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:
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.
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