Franklin Gutierrez’s Patience

View Franklin Gutierrez’s player page and the offensive numbers will be overshadowed by gaudy UZR and DRS totals that cement his place as one of the finest flycatchers in the game. Not until one downright inspects Gutierrez’s production with the bat does the best kept secret about his game become transparent.

You see, Gutierrez just doesn’t swing that often. To date, he’s actually swinging the bat fewer times – roughly 39% of the time – than ever before. When it comes to swinging on the first pitch, Gutierrez actually is the least aggressive hitter in baseball, tied with David Eckstein. Unlike Eckstein and the usual suspects of the slap-hitting mafia (Brett Gardner and Luis Castillo included), Gutierrez hits for power, which makes him more like Bobby Abreu and Kevin Youkilis, only with more patience:

With that said, mentioning Gutierrez’s career high walk rate is a given. Last year, his first in Seattle, Gutierrez managed to increase his walks while keeping his strikeouts static. That hasn’t been the case this season, with his strikeout rate swelling to over a quarter of his at-bats, but the increase in walks outweighs the shift in punch outs.

In 2008, Gutierrez went the entire month of June with a single walk. Thus far in May 2010, he’s recorded as many walks (15) as hits. Expecting Gutierrez to keep up such a torrid pace of free passes is unreasonable, just as trying to assign how much of this newfound appreciation for the walk can be attributed to a weak supporting cast and how much credit belongs to Gutierrez and his devices.

One thing is for sure: though Gutierrez may be the master of creating outs on defense, he’s anything but at the dish.



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Hoeler
Member
Hoeler
6 years 4 months ago

I’m sure if he had anyone competent hitting behind him, pitchers would probably throw strikes to him more, and lower that walk rate. His patience is the class of baseball regardless. It’s nice to see a talented hitter not swinging out of the zone for a prayer of a hit, and take the sure thing walk.

David Evans
Guest
David Evans
6 years 4 months ago

Franklin Gutierrez’s glove: where triples go to die. Great article R.J.

Tom Doherty
Guest
Tom Doherty
6 years 4 months ago

I have loved Franklin Gutierrez’s game for a long time. His fielding is simply incredible and his offense isn’t too shabby either. I think he is one of the more underrated players in the game. Very interesting article. I had no idea he was so patient. I’d love to have him on my team.

Circlechange11
Guest
Circlechange11
6 years 4 months ago

Guri should have the same nick that we gave our CF … “The Flystrip” … He catches all the flies that enter his area.

I do really like his willingness to walk. Seems like the kind of thing that people wish BJ Upton and Jose Reyes would learn. I don’t know Guti’s nationality … But I’d guess Colombian, Venezuelan and not Dominican or Puerto Rican, if I can be excused for generalizations.

delv
Guest
delv
6 years 4 months ago

WTF?

I’m going to ignore (though not excuse) the majority of your comment and instead simply remind you that Upton’s career BB% is a stellar 11.2 %.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 4 months ago

Gosh, it’s the internet man. Take some time to look stuff up. B.J. Upton is from Virginia. Like his father. And he’s posting a very decent walk percentage, both this and for his career.

Circlechange11
Guest
Circlechange11
6 years 4 months ago

Thanks. I didn’t realize that.

The rest of my commentary is based on 2 things: The different style of ball played in the DR (lots of swings, action, etc) and players drafted/signed from those areas aren’t usually inked for plate patience. I don’t think it’s fair or right, just seems to be the way it is.

Anyway, for some reason I was thinking Upton had been ripped for not getting on base enough, and trying to be a power hitter. It’s possible I am thinking of the wrong guy, but there’s only one BJ Upton … And fans never seem to be happy with what he’s doing.

JC
Guest
JC
6 years 4 months ago

“The different style of ball played in the DR (lots of swings, action, etc) and players drafted/signed from those areas aren’t usually inked for plate patience. I don’t think it’s fair or right, just seems to be the way it is.

Seems from past comments of yours you’re a Cardinals fan. I would pay $1 or $2 to see you make this exact comment to Pujols’ face. You deserve a kick in the nuts for these ignorant comments.

don
Guest
don
6 years 4 months ago

Pujols wasn’t signed out of the Dominican Republic. He played high school and college ball in the US.

I believe the common logic behind Circlechange’s comments is that if you’re looking for baseball as a ticket out you’re more likely to impress scouts who might not see much of you with a big home run than by working a walk. So, might as well swing away. It’s related to economics and scouting, not race. That said, I have no idea if there’s actually any truth to it.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 4 months ago

Pujols was a very good hitter, even in JuCo. At a coaches conference I heard a coach talking about him and affectionately referred to him as “the fat shortstop that hit like no one you’ve ever seen”.

Pujols developed as a player in high school and college in the US.

