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Entries in Philadelphia Phillies (37)

Sunday
May012011

April's Outside Power Hitters

April's Top 15 Power Hitters on Outside Pitches
  • Jose Bautista (TOR) continues to crush pitches regardless of where they are in the zone. His 5 HRs on outside pitches leads all major league hitters. Curtis Granderson (NYY), Mark Teixeira (NYY), and Ryan Howard (PHI) are tied for second with 4 HRs.
  • Peter Bourjos (LAA) leads the league with 4 triples on outside pitches.
  • Carlos Quentin (CWS) leads all hitters with 6 doubles on outside pitches.
  • Carlos Santana (CLE) lead the majors last year with a .643 SLG on outside pitches. He's currently ranked 42nd with a .476 SLG. Albert Pujols, who was ranked 2nd last year with a .601 SLG, currently holds a .167 SLG on outside pitches, putting him in 235th place.
Monday
Apr252011

Roy Halladay's Change Up

Roy Halladay (PHI) struck out 14 Padres on Sunday, April 24, 2011, tying a career high.  He tied San Diego in knots due to his change up.  The Padres had no problem recognizing his fastball.  They swung when the pitch was in the strike zone:

Roy Halladay, swings at fastball, April 24, 2011.San Diego batters also did a good job of deciding when to take the pitch:

Roy Halladay, taken fastballs, April 24, 2011.Roy's change up came in ten miles an hour slower than his fastball.  It showed the same horizontal movement, but dipped more.  The Padres got that pitch backwards:

Roy Halladay, swings at change up, April 24, 2011.Note the huges concentration of swings below the strike zone.  Now look where the opposition was taking the pitch:

Roy Halladay, taken change ups, April 24, 2011.I suspect that once a batter takes one of those change ups in the heart of the strike zone, he's more likely to swing at one down further.  Halladay is a master at messing up a batter's timing, changing speeds and locations.  This allows him to work efficiently, going deep in games.  All those skills were on display Sunday.

Wednesday
Mar162011

Could Francisco Pull a Bautista?

The question was posed on our facebook page whether Philadelphia Phillies' outfielder Ben Francisco could have similar success as Jose Bautista by implementing the same hitting techniques that the Blue Jays slugger did last season.  Successful hitting takes into account a whole bunch of different things.  It's nearly impossible to predict whether one batter's style could work for another player.  Jose Bautista clearly had the ability to produce power numbers at the plate prior to his 2010 season; he just needed to tweak his approach and the rest was history.

Whether Ben Francisco can make a similar adjustment and begin to produce better power numbers is anyone's guess.  Although, it is interesting to note that Francisco and pre-2010 Bautista do have similar numbers.  In 2009, Francisco hit .257/.332/.447 in 459 PA.  Bautista: .235/.349/.408 in 404 PA.  Their 2009 heat maps are also very similar.

(click to enlarge)
Bautista's new plate approach made him a terror to right-handed pitchers, producing a 1.030 OPS.  Francisco has, for the most part, fared equally against righties and lefties over the last 3 years (.753/.789 OPS respectively). Francisco does seem to generate most of his power on pitches inside, a quality shared by Bautista.

Ben Francisco 2008-10

(click to enlarge)

Adopting the hitting changes Bautista made working with hitting coach Dwayne Murphy may help Francisco.  But again, one style of hitting does not work for every player.  Francisco is more of a free swinger than Bautista, and as a result, his walk rate is much lower.  In the last 3 years, Francisco has chased 5% more balls out of the strike zone than Jose Bautista.  As a result, he's put up a .328 OBP.  Changing his swing may help generate more power, but Francisco will need to improve his ability to identify strikes in order to raise his on base percentage.  Otherwise, pitchers will avoid throwing close to the plate knowing Francisco is more likely to chase pitches out of the zone.