Sunday, July 17, 2011

Swinging At Strikes, Laying Off Balls

I don't know if this is anything or not, but because I'm a happening guy, I was playing with the Royals plate discipline numbers from Fangraphs. I decided to try to judge how well each Royals hitter is doing when it comes to swinging at strikes vs. laying off balls. The Z-Swing% in the chart below is the percentage of pitches in the zone at which each player offers, and the O-Swing% is the percentage of pitches out of the zone at which the hitter hacks. The Z-O% column simply looks at how much higher the Z-Swing rate is than the O-Swing rate (and then I've included a fourth column to show the player's overall swing rate): 

I was shocked to see Moose come out on top of this list. He is swinging a lot, something that was expected, but is apparently doing a good job of identifying strikes at which to swing. Seems strange since he is not squaring balls up at all when he makes contact lately, but I take this as a positive sign (albeit one with the required small sample size warning).

Billy's swing rate has decreased every year he has played. From 200711, it has gone 47%, 45%, 43.3%, 42.7%, 40%.

Kila was not swinging much when he was up, but he was not necessarily making great choices when he did swing *coughbreakingballscough*.

Everyone's favorite lead-off hitter comes in last not just for the Royals, but for all of MLB (tied with Erick Aybar). I started looking into this because I expected Frenchy to come out at the bottom of the league, but I had the wrong Royal in mind. Frenchy comes in at 131st out of the 151 qualified MLB batters.

Here is the top and bottom five qualified MLB hitters in Z-O swing%. I've included wRC+ for each hitter to see how the approaches are working for each:

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