FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. That’s all fine and good, but these numbers outside the context of standard degrees of randomness for any player betray little significance, though conveniently an enormous facility for explanation.

    Comment by Rufio Magillicutty — March 20, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  2. This is tantalizing analysis. However we don’t know (from the data presented here) how much of the increase in wOBA/swing we should attribute to BABIP “luck”, vs. BABIP “skill”. [I am assuming that none of the wOBA/swing change is attributable to a meaningful change in “power” in any zone, as his overall ISO didn’t change, and therefore an increase in ISO in any zone would show up as a decrease in another, but overall only two zones showed a decrease in wOBA and neither was significant.]

    I think we may need to see another half season or more of Gonzalez in Fenway to decide if he is able to take advantage of the park’s dimensions to sustainably improve his BABIP – it is certainly within the realm of possibility, if not probability.

    Comment by mcbrown — March 20, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  3. Big money, more pressure to perform. A.G. is a great team player and is willing to do anything it takes for his team to win.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — March 20, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  4. Nice work Bill. One question: do you have these data broken down by road/home? In watching him last year he seemed to really enjoy taking those up/away outside pitches and peppering them off the green monster. Things that would have been lazy flyballs in Petco were often doubles in Fenway.

    Comment by Jason Roberts — March 20, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  5. Thanks Joe

    Comment by Big Baby — March 20, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  6. “or the first part of this series, I’m only focusing on his overall performance. In the second part, I’ll take a deeper look and mine his home-road splits.”

    Comment by Dan — March 20, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  7. All we really know is that a .380 babip is utterly unsustainable, and if he doesn’t start hitting for power and walking more his value is going to fall well short of what everyone expects.

    Comment by Slartibartfast — March 20, 2012 @ 3:18 pm

  8. I’m a Sox fan concerned about AG’s long-term abilities, although if he hits enough doubles off the wall his BABIP may be more sustainable that it looks. Meanwhile, this is a very intelligent hitter who’s unusually articulate about it; I have to suspect that his presence contributed to outstanding years from two fellow lefties, Ortiz and Ellsbury.

    Comment by Mr Punch — March 20, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  9. ok, but how did his OPSBIs change?

    Comment by jim — March 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  10. Looks like Adrian Gonzalez adjusted his plate approach to Fenway. Impossible to hit bombs over the garage door, easy to flick the bat and get wall-ball doubles. I would say he has the sweetest swing of any batter currently lacing them up.

    Comment by North Sider — March 20, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

  11. Mr. Boggs’ 4 year peak (.378 BABIP) would beg to differ. His 7 year peak (.368) has some choice words as well.

    [And no, I’m not saying AG is the next Boggs. I expect his BABIP to decline. But at this point we cannot yet rule out the possibility that he is a hitter who can turn Fenway to his advantage and sustain a much higher than “normal” BABIP. There is enough anecdotal support of AG’s particular skills that I give this possibility more likelihood than if it were, say, Jason Varitek who posted a 0.380 BABIP last season. Another full season should let us know one way or the other.]

    Comment by mcbrown — March 20, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  12. The Walk rate is quite easy to understand. He was swinging at more pitches and being more aggresive due to hitting behind Ellsbury and Pedroia who were on base many, many times when he came to the plate. This would explain him swinging at more pitches outside the zone. Secondly due to better hitters hitting behind him he got pitched around less. In San Diego he batted in the middle of nowhere land. In Boston he was raking in the middle of the best top 5 slots in the majors.

    Comment by Shane — March 20, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

  13. I thought I read somewhere that he was forced to change his approach due to a bum shoulder. Wasn’t able to drive the ball out of the park as often.

    Comment by Madoff Withurmoni — March 20, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

  14. At the end of the 1st half Adrian admitted that Fenway played a big part of his improved performance. How could it not given the high percentage of balls he sends the other way.
    \
    That said, Adrian wa not quite the same hitter in the 2nd half. Most of his improved performance came in the first half. He had a relatively poor 2nd half which same say is due to problems with his shoulder after the HR Derby.

    It would be interesting to see if there was any change in approach in the 2nd half as AL pitchers adjusted to Adran.

    Comment by pft — March 21, 2012 @ 12:19 am

  15. Or perhaps he was swinging at more pitches with the Red Sox due to the increased liklihood of them falling for hits. For instance, at Petco those down and in pitches are just asking for a routine flyball to right-center where the ball goes to die. With his new home he had much more incentive to hack at those pitches versus waiting for something he could drive to left.

    I love it how a guy can hit .338 and fans will come out voicing concerns on his long-term ability. Blind to the rose on the nose.

    Comment by Amish_Willy — March 21, 2012 @ 1:22 am

  16. We always assume a drive off an outfield wall is a sure thing double, but for a wall as close as the green monster and a runner as slow as Gonzalez, is that the case?

    I ask because not surprisingly he hit more homeruns away then at home (17 to 10), but also more doubles (26 vs 19). He was really damn slow when he was 25, can only imagine what he’ll be like when he’s 35.

    His Home/Road ISO splits in 2011 are interesting:
    Home – .169
    Road – . 250

    Comment by Amish_Willy — March 21, 2012 @ 1:31 am

  17. “Overall, Gonzalez put up a .406 wOBA in 2011, versus a .378 with the Padres in 2010.”

    Don’t we need to park adjust those numbers before we speculate on why he has hit better in 2011? Maybe he has not hit much better after all.

    The wOBA PF for Petco is .92. So to park adjust his .378 wOBA, we can take a shortcut and divide by .96. .378/.964 is .394. That is his park adjusted wOBA in 2010.

    The wOBA PF for Fenway is 1.03. .406/.1015 is .400. That is his park adjusted wOBA in 2011.

    So now, the difference is only 6 points in wOBA, not a whole lot to get excited about.

    We should be using PF’s for LHB though. Let’s see.

    Actually, the PF’s for LHB in both of those parks are slightly reduced. So, instead of .92 and 1.03, we have .93 and 1.02. That would make their park adjusted wOBAs for 2010 and 2011 .392 and .402, a 10 point difference, still less than the non-park adjusted 28 points.

    I have little doubt that he has adjusted his swing more than the average LHB in Fenway, or that his natural swing is suited for that park. Surely a LHB who goes the other way is going to benefit from Fenway more than the average LHB.

    Comment by MGL — March 21, 2012 @ 5:01 am

  18. A-gon is definitely slow, but on FB off the wall he is fast enough to get a double. LD off the wall are a different story.

    12 of his doubles and 7 HR came at home in the 1st half, only 7 doubles and 3 HR at home after the ASB ( I counted from the game logs so hopefully I counted right).

    Comment by pft — March 21, 2012 @ 7:28 am

  19. I’ll be looking at Park Factors in Part II. I think they might explain some of the production, but not the overall change in approach, obviously. Also, I think it’s more than just the change in home environment in terms of his outcomes.

    Comment by Bill Petti — March 21, 2012 @ 7:52 am

  20. Part II my friend :)

    Comment by Bill Petti — March 21, 2012 @ 7:53 am

  21. He did mention on the ESPN Fantasy Focus podcast that he did have to change his approach due to a torn labrum in his non- throwing shoulder. I believe he said that he couldn’t finish in the same way he wanted too. I don’t know how it will change the data, but he did get it repaired in the off season.

    Comment by KerryHofmeister — March 21, 2012 @ 10:26 am

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