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  1. well said.

    Comment by jcxy — June 26, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  2. Maybe he needs new batting gloves too. A lot of bats going into the crowd lately. It makes me think he might have a hand injury and he is not able to grip the bat right, also affecting performance. Who knows???

    Comment by Atari — June 26, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  3. He’s had a long history of hurling bats into the stands.

    Comment by Andrew — June 26, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

  4. Great article. This is why I love fangraphs, I’m too casual a fan to figure this stuff out myself but I am still really interested in it. Fangraphs really puts out nice succint articles that quantitatively and qualitatively explain the mechanics of baseball and are great reads, although if you’re here I’m sure you already knew that.

    Comment by jl — June 26, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  5. Nice companion piece along with the first article, when he was still lighting it up.

    Comment by Wobatus — June 26, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  6. Agreed. With the bat speed he has, it’s remarkable that he’s able to hold onto as many bats as he does.

    Comment by Fletch — June 26, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  7. and throwing balls into the stands and getting people hurt (or worse)…

    Comment by josh — June 26, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  8. Dave Cameron; you nailed it on this one. Props on this one.

    Comment by whatever — June 26, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  9. Was this really necessary?

    Comment by Brendan — June 26, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  10. Hard to believe a guy like Hamilton has the highest O-swing% in the MLB.

    Comment by D4P — June 26, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

  11. Those look like the half-hearted swings of an injured player.

    Comment by Calm Like A Bomb — June 26, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  12. This looks a little like Ryan Howard Syndrome.

    Comment by Tom — June 26, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  13. Great article Dave, but could we please not continue with $ X million reasons to change? It was awful when Terrell Owens’ PR person first said it and it’s even worse now. I am curious though, did Vladimir Guerrero have this same approach with similar results, he seemed to swing at everything as well, but had otherworldly contact abilities.

    Comment by Average_Casey — June 26, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  14. “He’s not exactly living in a lineup of feared hitters, so pitchers have every incentive to pitch around Votto”

    But Dave, protection theory is a myth.

    Comment by Beantown — June 26, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  15. I can never find old stories on FG and I’d like to read the month ago piece, how do I do that?

    Comment by monkey business — June 26, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

  16. It’s linked in the first sentence.

    Comment by Justin — June 26, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  17. Looks like his O-Swing% has steadily climbed the past few years:

    2008: 34.7%
    2009: 36.0%
    2010: 37.3%
    2011: 41.0%
    2012: 46.2%

    He might regress somewhat, but it shouldn’t be a surprise if he ends the season at 43%+

    This could benefit the Rangers, I guess, if it were to scare away potential suitors that may otherwise have offered him an 8+ year deal.

    Comment by E.B. — June 26, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

  18. article on ESPN right now: http://espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/story/_/id/8095499/texas-rangers-josh-hamilton-trying-quit-dipping-end-slump

    “Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is trying to stop two habits right now: swinging at breaking pitches way out of the strike zone and chewing tobacco…. Hamilton met with manager Ron Washington over the weekend. The skipper is preaching that Hamilton find patience at the plate. He’s been swinging at pitches well out of the strike zone and had seven strikeouts in two games against Colorado Rockies on Friday and Saturday.”

    Comment by batpig — June 26, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  19. Where did you get the plate discipline splits by month?

    Comment by WWMcClyde — June 26, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

  20. In general, you can type in keywords in the search box on the home page. Not the Player Search at the top left, but below the FanGraphs Audio box, there’s a search box. I typed in “Josh Hamilton approach” and it was right there (along with this piece). If you just typed in “Josh Hamilton” you might need to go through a few more pieces to find it, but it’d be there.

    Comment by Ben Hall — June 26, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  21. Great job, Dave. Really enjoyed this.

    Comment by Ajay — June 26, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

  22. Maybe he’s drunk.

    Nobody should be sensitive about that, he’s rich. There are millions of alcoholics who can’t afford the help he can.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 26, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  23. I think I speak for all Rangers fans when I say thank you for this Dave!

    And Hamilton is a joke at the plate right now. He doesn’t even look like he is trying. And he smiles when he strikes out on three pitches, none of which were even close to the zone. Thats whats most frustrating.

    Well, that and the bat throwing. Someone is going to get hurt. He threw THREE last night. If I was the home plate umpire, and he threw three bats in a game, I would eject him on the spot. Adrian Beltre almost go decapitated in the on deck circle about a week ago and he has been taking his practice swings in the dugout ever since.

    Comment by Jeff Mathis does Steroids — June 26, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  24. Wouldn’t it be better to show a chart with the location of all pitches thrown to Hamilton, not just the ones he swung at? I doubt it’s the case, but pitchers could still be throwing him middle in and if he just didn’t swing at them for some reason, it wouldn’t show up in the first chart, right?

