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Entries in Toronto Blue Jays (32)

Monday
Jul112011

Breaking Down Team Ortiz's Dingers

Tonight at 8 p.m. E.T., eight of the game's most prolific sluggers will take their cuts in the 2011 Home Run Derby at Chase Field. For the first time, each league has a captain who handpicked three other teammates for the contest. National League captain and 2009 Derby champ Prince Fielder selected Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp and Rickie Weeks. American League honcho David Ortiz, who won last year's derby, called on Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez.

Here's a quick breakdown of Team Ortiz, which offers a mix of pull power and all-fields thump.

Jose Bautista

Where he hits 'em: The leader in the home run clubhouse at the break with 31, Bautista is all about the pull power. Twenty-four of his shots have been ripped into the left field stands this season, with four clearing the center field fence and three going the other way. Believe it or not, that's actually a more even dinger distribution than in 2010, when Bautista pulled 47 of his 54 homers.

HR pitch location: As noted last week, opponents are trying to keep the ball away from Bautista, with little success. Take a look at the pitch location of Bautista's shots this season:

Bautista has hit 12 homers apiece on pitches located down the middle and on the outside corner of the zone. Inside, middle, outside...if Bautista has a weakness, pitchers haven't found it yet.

Pitch type breakdown: Sixteen of Bautista's home runs have come on fastballs/sinkers. He has gone deep six times on sliders, while also hitting three changeups, curveballs and cutters apiece.

Robinson Cano

Where he hits 'em: Playing his home games in Yankee Stadium, a venue that smiles upon left-handed hitters, Cano has pulled all 15 of his home runs this season. That pull-happy tendency might serve the second baseman well on Monday night: Chase Field gives lefty power hitters a 14 percent boost compared to a neutral park, according to StatCorner.

HR pitch location: Cano likes the ball on the inside third of the plate, particularly low-and-inside pitches that he can golf into the cheap seats:

Eight of Cano's homers have come on pitches thrown inside.

Pitch type breakdown: Six of Cano's round-trippers have come on sliders, four on fastballs/sinkers, two apiece on changeups and sinkers and one on a curveball.

Adrian Gonzalez

Where he hits 'em: In contrast to Bautista and Cano, Gonzalez is an all-fields slugger. Seven of his home runs have gone to the pull side, with two going to center field and eight the opposite way.

HR pitch location: As you might expect given his opposite-field slugging, Gonzalez does most of his damage on pitches on the outside corner:

Nine of Gonzalez's home runs have come on pitches located on the outside third.

Pitch type breakdown: Eleven of his homers have come on fastballs/sinkers, with four coming on changeups and one apiece on a slider and a cutter.

David Ortiz

Where he hits 'em: Papi has pulled 12 of his home runs in 2011. He has three blasts to center, and four to the opposite field.

HR pitch location: Ortiz has taken advantage of pitchers who have left the ball over the fat part of the plate:

Ten of his home runs have been on pitches thrown over the middle of the plate.

Pitch type breakdown: Ortiz is making much more contact on fastballs this season, and it's loud contact, too. Fifteen of Ortiz's homers have come on fastballs/sinkers, two on changeups and one apiece on a slider and a cutter.

Tuesday
Jul052011

Bautista Dangerous On Outer Third, Too

Jose Bautista has continued his transformation from Rule V wanderer and bench bat to baseball's pre-eminent slugger in 2011, posting a .329/.467/.679 line that looks like something out of Ted Williams' prime. "Joey Bats" remains a prodigious pull hitter who makes opponents pay when they bust him inside. But he has bested his 2010 production by adjusting to pitchers' tendency to throw him stuff on the outside corner of the plate.

Last year, Bautista blasted pitches located inside and down the middle of the plate. He was mortal, though still well above-average, on pitches thrown on the outside corner:

Bautista in 2010

Inside pitches: .667 slugging percentage (.414 league average)

Middle pitches: .772 SLG% (.475 league average)

Outside pitches: .451 SLG% (.331 league average)

In 2011, opponents have seemingly tried to hit that outside corner more often. Slightly over fifty-four percent of the pitches that Bautista has seen this season have been thrown outside, compared to 51 percent in 2010 and the 48 percent league average.

Bautista is still creaming pitches thrown inside (.685 SLG%, .399 league average) and down the middle (.790 SLG%, .465 league average). But he's also doing far more damage when pitchers throw him something on the outside third:

 Bautista's in-play slugging percentage on pitches thrown on outer third in 2010

 Bautista's in-play slugging percentage on pitches thrown on outer third in 2011

Bautista is slugging .603 on outside pitches in 2011, while the big league average is just .327. Jason Giambi and Laynce Nix are the only batters who have outslugged Bautista on outside offerings.

Inside, middle, outside -- it hasn't mattered this season. Pitchers are getting whacked when Joey Bats pulls the trigger.

Thursday
Jun162011

Jose Bautista's June Swoon

The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista has not had too many bad months over the last couple of seasons, but he's scuffling this month. As reported by Mark Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, Jays manager John Farrell was asked if he thinks it’s a sign of frustration over the fact that he often gets pitched around?

“No, I wouldn’t say it’s from frustration,” Farrell said. “The one thing that Jose is very clear on is that when he’s gotten loaded with the proper swing mechanics it allows him to get ready earlier, which enables him to see the ball earlier in the flight to home plate. When he’s a little bit late, he doesn’t have the same clarity and I think that’s why we’re seeing some of the swings that you’re referring to.”

When you take a look at his overall swing rate this month, you can see he's swinging at pitches all over the zone:

Bautista is hitting .214 this monthBut it is against righties that Bautista is really reaching to the outer portion of the plate and not producing well:

Bautista is only hitting .129 versus righties this monthin 24 at bats against righties this month, Bautista only has four singles and no extra-base hits. For the season, Bautista is 53-for-163 against righties for a .325 avaerage and 16 homers.

 

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