Search Archives
Follow Us

Featured Sponsors

Mailing List
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Twitter Feeds

This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Entries in San Francisco Giants (49)


Huff on the Downswing

Aubrey Huff of the San Francisco Giants saw his batting averages drop in 2011 compared to his fine 2010 season.  His BA dropped about 45 points, his OBP about 90 points, and his slugging percentage fell about 125 points.  His weighted on-base average (wOBA) sums up the drop, going from .385 in 2010 to .295 this season.  The difference appears to lie in his swing and contact statistics.  Huff is swinging more and missing more in 2011.

In 2010, Huff swung at pitches that were up and in the middle of the strike zone:

Aubrey Huff, swing rate, 2010.That's a good place for him to swing, because that's where he tends to make contact:

Aubrey Huff, contact rate on swings, 2010.In 2011, he's swinging at lower pitches:

Aubrey Huff, swing rate, 2011.Pitchers are throwing him more sinkers this season, and he seems to be chasing them.  That chase hurts him:

Aubrey Huff, contract rate on swings, 2011.Those swings on sinkers are usually misses, putting him in a hole or out.  His contract rate on pitches up in the zone remains high.  He needs to let those low pitches go for balls.

Note that in 2008 and 2009, he exhibited a similar rise and decline.  The 2008 season was a great one for him, posting a wOBA of .386.  That dropped to .305 in 2009.  Once again, the difference between the two seasons was Huff chasing low pitches in 2009 that he didn't chase in 2008.


Vogelsong Mixing Pitches, Getting Chases

When Ryan Vogelsong replaced an injured Barry Zito in the Giants' starting rotation, it seemed to indicate that San Francisco's staff, while exceptionally talented, was paper thin behind the likes of Lincecum, Cain and Bumgarner. After all, Vogelsong was a prospect who didn't make good upon being traded to the Pirates in the July 2001 Jason Schmidt deal. He toiled in Japan for three years, pitching mostly out of the bullpen, and drifted by the Triple-A affiliates of the Phillies and Angels last year before signing a minor league deal over the winter with the club that originally drafted him.

But, instead of continuing to disappoint, Vogelsong has dominated in 2011. The soon-to-be 34-year-old righty has struck out three batters for every one that he has walked, and his fielding independent ERA is south of three. Vogelsong has revived his career by showing a deeper repertoire and getting hitters to chase pitches off the plate.

When Vogelsong was a Pirate, he threw his low-90s fastball more than 70 percent of the time while flipping in occasional curveballs, sliders and changeups. In 2011, he has thrown each of those secondary pitches more than 10 percent of the time. His fastball and mid-70s curveball have been particularly dominant. Check out his chase and miss rates with the heater and the hammer, compared to the league averages:


 Vogelsong is pounding the outside corner with his fastball against lefties:

Frequency of Vogelsong's fastball location vs. left-handers (top), compared to the league average (bottom)

 Against right-handers, his fastball is basically two pitches. He tails the ball in on righties' hands at times, then peppers the outside part of the plate at other points:


   Frequency of Vogelsong's fastball location vs. right-handers (top), compared to the league average (bottom)

Vogelsong is getting lefties to chase those fastballs on the outside corner...


Left-handed hitters' chase rate on Vogelsong's fastballs located on the outside corner (top), compared to the league average (bottom)

And righty batters just can't resist inside fastballs:

 Right-handed hitters' chase rate on Vogelsong's fastballs located on the inside corner (top), compared to the league average (bottom)

Overall, Vogelsong's fastball has been one of the most effective pitches in the game. He's holding hitters to a .294 slugging percentage with the fastball, which ranks fourth among starting pitchers.

Vogelsong's curve has been sharp, too, limiting batters to a .200 slugging percentage that ranks in the top 20 among starters. He's throwing his curveball a bit less than 20 percent of the time to batters of both hands, spotting the pitch on the outside corner against both lefties and righties and getting outside swings:


Left-handed hitters' chase rate on Vogelsong's curveball (top), compared to the league average (bottom)


 Right-handed hitters' chase rate on Vogelsong's curveball (top), compared to the league average (bottom)

Vogelsong's fastball and curveball have been the biggest reasons for his success. But keep in mind that lefty hitters thinking about moving over in the box and covering that outside corner of the plate also have to contend with a slider in on the hands. And if they gear up for the fastball on the outside half, Vogelsong can call on his changeup. Righties  tempted to stand near the outer bounds of the batter's box to deal with inside fastballs have to battle breaking stuff on the outside corner. In other words, Vogelsong's four-pitch mix makes hitters of both hands squirm.


Jonathan Sanchez Missing Wide

San Francisco's Jonathan Sanchez has never been known as a control pitcher, but the 28-year-old lefty is having serious problems finding the strike zone in 2011. Sanchez has issued 5.6 walks per nine innings pitched, by far the highest rate among starters qualified for the ERA title.

Sanchez's control woes stem from his fastball. He's not locating the pitch in the zone as much as he did last season. Instead, he's missing off the plate to his arm side more often:

Frequency of Jonathan Sanchez's fastball location in 2010 (left) and 2011 (right)

Sanchez located 52.1 percent of his fastballs within the strike zone in 2010. In 2011, that rate has fallen to 49.5 percent (the MLB average is about 52 percent).

Considering that hitters are chasing fewer of Sanchez's fastballs this year (21.5 percent, compared to 22.7 percent in 2010), that has translated into fewer strikes thrown. Sanchez got strikes with his heater 63.1 percent of the time in 2010, but just 60.3 percent in 2011 (64 percent MLB average).


Sanchez's fastball velocity is down, too: he averaged 90.6 MPH with the pitch last season, but he's averaging about one MPH less in 2011. During a rocky June in which Sanchez has walked more batters (19) than he has struck out (15), he's sitting at 89.2 MPH with the pitch.

Despite a wheezing offensive attack, the Giants sit just a half-game back of the Diamondbacks in the NL West standings due to superb starting pitching. If Sanchez is going to help the defending world champs moving forward, he'll have to cut out the Oliver Perez impression.