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Entries in Shin-Soo Choo (9)

Saturday
Jun082013

All About Choo's Bruises

The Cincinnati Reds acquired Shin-Soo Choo from the Indians last winter to bring a patient, potent bat to a lineup that finished dead last in the majors in on-base percentage from the leadoff spot. 

The move has paid off in a major way, as Choo's .432 OBP trails just teammate Joey Votto (.441) and Miguel Cabrera (.447) among qualified major league hitters. He's earning that lofty OBP the hard way, though, as Choo leads the majors in hit by pitches (17). His next closest competitor (or is it commiserator?) is Starling Marte, with 14.

History in the bruising

Choo is getting plunked at an historic pace so far, with fewer than 17 plate appearances going by before he gets a new bruise from the opposing pitcher. That's the third-fewest PA between HBPs among MLB hitters in a season with least 200 trips to the plate:

Fewest PA between HBPs in single season (min. 200 PA)

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

Here's a closer look at how Choo is grimacing his way into the record books in 2013:

  • Unfortunately for Choo, he's not getting grazed by errant breaking and off-speed pitches. Thirteen of his 17 HBPs have come on fastballs, ranging from an 86 MPH two-seamer from Jered Weaver to a 93 MPH four-seamer from Kyuji Fujikawa. Choo has also been hit by two sliders, and one curveball and cutter apiece.
  • As if getting beaned by fastballs isn't bad enough, Choo is getting buzzed by high pitches. Eight of his 17 HBPs have come on pitches thrown in the upper-third of the strike zone, five have caught him around the ribs, and four have been below the belt.
  • Choo crowds the plate, making him a natural target to get plunked, but there might be some deeper strategy involved in terms of when he takes a body shot. Seven of his HBPs have come in two-strike counts. Getting hit by a pitch hurts, but it doesn't sting as much as heading back to the bench after making an out.
Wednesday
May082013

Now it's time to pay attention to Craig Kimbrel's struggles

Craig Kimbrel did not earn his 100th career save last night.

He did pick up his fifth career loss.

He also gave up his second and third homers of the season after allowing just three last year.

Facing the Reds, the stellar Atlanta Braves closer allowed a tying two-out homer to Devin Mesoraco and then Shin-Soo Choo hit his second home run of the game, this one a walkoff as Cincinnati topped the Braves, 5-4.

"All around, it's frustrating," Kimbrel told the AP, who is 10 for 13 in save chances. "I've blown three saves. Those are wins we should have had."

But the Braves need to be concerned not just about those three homers and three blown saves, but how effective Kimbrel will be the rest of this season.

Take a look at what 2012 looked like

Batters: 

  • Hit .126
  • OBP .186
  • Slugged .172
  • OPS .358 

Take a look at what 2013 looks like

Batters: 

  • Hit .224
  • OBP .269
  • Slugged .449
  • OPS .718 

Kimbrel is going more to his fastball this season and moving away from his slider

In 2013, batters are hitting .235 against Kimbrel's fastball and .200 against his slider

Both good numbers, but...

In 2012, batters hit .137 against Kimbrel's fastball and .100 against his slider

It may just be a bad start for Craig, but it's not too early for the Braves, and their fans, to start paying attention now

Tuesday
May072013

NL Best & Worst Hitters Home & Away

I know it is not a revelation, but there is no National League hitting equivalent of Miguel Cabrera.

NL Home and Away stars

The closest we can find in terms of home and away hitting in the NL, is the Brewers Carlos Gomez who is hitting .362 in Milwaukee and .378 away from home.

Next among the elite NL home and away batters are the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez who is hitting .345 in LA and .345 on the road and Yadier Molina hitting .333 in St. Louis and .324 on the road.

Home bodies

The top three hitters at home in the NL are: 

Road Warriors

We expect, and understand, hitting success in Colorado which is what makes Wilin Rosario's .417 road batting average, the best in the NL, fascinating. But what makes it truly amazing is that he is only hitting .184 at Coors.

The guys who prefer the road to hit are: 

Equal opportunity batter

Jean Segura is hitting .333 at home/.333 on the road. Segura is the only NL batter within four points on his home and away averages.

Some numbers of note 

  • Adam LaRoche is hitting .091 in Washington, the worst home batting average in the NL.
  • Rickie Weeks is hitting .095 away from Milwaukee, the worst road batting average in the NL.
  • B.J. Upton is hitting .133 in Atlanta and .159 away.
  • Ike Davis is hitting .176 in New York and .167 away.
  • Matt Kemp is hitting .189 in LA and .328 away.
  • Lucas Duda is hitting .200 in New York and .308 away.
  • Andrew McCutchen is hitting .316 in Pittsburgh and .182 away.
  • Jimmy Rollins is hitting .275 in Philly and .185 away.
  • Alfonso Soriano is hitting .333 in Chicago and .200 away.
  • Jedd Gyorko is hitting .333 in San Diego and .203 away.
  • Buster Posey is hitting .360 in San Francisco and .204 away.
  • Starlin Castro is hitting .329 in Chicago and .224 away.
  • David DeJesus is hitting .347 in Chicago and .224 away.
  • Carl Crawford is hitting .377 in LA and .241 away.
  • Bryce Harper is hitting .370 in Washington and .255 away.
  • Pete Kozma is hitting .216 in St. Louis and .297 away.