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Entries in New York Yankees (126)


Granderson's Home Run Surge

About one quarter of the way through the season Curtis Granderson (NYA) is halfway to his 2010 total of 24 home runs.  Granderson owns decent power, averaging about 25 dingers a season during the previous three years.  He drives the ball in a very compact location in the strike zone:

Curtis Granderson, pitch frequency of home runs, 2008-2010.The interesting thing about this chart comes from the fact that Curtis pulls most of his home runs.  He's able to reach balls on the outer half of the plate, and pull them for homers.  Pitchers tried to go further away on Curtis, often ending up outside the zone:

Curtis Granderson, pitch frequency, 2008-2010.For some reason, they've stopped going outside on Granderson in 2011.

Curtis Granderson, pitch frequency, 2011.They are basically throwing the ball where he likes to hit home runs.

Curtis Granderson, pitch frequency on home runs, 2011.One other thing changed.  In the period from 2008-2010, Curtis hit 57.9% of his home runs on fastballs.  That's not surprising, as 53.9% of the pitches he saw were fastballs.  In 2011, however, he's really locked in on the speed pitch.  Pitchers have cut their fastballs to Granderson to 43.8%, but Curtis hit 10 of his twelve homers on fastballs.  So it looks like a combination of poor pitch location on the part of the hurlers and good fastball recognition by Granderson led to the surge in homers.


Tigers and Twins and Short Fly Balls

At Baseball Musings, I noted the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers remain the only teams without a three-run or better homer in 2011.  The Baseball Analytics heat maps provide a good indication of why.  The Twins rank last in the AL in home runs with 15, and they just don't get very much distance on their fly balls.

Twins fly ball distance, 2011.The Tigers, with 28 home runs, rank 10th in the AL and don't put much sock on the ball either.

Tigers fly ball distance, 2011.Note that the Twins are at least hitting balls in the middle of the plate well.  The Tigers only seem to be getting distance on the edges.

Compare these teams to the Yankees.  They lead the league with 54 homers:

Yankees fly ball distance, 2011.The Yankees light up the strike zone with much brighter greens and even a little yellow.  If you think the New Stadium has something to do with it, the Yankees are actually hitting the ball further on the road this season.

Injuries and age hurt the Twins and Tigers long ball ability this sesaon.  Until the big bats come back or are replaced, the teams need to concentrate on other ways to score runs besides waiting for the three-run homer.



Expanded Strike Zones

Most Called Strikes Outside of the Zone

While Daric Barton (OAK) tops the list, Ike Davis (NYM) has endured more strike three calls on pitches located outside of the zone (9) this season as determined by PitchFX. Arizona's Stephen Drew comes in second with 6.

Of course, you must consider volume when reviewing players' ball/strike data. While Daric Barton leads the league in taken called strikes outside of the strike zone, he also ranks twelfth in taken strikes within the strike zone (86), and 2nd overall in all pitches taken (355). So it's not necessarily the case that umpires have been favoring the opposing pitcher over Barton. He simply takes a ton of pitches, increasing the chances of bad calls by umpires. However, other than Barton, only two other players in the top 25 in called strikes out of the strike zone rank in the top 25 in total pitches taken, Carlos Santana (CLE) with 352 and Mark Teixeira (NYY) with 301.