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Entries in New York Yankees (126)

Thursday
Jun302011

Swisher Surging

Swisher vs. RHP 2011

On May 12th, New York Yankee Nick Swisher hit his third HR of the season from the left side of the plate.  However, prior to that day he was hitting just .153/.298/.235 in 104 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, compared to .400/.444/.467 from the right side (granted in just 36 PA, and with no HR). 

But since mid-May, Swisher has been on a roll against RHP, hitting .269/.383/.516 with 8 doubles and 5 HRs.

Nick Swisher vs. RHP
(Click image to enlarge)

The breakdown: Swisher is crushing the hard stuff, with all 7 of his left-handed HRs coming off fastballs, along with 5 of his 9 doubles....Since May 12th, he has an .825 slugging percentage against fastballs, 4th best in the majors since that date....His 16.0% walk rate ranks 4th in the AL, and his 50 total walks is 8th best in baseball....Swisher's .457 wOBA since the start of June ranks 6th in the AL, and his 28.6% HR/FB rate ranks 4th among all AL left-handed batters in that time (from April through June it was just 5.9%).

 

Monday
Jun272011

Boone Logan vs. Lefties

Boone Logan is the New York Yankees' only lefty reliever in the pen.  Pedro Feliciano is not likely to return very soon, if at all this season. And while Damaso Marte plans to be back after the All-Star break, he too could be gone for the whole season. So Logan is a pretty important part of that bullpen, especially against lefty-heavy lineups like the Red Sox.

Logan had a rough start to the season.  Through his first 14 appearances, he gave up 9 hits to lefties in 29 plate appearances, including two doubles and one home run.  However, he's turned things around as of late, yielding just 4 hits to left-handed batters in his last 26 faced.  Location seems to be a big part of his turnaround.

(Click image to enlarge)

The big difference has been Logan's ability to throw outside to lefties.  Earlier in the season, you can see that he was leaving the ball over the heart of the plate. But since May 15th, he's been able to keep the ball away, and the results have been much improved.

2011 Boone Logan vs. LHB
PPAAVGBABIPK%wOBA
First 14 Games10629.360.3646.9%.413
Last 14 Games10726.269.28634.6%.236

Logan has struck out 11 lefty batters this season, 9 of which have come since mid-May. Since tightening up his location, Lefties have been swinging and missing more against him. Prior to May 15th, opposing LHB were making contact on 81.4% of their swings against Logan. But in the past 6 weeks, that number has dropped to 70.2%.

Opposing batters are also swinging at more of Logan's pitches out of the zone (25.6% to 31.3%). This is one of the many benefits that come with locating on the edges. Batters can not sit on pitches over the middle if Logan constantly locates to the outside of the plate. Instead, they are forced to swing more at those borderline pitches so as to avoid getting caught looking.

Tuesday
Jun212011

Curtis Granderson's thank you to Kevin Long

When the Yankees pulled the trigger on three-team trade that brought Curtis Granderson to patrol centerfield, the big question was whether Granderson could hit lefties. The concerns were legitimate as in 2009, in his last season with the Tigers, despite being a 30-homer hitter, against lefties he hit just .183 with two homers and nine RBI.

Granderson's struggles continued through the first half of 2010 with the Yanks:

2010, first half slugging for Curtis Granderson versus leftiesYou can see that there were very few hot spots as Granderson struggled against lefties hitting .207 and slugging .287.

But to his credit, in August, as he was benched, he started working with Kevin Long, the increasingly respected hitting coach for the Yanks.

Take a look at the difference in the first half of this season:

2011, first half slugging for Curtis Granderson versus leftiesBy taking that step closer to the plate, closing his stance and keeping both hands on the bat through his swing, Granderson is having an All-Star season. Just against lefties he is hitting .273, and slugging .648, with nine homers. Granderson still takes constant batting practice against and if he is looking for a thank you present for Long, perhaps a framed picture of this heat map would be perfect.