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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Friday
Feb042011

Andy Pettitte Battling

With the retirement of lefty pitcher Andy Pettitte, the Yankees will be down a solid starter for the 2011 season. Pettitte developed a reputation as a "battler", fighting in and out of jams towards the end of his second stint with the Yankees. It's possible this view is simply a matter of selective memory. However, a quick look at some of his numbers suggests he was a better pitcher when he had his back against the wall.

Andy Pettitte 2008-10
PABB%K%Cntct%AVGOBPSLGwOBA
Overall24227.5%18.2%80.3%.268.322.403.326
Men On Base10279.0%17.6%78.4%.281.342.426.350
→ w/ No Outs2465.7%16.7%84.3%.284.305.394.329
RISP56410.3%18.4%77.4%.275.340.418.351
→ w/ No Outs1094.6%8.3%89.5%.341.330.459.377
Loaded537.5%24.5%71.0%.178.245.289.251
→ w/ No Outs60.0%16.7%100.0%.000.000.000.000

Pettitte wasn't doing anything special with runners in scoring position. However, with the bases loaded, his K-rate jumped 6% while managing a greater rate of swings and misses. Since 2008, in the 6 plate appearances in which he faced a bases loaded, no outs situation, Pettitte yielded no hits, no walks, and struck out one batter looking (Kendry Morales on September 10, 2008).

When he had his back to the wall, Andy Pettitte was at his best. The Yankees will surely miss that toughness this year.
Friday
Feb042011

Adjusting to McLouth

Nate McLouth saw a huge falloff in his OBP in 2010.  He came into the season with a .342 career OBP, but finished the year with a poor .298 mark.  The falloff was almost completely due to his hitting; he still walked a decent amount during the season.

What happened?  Note that during the 2008-2009 seasons McLouth showed great plate coverage.  He could knock out hits inside, outside, as well as down the middle:

Nate McLouth in play batting average, 2008-2009

Nate tended to hit well inside, so pitchers worked him away:

 

Nate McLouth, pitch frequency, 2008-2009

In 2010, cold spots appeared in his strike zone:

Nate McLouth, in play batting average, 2010With that, pitchers worked him over the plate more.

Nate McLouth, pitch frequency, 2010That last graph is interesting for another reason.  The software that produces it can show a time lapse image.  When you watch it change over the 2010 season, the distribution starts out very much like the 2008-2009 image above.  As it becomes apparent that Nate has a hole on near the outside edge of the plate, the league brings the pitches in to challenge him there, rather than trying to get him to swing at ball off the outside edge.  The league noticed the problem and adjusted to the batter's weakness, and McLouth did not find a way to adjust back.

Thursday
Feb032011

Home Road Stewart

The Rockies and Ian Stewart agreed on a new contract Thursday, avoiding arbitration.  Ian holds an interesting home/road split.  He hits for more power on the road, but does a much better job of getting on base at Coors Field:

 

Ian Stewart with Rockies
CareerHomeRoad
Batting Average .251 .239
On-Base Percentage .347 .317
Slugging .448 .454

 

Looking at his in play data since 2008, Ian is much more of a line drive hitter at home.  In that time, 27.4% of his balls in play at home get classified as line drives as opposed to just 17.2% at home.  It almost seems that in the big park, where the outfielders tend to play deep and spread out, Ian goes for the sure hit, the line single.  On the road, he lofts the ball more, leading to more doubles and home runs, somewhat making up for the higher number of outs.

I'm often wondered if teams should use home/road platoons like they use left/right platoons.  With Ian, however, it might behoove the Rockies to use him differently in the lineup in different locations.  On the road, where his power is king, Stewart could continue to bat low in the order, around sixth.  At home, however, he might be better used as a number two hitter, helping to set up the power in the middle of the Colorado order.