FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. I was really sad to see Young go in the Javy trade. I am absolutely shocked that he isn’t one of the top CF in baseball by now.

    Comment by Matt — August 11, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  2. He’s still only 25, though, whatever’s wrong with him is still something the D-backs can take the time to figure out.

    His Fastball swing rate looks constantly to be 15-20% higher than the average MLB’er above the zone. That, combined with not being very good at hitting high heat, is killing him.

    It looks obvious to me that he needs work hitting high pitches, or at least forcing pitchers to locate those high fastballs better by not offering.

    Comment by Joe R — August 11, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  3. Wow, Dave, that graph is nothing sort of phenomenal. Easy to read, yet vastly informative. But shouldn’t the axes be flipped? We’re looking at swing rate as a function of pitch height. It makes more sense if normalized pitch height is on the x-axis.

    Comment by Dan — August 11, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

  4. Yeah, pitch height is the dependent variable which is almost always on the x-axis. I thought because we usually think of height going up-and-down it would be easier to think about it on the y-axis. A matter of preference, but if most people don’t like it like that I will flip it if I ever do a pitch height comparison in the future.

    I did it this same way in yesterday’s article about Josh Johnson’s pitch height.

    Comment by Dave Allen — August 11, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

  5. I do agree with Dan on this. I guess it depends if you’re a math brain that prefers the independent – dependent variable look or the more right brained type that prefers it this way.

    No big deal, though, it’s good stuff.

    Comment by Joe R — August 11, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  6. Once again Dave, you’ve presented some great information with an even better visualization. Top notch stuff. I may need to make a ‘praise Dave Allen’ macro pretty soon.

    Comment by marc w. — August 11, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

  7. I can provide a bit of the swing analysis, I played professionally for a couple of years and am a college coach. In watching an at-bat on you-tube, I see a few things. ( First of all, a lot of major leaguers do things with their swing that you would not teach a “normal,” player, mostly because I would say they are freaks with their talent, and can get away with somethings. However, even if they start odd (youkilis), they all for the most part end up at the same point at contact. When you look at Young however, he starts his hands very high. That is fine, but they need to come down into the zone at a better angle, closer to 45 degrees. Youngs hands, from what I can see, do not get lower soon enough, so he attacks the ball at a much steeper angle. Physically speaking, you would then assume that because of a higher angle towards contact, he would hit more chopping ground balls. But if you look at his balance after his swing, and focus on his head in particular, this is where the problems occur. Your head is the heaviest part of your body, and when your head falls over the strike zone, the rest of your body will follow. Therefore, his hands are not attacked the ball, and his bat head is dropping, all due to his balance and head movement. You can do this little experiment. Get in your stance, facing the pitcher. Tilt your head to the side, so that you are looking at the pitcher slanted, and have your hands follow your head. When you start your swing, what happens is that your front elbow will get higher, and you will then lead your swing with that elbow, the knob of the bat will go up, and your bat head will drop, creating a weak uppercut. The fact that young swings at such high pitches, it is physically impossible for him to hit those with authority with his swing because his bat path is so out of whack. The lazy infield flies always occur with players are doing this, because they just knick the high pitch from underneath. I would venture to say that he hits the low pitch better, just because that is how is swing is designed. A lot of players with uppercuts can thrive (Dunn, tex) because of pitch selection. Those players love the low pitch, because they can drop their hands, and let the bat path take care of the rest. Young, seems to not know that his swing type does not match his pitch selection. Hopefully this makes some sense.

    Comment by Jonas F. — August 11, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

  8. Young has a $28 million contract, I believe, over the next four or five years, so the D-Backs have to stick with him.

    Once again, though, I tip my hat to Kenny Williams. He traded Young at the peak of his value, got good value in return in Javier Vazquez, and then traded Vazquez for a stud prospect in Tyler Flowers. Oh, and having Young meant that the D-Backs were willing to trade Carlos Quentin. All in all, this series of deals has been a huge, massive win for KW. It’s deals like this that make up for the Nick Swisher mistake.

    Remember how the Young/Vazquez trade was universally hated online when it was made? KW 1, Universe 0.

    Comment by Stealfirstbase — August 11, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  9. Please Dave, do not stop doing these graphs. They are excellent. Well done.

    Comment by Michael — August 11, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

  10. I think it’s interesting that while his swing rate on fastballs up is much higher than the norm, his O-Swing % and Swing % in general are fairly low. He used to be known for swinging at breaking balls low and away. I wonder if in fixing that problem he’s got himself thinking so much that he can’t pull the trigger on hittable pitches, he’s traded swinging at one type of bad pitch for another.

    Comment by rizzo — August 11, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  11. I like the analysis, but have some disagreement with the popup pct numbers quoted. From my own Gameday database, I do show Young with far and away the hightest popup rate in MLB in 2009, at 23.9%. His previous three years were 11.9, 12.2, 11.3, pretty consistent.

    Next in line in 2009 (with over 300 PAs) are Joe Crede 18.5, Y. Betancourt 15.0, Mike Jacobs 14.4, D. Navarro 14.2, Rod Barajas 13.8 Carlos Pena 13.3. Average is 7.4%. At the bottom are Joe Mauer and Derek Jeter at 1.1%

    Comment by Brian Cartwright — August 11, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  12. Brian,

    I think there are two issues here. First is that I was sloppy in my terminology, the numbers I quote are for infield flies. These are a subset of all pop ups. I should have been consistent writing infield fly the whole time not pop up.

    The other issue is with classification. I used the BIS batted ball classifications, not the Gameday ones. I know they differ. For example the FanGraphs page says that Joel Pineiro has given up 23% FBs (BIS data), while the StatCorner page says he has given up 19% FBs (GameDay data). They are both through 593 batters faced. So the classifications can be quite different.

    It is just another reason why it will be so nice to have the HITf/x data and we can use the vertical angle off the bat instead of the discrete, and at times disagreeing, batted ball classifications.

    Comment by Dave Allen — August 11, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

  13. Phenomenal graph and information!

    Comment by SD — August 11, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  14. Just when I thought the definition of a pop up was something we could all agree on, more so than a line drive!

    Comment by Brian Cartwright — August 11, 2009 @ 8:33 pm

  15. “He is still young. Hopefully, he can get his swing back, and get a promising career back on track.”…Get his swing back? I would argue that he has never had a swing or plate discipline. Young has played three full seasons at the major league level. He his OBP has been .295, .315, .297. Over the past 50 years, there have been a very small percentage of players who have started their careers with OBPs that low while getting that many ABs for three years. A Dave Kingman and a few Ozzie Guillens. None of them would be considered satisfactory in a lineup today. Given the contract, Arizona needs to face the fact that Young is the next Corey Patterson…for the next three or four years.

    Comment by Bob — August 13, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

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