He was overlooked by many as a prospect due to him not having the body generally associatd with a SS, and him not having a “true position”. His being overweight caused scouts to question his work ethic and what position he could play at the pro level.

Even in StL he played 3B, then LF, and eventually 1B. His minor league stats seemed to indicate a very good hitter.

I am not making comments about a person’s character based on their skin. I am making generalizations about a player’s tendencies based upon where they learned the game. Different countries play different styles of baseball … which w see of the DR, US, Japan, Korea, etc.

Jack
Guest
Jack
6 years 4 months ago

Jose Lopez is Venezuelan just like Franklin Gutierrez. Yet he shows absolutely no patience at the plate. Career 3.7% BB rate.

Circlechange11
Guest
Circlechange11
6 years 4 months ago

I’ll take my well deserved lumps on Upton, and leave it at that. I was touching on a scenario that bothers me a bit, but that opp is long gone due to my incorrect info on Upton. No biggie.

Jay
Guest
Jay
6 years 4 months ago

What’s it like being racist?

Joe D
Guest
Joe D
6 years 4 months ago

What’s it like being a hypocrite?

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 4 months ago

Racism involves making assumptions of someone’s intelligence, character, value, etc based on their race.

In this specific situation I am making generalizations of a players tendencies and style based upon where they learned the game or developed a a player.

As someone else pointed out, players are signed out of the DR on their athleticism (in general) and not necessarily their skills. I do have some issues with how we, as fans and media, view player behavior and emotions when those players come from different cultures, where different type of behaviors are viewed differently.

But, in this specific instance, I am saying that in general players that develop in the DR have very aggressive plate approaches due to that being the favored style of play in that area and/or the types of things scouts ar looking for in those players.

Nothing more, nothing less.

As for where Upton learned to play the game. That was just a complete error in my memory. I should have known better since when teaching my oldest son to hit, we actually viewed a lot of footage from Justin Upton’s high school games, which are in the US. Brain fart, on my part, and I’m willing to take my lumps.

If I deserve criticism for viewing DR players as having a predominant style of play, then I am willing to accept that. It was my perception based upon my relationships in life, as well as, through baseball that this was generally understood to be a generally accepted scenario.

Terminator X
Guest
Terminator X
6 years 4 months ago

Don’t sweat it Circlechange, I’m with you. Some people are just hardwired to jump to PC claims of racism every time race is mentioned, but those of us capable of actual critical thinking aren’t offended. You may be right or you may be wrong, I don’t know, but you’re not racist.

Omar
Guest
Omar
6 years 4 months ago

Woah…lets wait a bit before we put Franlkin Gutierrez in the Youkilis/Abreu category.

Dee
Guest
Dee
6 years 4 months ago

I know, right? Guti’s totally not in the same “category” as those guys.

Franklin Gutierrez, 2009: 6.1 WAR
Kevin Youkilis, 2009: 5.9 WAR
Bobby Abreu, 2009: 2.8 WAR

walklightwhite
Member
walklightwhite
6 years 4 months ago

Well, he fits the same category as Bobby this year. But, comparing him to Youkilis is like comparing him to Eckstein. Youk has a 289 ISO compared to Guti’s 138. He’s as similar to Youk as he is to Eckstein or Castillo. Exchanging Youk’s name for, say, Prado and it’s no longer a ridiculous comparison.

And WAR has nothing to do with this particular discussion, as it’s entirely focused on their respective styles/strengths at the plate.

Bill
Guest
Bill
6 years 4 months ago

They are talking about hitting alone, so WAR isn’t the best comparison.

TJ
Guest
TJ
6 years 4 months ago

It is weird to see a list of guys who don’t swing at the first pitch without JJ Hardy’s name on it. Oh, injuries…

neuter_your_dogma
Guest
neuter_your_dogma
6 years 4 months ago

I am mildly surprised Utley didn’t make it onto the list. Sometimes perception and fact aren’t the same.

NattyHammy
Guest
NattyHammy
6 years 4 months ago

I love how people use WAR as the above all end all argument for value of a ball player.

I had this argument with a guy who believed that Gutz was more valuable of a player last year than Josh Hamilton was in 2008. It’s absurd.

Paul
Guest
Paul
6 years 4 months ago

I hope R.J. Anderson’s nickname around FG is “Hitman”, because even when he writes a completely benign article somehow the comments section turns into a nasty, name-calling free-for-all. Can we please talk about the Arizona immigration law again? If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d think CircleChange was actually DA and “Jay” is Cameron. Move on folks, nothing to see here.

Circlechange11
Guest
Circlechange11
6 years 4 months ago

Ozzie Guillen is another Venezuelan that lacked plate patience. That why I said generalization and not fact. Fact does not allow for exceptions.

neuter_your_dogma
Guest
neuter_your_dogma
6 years 21 days ago

WTH happened to this guy?

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