Josh Reddick Takes Home Runs Over Average

Josh Reddick broke out in 2012 and came in as our 28th ranked outfielder for the season. Not much was expected from him after he was traded to Oakland with their spacious home field. Instead, he surpassed all expectations including hitting 32 HR. The home runs did come with a trade off, a lower batting average.

The biggest key to Reddick’s breakout was his increase power, especially his ability to hit home runs.

Season HR/FB% ISO FB%
2010 5% 0.129 43%
2011 7% 0.177 46%
2012 14% 0.221 50%

As it can be seen, all of the 25-year-old’s power numbers are up each his last 2 seasons. He was even able to put up better numbers at home (18 HR, .237 ISO) than he did on the road (14 HR,.205 ISO). The Oakland Coliseum (HR park factor of 94) did not have the affect on his production that some people predicted (*).

Most of the left-hand hitter’s improvement is from pulling the ball more and taking advantage of short right field fences. Here is an image of his batted ball landing spots. As it can be seen, most of the longest hits, more commonly knows as home runs, are in the right field corner.

The problem is that he may be trying too hard to put some loft on the ball. Even though his power was way up, his actually production went down as seen by his wOBA dropping from .339 in 2011 to .326 in 2012. The rest of his numbers also support a player looking to hit a home run.

Season AVG BABIP IFFB% SLG
2011 0.280 0.318 7% 0.457
2012 0.242 0.269 14% 0.463

Even with the extra home runs, his SLG barely improve from 2011 to 2012. Just a few fly balls turn into home runs, most turn into outs so the increased fly ball rate put a drag on his AVG. He was basically trading a lower AVG for more HR.

A high IFFB% normally wouldn’t warrant concern from an Oakland player because the large foul area in the Coliseum leads to more foul pop outs. Actually, Reddick had a higher IFFB% on the road (17%) than at home (11%). For his AVG to improve, this number will need to come down.

I expect to see much of the same from Reddick in 2013 as was seen 2012. Chicks dig the long ball, so why should he change his approach. The 2013 Bill James projection of 30 HR, 9 SB, and .247 AVG looks pretty close, with just a few less HRs in my opinion. 25 HR, 10 SB, and a .250 AVG would be a nice clean 2013 expectation. Josh Reddick‘s home run numbers may seem enticing, but remember they come with a tradeoff of a near .250 AVG.

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* I looked to see how Reddick’s HR compared to the number hit by other Oakland left-handed hitters at home. Here is the top five season totals since 1997:

1. Jason Giambi (2001): 27
2. Jason Giambi (2000): 23
3. Matt Stairs (1997): 20
4. Jack Cust (2008): 20
5T. Josh Reddick: 18
5T. Eric Chavez (2002): 18




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

6 Responses to “Josh Reddick Takes Home Runs Over Average”

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  1. MZ says:

    Foul balls are included in IFFB%?

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    • philosofool says:

      If they are pop outs to an inflieder, they’re IFFBs, regadless of where they are.

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      • Charlie says:

        It is arguable that Reddick fouled out more often this year than any other player I watched this season. LOOK AT THAT THIRD BASE SIDE

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  2. A’s should bring back Matt Stairs

    AmIrite?

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  3. Scott says:

    More likely Stairs is counting the $ he made during a career most of us would give our left nut to have had.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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