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View Full Version : Ken Macha on Joey Votto



membengal
09-21-2010, 09:28 AM
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/103400149.html


"He's not afraid to hit the ball the other way," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "I think he hit that ball and it wound up in the second deck, so his power is just frightening.

Fun quote.

As for the other way stuff, I know I have not seen the like of it in my years of following baseball. At least, not that I can remember right off-hand. And it makes Votto such a dangerous hitter that he can go the opposite way with so much authority.

RedsManRick
09-21-2010, 09:52 AM
The only guy I remember going the other way so often is Ryan Howard.

membengal
09-21-2010, 10:14 AM
Howard, good thought. If I get a chance, I need to look up the Home Run by direction charts for Howard in his career. He definitely doesn't mind going oppo either. Going back a few decades, I am trying to remember if Frank Thomas went oppo a lot. Or back further if Eddie Murray did.

It's just such a high % of homeruns to go that direction. To my minds eye, very unusual.

Sea Ray
09-21-2010, 10:37 AM
The only guy I remember going the other way so often is Ryan Howard.

Some of you youngsters probably don't remember the name that came to my mind, Kal Daniels

NJReds
09-21-2010, 10:39 AM
Mike Piazza had great power to the opposite field, too.

membengal
09-21-2010, 10:41 AM
Some of you youngsters probably don't remember the name that came to my mind, Kal Daniels

Yeah, Kal had nice oppo power, but wasn't able to go as deep the other way as Votto does in my memory.

Sea Ray
09-21-2010, 10:53 AM
Yeah, Kal had nice oppo power, but wasn't able to go as deep the other way as Votto does in my memory.

Well, he went deep enough to get it out but I don't recall anyone hitting too many into the 2nd deck. Maybe newer, smaller ballparks help such matters in this era as opposed to 20-25 yrs ago

membengal
09-21-2010, 10:55 AM
Dunno either. How far was Votto's shot measured last night? Looked around 420 or so to me. Just a blast.

Kal was great at dropping them into the well behind the .375 mark in left-center in old Riverfront. Man I used to love watching Kal hit.

lollipopcurve
09-21-2010, 10:59 AM
Man I used to love watching Kal hit.

Ditto.

lollipopcurve
09-21-2010, 11:02 AM
Thing about Votto's opposite field power that's distinctive is the elevation of the ball. He skies it, and still has enough power. Edmonds is somewhat similar. Amazing the loft Votto puts on the ball.

membengal
09-21-2010, 11:04 AM
Thing about Votto's opposite field power that's distinctive is the elevation of the ball. He skies it, and still has enough power. Edmonds is somewhat similar. Amazing the loft Votto puts on the ball.

Good observation, and spot on. Perhaps that is why our PBP guys on TV keep making such a dog's dinner of a lot of his homerun calls. That blast last night completely fooled Thom B.

Sea Ray
09-21-2010, 11:09 AM
Good observation, and spot on. Perhaps that is why our PBP guys on TV keep making such a dog's dinner of a lot of his homerun calls. That blast last night completely fooled Thom B.

It sure did and I don't understand why. These guys have seen enough of Votto that they should know right off the bat if an eventual 2nd deck shot is going out. In other words that wasn't a fence scraper. Thom and Chris should have known better

OesterPoster
09-21-2010, 11:18 AM
Marty's call wasn't much different though. He was casually calling it as a high fly ball to left center, and then his voice started rising a bit as it kept carrying.

Sea Ray
09-21-2010, 11:48 AM
Marty's call wasn't much different though. He was casually calling it as a high fly ball to left center, and then his voice started rising a bit as it kept carrying.

That wouldn't surprise me. That's Marty way. It takes a lot to get him excited although he wasn't that way 30 yrs ago. In the 70s they had games where Marty and Joe sat in the stands with the fans and they cheered along with them. That's hard to imagine now

mace
09-21-2010, 11:51 AM
Marty's call wasn't much different though. He was casually calling it as a high fly ball to left center, and then his voice started rising a bit as it kept carrying.

I can understand it. In fact, I find it something of a phenomenon. When you watch enough baseball, you can usually tell on contact if the ball's headed out of the park. Mostly, it's the trajectory. But honestly, Votto constantly fools me with his home runs to left field. I almost always think they look like ordinary fly balls. By now, it's gotten to the point where I think, "Well, that looks like an easy fly ball, but that's what Votto's opposite-field home runs tend to look like, so maybe . . . " And still, they surprise me. Granted, the home runs should be easier to identify at the scene than they are on television. But I truly think there's something distinctive about those things, the way they carry. Maybe it's the unusual loft that lollipop referred to.

And speaking of that . . . it's been widely noted that Votto hasn't popped up on the infield all season. So, you'd think that was a function of not hitting the ball in the air very much; hitting mostly grounders and line drives. But he does lift the ball. On those home runs, it's almost a characteristic trait. Yet nothing stays in the infield. Amazing.

