While Justin Morneau has the highest batting average on offspeed pitches of all players since the start of the 2010 season, Ichiro has collected the most hits (140) over that period....This season, new Phillie Hunter Pence leads all hitters with 63 hits on offspeed pitches....Cleveland Indian Lou Marson has the lowest batting average on offspeed pitches (.116) of all active players since 2010.
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Entries in Philadelphia Phillies (36)
Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies reduced his hits and home runs allowed this season to put him in Cy Young contention. He accomplished this by inducing more ground balls with his fastball. From 2008-2010, the percent of ground balls and fly balls put in play against his fastball were very similar, 30.5% fly balls, 35.2% ground balls. On fly balls, batters did very well, with a .297 batting average and a .814 slugging percentage. On ground balls, they did poorly with averages of .236/.263.
Note that in this time period, Cole's fastball stayed up. Compare that to 2011:
Not only is his fastball lower in the strike zone, his movement is a bit farther toward right-handed batters. He's now getting 46% of his balls in play as ground balls, only 24.9% as fly balls. The fly balls still give batters good results, .297/.734. Batters are hitting .262/.295 on ground balls, but it's worth it to keep the ball in the park. Hamels is trading extra-base hits for singles, a trade that is paying huge dividends.
Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies and Carlos Quentin of the Chicago White Sox lead the majors in hit by pitches since the start of the 2008 season. Utley leads with 77 and Quentin is close with 75, but there is a big fall off to Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers with 50. Utley and Quentin do a great job of leaning in so they are closer to the strike zone.
Utley comes very close to getting hit in the strike zone, which would be strikes. He also manages to take a pitch on the foot more often than most left-handed batters.
Carlos does not lean in as much as Utley, with the highest concentration of hit by pitches very much inside. The difference between Quentin and most right-handed batters, is he lacks the big fall off as the pitches get closer to the plate. Maybe he's just better at getting out of the way of the border-line strikes than Utley, as he seldom gets hit low.
This is not a trival stat. Hit by pitches add over 20 points to Utley's and Quentin's OBP in this time frame. Avoiding outs is a hugh part of offense, and these two players found a painful way to help out their teams.