On Monday, I looked at which players showed an increase in their batted ball distances from 2010 to 2011. Not all increases can be seen in the year to year data. Some changes begin to occur during the season like with Jose Bautista and Curtis Granderson in the past couple of years. Here is a look at some players that may be turning their game around for the better
The data I use for the analysis is from MLB. It is used in their Gameday display and on their website. The data indicates where the ball was fielded, not landed. The reason I like to only look at fly ball and home run distances is that the ball is usually fielded where it would have landed. Besides the distance the ball travels, it is also important for a HR hitter to pull the ball as much as possible. The fences can be up to 100 ft shorter in the corners than in straight away center.
So I took all the hitters with 30 total fly balls or home runs in both halves of the 2011 season. Then, I compared the change in distance and angle of the batted balls. Here is a select list of players with a decent jump in distance and/or angle (full list of players here).
Note: For the Batted Ball Angle angle, -45 degrees is a ball hit on the left field line, 0 is a ball hit to dead center and +45 is a ball hit on the right field line.
|1st Half of 2011||2nd Half of 2011||Difference|
|Name||Distance (ft)||Angle||Distance (ft)||Angle||Distance (ft)||Angle|
If you want to look at the data for any player over any time frame, you can go to:
PW: Dave (capital D)
Click on: Angle and Distance of a Hitter’s Batted Balls
Enter in the player and parameters.
Here is a more detailed look at a few of the players.
Josh Willingham – Josh had his greatest HR total in 2012 with Oakland. The key for the right handed hitter was not the increase in distance, but his ability to turn on the ball for HRs. Here is graph of his batted ball angles over the last 5 years with a LOESS averaging curve.
Generally his fly balls were to center field in the past, but he really began to turn on them in 2011. Oakland may have been the worst place for him to be productive. If he moves to a hitter friendly park, watch out.
Jacoby Ellsbury: Here is Jacoby’s splits for the season:
0.316/0.377/0.490 11 HRs
0.328/0.375/0.625 21 HRs
He kept getting better as the season went on. He saw his distance increase (33 ft more) and he pulled the ball more (by 8 degrees). People may think that he may regress a bit in 2011. If he hits like he did in the second half, he could improve in 2012.
Nick Markakis – His numbers aren’t the sign of a breakout, but they may be a sign of a halt in the decline of his power. Here are his SLG and batted ball numbers since 2008:
2008: 0.491, 304 ft
2009: 0.453, 299 ft
2010: 0.436, 291 ft
2011: 0.406, 283 ft
The power decline is obvious. He did show some signs of improvement in the second half. He hit the ball a little further at 287 ft. Also, he began to turn on the ball a little bit more by 9 more degrees. This can be seen with his 2nd half SLG at 0.442. He is not back to his 2008 levels. If an owner is looking for a little more fantasy value than the trends and projections may say, Nick could be your man.
Print This Post