FG on Fox: Mike Trout and a League-Wide Trend

Note: this was originally published last Friday. Just not here! Whoopsadoodle!

If you’ve watched an Angels game lately, you’ve probably seen it. If you’ve just read about the Angels lately, you’ve probably heard about it. Every hitter in baseball has his own relative hot zones and relative cold zones, but Mike Trout‘s been running a particularly interesting heat map.

It looks something like this:

troutheat

The general message being sent: Mike Trout has been absolutely killing pitches down in and beyond the zone. Yet, he’s been struggling against pitches up. You can see it in color form, as above, or you can see it in numerical form. Against pitches in the lower third of the strike zone this year, Trout’s slugged a spectacular .875. Against pitches in the upper third of the strike zone this year, Trout’s slugged a feeble .211. The former is among the best in the league. The latter’s among the very worst.

Everyone’s picked up on it by now. Trout, I’m sure, knows what’s going on. This is information that’s been noted repeatedly on ESPN and the MLB Network. Based on this, it seems like Trout shouldn’t actually be all that difficult to put away. But, yeah. He’s probably on course to win the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. And despite what the numbers say, Trout’s seen more low pitches than high pitches. To this point, 11 percent of his pitches have been in that upper third. And 14 percent have been in the bottom third. It seems odd, but Trout is just an extreme example of a league-wide trend.

Read the rest on Just A Bit Outside.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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LHPSU
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LHPSU

The thing is, the only pitch that’s really effective up in the zone is a fastball with good velocity and hopefully movement. While a good high fastball might get a swing & miss or an easy pop fly, a slow pitch up there has a much higher chance of getting crushed.

The trend on having pitchers elevate their fastballs might simply reflect the trend that pitchers today are throwing harder than ever, which means that more pitchers can be effective up in the zone.

Brian L
Guest
Brian L

Or somewhat the opposite, that pitchers are throwing more offspeed stuff than before, and clearly trying to keep those pitches down in the zone. Or both – more low breaking pitches/changeups along with fewer but faster and higher fastballs.

Either way it all seems very interconnected.

Pail
Guest
Pail

Chris Young has done well with his fastball up in the zone despite it’s lack of good velocity and movement. Perhaps pitchers just don’t understand how effective up and in can be with even mediocre velocity.

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