    Comment by Fangraphs Rookie — June 26, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

  25. I’ll second this question

    Comment by Feeding the Abscess — June 26, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  26. It’s not the case.

    I didn’t want the chart to be too cluttered. This one made the point more obvious.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — June 26, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

  27. The leaderboards. Just use the custom player list feature to pick out whichever player you want to look at, and then wham, you have the full access to all split data just like you would with multiple players.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — June 26, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

  28. I don’t think it’s a myth. It’s certainly misused and not something significant for all plate appearances. Some managers still love the “optimal” match up, and for as long as they structure rosters in preparation and make game time decisions to achieve this, I’d be shocked to find that they don’t take the indirect route of “pitching around a hitter” in certain situations to get to the more favored match up.

    Comment by baty — June 26, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  29. Ahem, #PabloSandoval suffers from the same abilities. It’s a blessing and a curse. If you want to add value as a hitter, swing at strikes or at least pitches you can drive. Looks like Hamilton is having a little trouble with that right now..

    Comment by fergie348 — June 26, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

  30. I had been waiting for this article, Hamilton has been in a brutal slump since his monster week involving the 4-homer game. Teams started pitching him drastically different at that point and it seems to have gotten in his head a little, though his physical tools look temporarily diminished at the moment. He told someone he started the season at 244 and has since dropped to 218 after his recent flu. That can’t help his bat speed any.

    Even the Rangers’ own announcers last night said Josh is missing fastballs now he was crushing in the first two months. Any lefty with a decent slider is just fooling him, while RHPs are throwing him changeup after changeup.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — June 26, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  31. Well said jl. Couldn’t have said it better.
    Keep up the great work Fangraphs.

    Comment by ducat2 — June 26, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

  32. -6 already? Do any of you know him personally? We ALL know alcoholics. Bunch of sissies. The guy above makes a little joke about throwing balls into the stands and gets crucified for that too. They are jokes in the comments section of a website probably read by less than 1/1000th of the English speaking world population. How is it that people are that sensitive about people they don’t even know? If I had (or the other guy) had made a joke about a Kardashian, it’d be all positive.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 26, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  33. Thanks!

    Comment by Fangraphs Rookie — June 26, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  34. Brace for impact…

    Kardashians are not people.

    (Waiting for negative votes)

    Comment by LTG — June 26, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  35. Getting downvoted = “getting crucified”

    But yeah, we’re all too sensitive.

    Comment by NS — June 26, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  36. On the input side, it’s actually quite real. Pitchers pitch to the same batters differently when they are protected. What’s missing is evidence these differences change outcomes significantly.

    Comment by NS — June 26, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

  37. that votto graph is remarkable. what happened on that pitch at his head though? haha.

    Comment by radicalhenri — June 27, 2012 @ 12:09 am

  38. One has to ask: PEDS?

    Comment by Andre — June 27, 2012 @ 12:41 am

  39. Yeah, the downvote = crucification part was good. But my favorite line is that fangraphs is probablyread by less than 1/1000th of the English speaking world population.”. Probably? This guy does realize that between 1/4 and 1/3 of the world population can speak and understand English to some degree, right? Even if it was visted by exactly 1/1000 of everyone in the world that speaks English (to some degree), that would still be a couple million people visiting this site. Easily a big enough sample size to find 22 people that have legit personal reasons to down vote it in an 11 hour span.

    Comment by Jeff Mathis does Steroids — June 27, 2012 @ 1:53 am

  40. Juiced or not, when Bonds started crushing everything, he didn’t get any strikes thrown to him either. He seemed to complain, but drew 200+ walks one year. Maybe Hamilton just needs the coaching staff to tell him to take the walks?

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — June 27, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  41. No really…one doesn’t. PEDs (or lack thereof) don’t make you flail wildly at pitches out of the strike zone. Moving on…

    Comment by Jason B — June 27, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  42. I bet it was a case where he dodged back out of the way violently and the nob of his bat handle hit the ball, even though he didn’t mean it to and was just jumping back. That’s a foul ball and counts as a swing. I’ve seen it happen a few times on really up and in pitches that the batter just panics and dodges however they can.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — June 27, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  43. hyperbole on the crucified part. Pretty obvious I thought. Unless you take everything literally.

    My point about the number of people reading this was just to show that it’s not a big deal. Posts on here aren’t making the news.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 27, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

  44. as with any well paid, superstar, the question is, Will he listen to the coaching staff? Serious, the “amateur” analysts cought this flaw in his approach and got an article out today. How long did you think it took the Rangers coaches to catch it and get it out to Hamilton? Has he listened? Has his approach changed? Have the results changed? nope. Have the pitchers changed since they adopted this style of approach to him? Nope, why should they?

    Comment by Cidron — June 28, 2012 @ 1:42 am

  45. Sounding like a sell-high candidate to me, better add him to my trading block.

    Great article.

    Comment by Swfcdan — June 28, 2012 @ 7:04 am

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