon, extending his hit streak to 20 games.  In looking at his previous 19 games, Ryan isn't hitting location as much as he's hitting movement, or lack thereof.

Braun picks up hits on balls in and out of the strike zone:

Ryan Brain, in play average, June 8 through 29, 2011.He's hitting well over .300 on balls in the zone and out of the zone.  He hits balls up, in, out and down.  He sees the most success on fastballs and sinkers.  Note the movement on those pitches during the streak:

Ryan Braun, fastball movement, June 8 through June 29, 2011.The fastballs are basically flat, with a little movement away from Braun.

Ryan Braun, sinker movement, June 8 through June 29, 2011.The sinkers are not sinking much, and I wonder if these are really two-seam fastballs being miss identified. (The sinkers average one MPH slower than the fastballs.)  Both pitches come in fairly straight with little break.  Those are the pitches Ryan likes to hit:

Ryan Braun, hits on fastballs and sinkers, June 8 through June 29, 2011.Braun's pitch is a straight pitch.  The location doesn't matter.  These graphs show where the ball breaks relative to where a ball without spin would go.  Ryan seems to be good at that prediction, and when the pitch shows little movement, he bat ends up on the ball square.


Helping Prince Fielder

Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers came into Monday's action leading the National League in RBI with 42.  Driving in runs is often a combination of men on base plus power supplied by the batter, since long hits move runners father along the bases.  Slugging percentage represents a distance, the number of bases a player earns in an average at bat.  The higher than number, the farther runners on base can advance.  Fielder came into the day with a fine .533 slugging percentage.

Fielder's hot zone for power exists in a diagonal from the upper outside corner down the the lower inside corner of the strike zone.

Prince Fielder, in play slugging percentage, 2011.In the past, pitchers worked him away and down as much as possible.

Prince Fielder, pitch frequency, 2008-2010.I'm sure pitchers are still trying to replicate this pattern, but so far this year they're getting balls up and in the middle more:

Prince Fielder, pitch frequency, 2011.Pitchers are missing their spots, and Fielder is taking advantage of that to drive in plenty of runs.  He might slow down a bit as the season progresses and pitchers find their spots against him again.


Top Curveballs by Contact

(Min. 50 curveballs thrown in 2011)

Prior to the beginning of this season, we took a look at the change in Zack Greinke's (MIL) curveball between 2009 and 2010.  Getting his curveball back on track is important for Greinke this year, especially if he is going to get back to his Cy Young form from two years ago.

So far this season, batters are swinging and missing at his curve at a higher rate than against any other pitchers' curve.  He's yielded only one hit off the pitch, a ground ball single to Jose Tabata (PIT) on May 15th.

In 2009, Greinke had an average BrkZ (vertical inches of break from spin) reading on his curveball of -4.2.  In 2010, that number was cut in half to -2.0 inches of downward break - and as noted in the previous post on Greinke, batters were teeing off on it.  This season, his curve has a BrkZ reading of -6.8.  While his overall numbers haven't been great through his first 4 starts, a working curveball is a good sign for the 2009 Cy Young winner.