I think trying to go the other way is more about going with the pitch. If you try to pull an outside pitch, you likely won’t have as much success as if you go oppo with that pitch. It’s the same with inside pitches (in reverse). Are there any stats on pulling inside vs. outside pitches?
Comment by Cooperstown2009 — August 10, 2012 @ 3:35 pm
Knee jerk, armchair answer to the question why the league is doing better hitting to the opposite field this season: increased use of the defensive shift.
I’m surprised it has taken this long to get a post about Lee Judge on FanGraphs. Polk Points….wow. I am also suprised that this many words were written about Francoeur without mentioning that he currently has -1.3 fWAR. Only Michael Young has a worse fWAR.
I would like to point out that on his Polk Point system, RBIs are worth 3 points. Home runs are worth 4 points.
The best hitters always seem to be the ones who aim to square up the ball. Balls away square up away and balls inside square up inside. That’s the theory anyway. A good way to prove it would be to check and see if batting averages inside and outside match the numbers in this post.
you should look at data for offensive value on even or favorable counts. i’m guessing most hitters are looking to jump all over the first pitch and pull it into the bleachers rather than trying to smack an oppo-gapper.
opposite field hitting comes mostly when hitters are down in the count and have to protect and react. it’s more about surviavl as opposed to pulling the ball which is a hitter trying to thrive.
I agree with your idea that going to the opposite field may be a useful approach, and that the effects of that approach may not be apparent when simply looking at the outcomes of batted balls hit to the opposite field vs. pull field. Going to the opposite field as an approach could aid the hitter by causing him to wait more, rather than lunging, by having him step into the ball, rather than pulling off to the pull side, by helping the batter to make contact on tough outside pitches and force pitchers to come in, and by making a higher percentage of balls hit to the opposite field balls that are driven, as opposed to hit late or fought off.
Do the different approaches have anything to do with results from the other 236 PAs this year?
The theory is that to attempt to pull requires starting the swing sooner, which makes it vulnerable to off-speed and breaking pitches, leading to whiffs and weak grounders on outside pitches. Concentrating on opposite field allows a later start to the swing and more time to see where the ball is going. That’s an approach that not only Frenchy tries to use, but Alex Gordon has used successfully the last two seasons, as does Billy Butler and apparently Sal Perez, judging by his opposite field homers.
Always appreciate the links and the snark from you folks. Thanks.
Comment by jim fetterolf — August 11, 2012 @ 12:26 pm
We always appreciate you trolling in support of Judge as well. Long live amateur subjective analysis.
Spot on. It’s not really about “going to the opposite field” as a result but “going to the opposite field” as a mental approach. If he is not trying to pull every ball, he could then make more contacts, or more solid contact in this case. Solid contact might just help him raise his BABIP and consequently overall batting results.
Where do you get the statistical information necessary to analyze, let alone franceour’s career, but major league baseball’s distribution of balls pulled vs balls taken to the opposite since 2006? Information like this could be useful.
Agree, Coop. Try to pull outside pitches, you’ll get in trouble.
Comment by lester bangs — August 12, 2012 @ 12:08 pm
Pretty mocking tone of someone else’s work. I hope you don’t mind when someone else does that to you.
Comment by lester bangs — August 12, 2012 @ 12:10 pm
And geesh, a typo in sentence one?
Comment by lester bangs — August 12, 2012 @ 12:11 pm
I would like to see this same analysis split by pitch location between inside and outside of the plate, as it seems that Seitzer’s coaching has been taken a little out of context. I would be amazed if he or any any hitting coach in the game is telling their hitters to take inside pitches to the opposite field.
A really tough subject to tackle, with too many variables to walk away confidently refuting Judge’s claim. But the point still goes to FanGraphs for making an effort to back up theory with facts, in the face of Judge’s brilliant formula: “temporarily relevant quote from coach + one good night = future success.”