I(heart)Freel
09-21-2010, 11:59 AM
Marty said recently that he immediately watches the outfielder after contact. Figures they know better how hard the ball is hit. Based on the drifting of the left fielder last night, that might have fooled both Brennamans.

Tornon
09-21-2010, 01:19 PM
Marty said recently that he immediately watches the outfielder after contact. Figures they know better how hard the ball is hit. Based on the drifting of the left fielder last night, that might have fooled both Brennamans.

If you're going to base your call on flyballs off of Ryan Braun's reactions as an outfielder, you're going to end up screwing with a lot of fans

RedsManRick
09-21-2010, 01:42 PM
Ryan Howard
http://www.hittrackeronline.com/parks/Howard_Ryan_2010_scatter.jpg

Joey Votto
http://www.hittrackeronline.com/parks/Votto_Joey_2010_scatter.jpg

MississippiRed
09-21-2010, 01:57 PM
It sure did and I don't understand why. These guys have seen enough of Votto that they should know right off the bat if an eventual 2nd deck shot is going out. In other words that wasn't a fence scraper. Thom and Chris should have known better

Actually, Chris did know better. If you listened carefully, you could hear Chris say, "way back" when Thom was saying it was high fly ball.

membengal
09-21-2010, 02:42 PM
Nice chart, RMR. Thanks for that. If I have the dots counted right, that's a crazy 19 of 31 homeruns for Howard left of center this year.

Cedric
09-21-2010, 02:45 PM
I can understand it. In fact, I find it something of a phenomenon. When you watch enough baseball, you can usually tell on contact if the ball's headed out of the park. Mostly, it's the trajectory. But honestly, Votto constantly fools me with his home runs to left field. I almost always think they look like ordinary fly balls. By now, it's gotten to the point where I think, "Well, that looks like an easy fly ball, but that's what Votto's opposite-field home runs tend to look like, so maybe . . . " And still, they surprise me. Granted, the home runs should be easier to identify at the scene than they are on television. But I truly think there's something distinctive about those things, the way they carry. Maybe it's the unusual loft that lollipop referred to.

And speaking of that . . . it's been widely noted that Votto hasn't popped up on the infield all season. So, you'd think that was a function of not hitting the ball in the air very much; hitting mostly grounders and line drives. But he does lift the ball. On those home runs, it's almost a characteristic trait. Yet nothing stays in the infield. Amazing.

I'm the same exact way. Why would I expect announcers to know any better? This isn't normal.

OldRightHander
09-21-2010, 02:49 PM
A lot of guys have opposite field power, but it is the trajectory that really amazes me. They look like balls off a right hander's bat.

RedsManRick
09-21-2010, 02:55 PM
Nice chart, RMR. Thanks for that. If I have the dots counted right, that's a crazy 19 of 31 homeruns for Howard left of center this year.

I counted 15L/15R for Howard and 19L/15R for Votto. But yeah, both guys have been going oppo as often as not. I think Bruce actually has more power than Votto, but he doesn't (yet) have the approach which allows those balls outside to travel deep enough in the zone before being hit. Instead we see Bruce reach out for those and yank them out with mostly upper body strength whereas Votto and Howard (and Adrian Gonzalez) use their full body.

In fact, Votto and Adrian Gonzalez seem very similar to me.

membengal
09-21-2010, 02:57 PM
Good point on Bruce...but what I have found so exciting of late from him during his hot streak is it looks like he is staying back better on those balls that he used to only pull and is perhaps starting to come around to an approach that will allow him to have more power and success the opposite way.

And...if he does... well, that will be a sight to see.

ETA: And thanks for correcting my quick count. I was simply placing the dots left of dead or right of dead center, without assigning a range to CF.

bucksfan2
09-21-2010, 03:07 PM
I counted 15L/15R for Howard and 19L/15R for Votto. But yeah, both guys have being going oppo as often as not. I think Bruce actually has more power than Votto, but he doesn't (yet) have the approach which allows those balls outside to travel deep enough in the zone before being hit. Instead we see Bruce reach out for those and yank them out with mostly upper body strength whereas Votto and Howard (and Adrian Gonzalez) use their full body.

In fact, Votto and Adrian Gonzalez seem very similar to me.

Votto really reminds me of a left handed Albert Pujols. Both of them allow the ball to get deep into the strike zone and are able to drive it to all fields. What I do find unique about Votto is he hits the ball to all fields regardless if its in the outfield or infield. A lot of opposite field power hitters aren't able to shoot the ball through the infield the opposite way. IMO it leads to more hits and a better overall hitter.

redsmetz
09-21-2010, 03:10 PM
Marty said recently that he immediately watches the outfielder after contact. Figures they know better how hard the ball is hit. Based on the drifting of the left fielder last night, that might have fooled both Brennamans.

That was Red Barber's trick and it's what I do at the ballpark. Back at Riverfront, the fans in the upper decks would always react to any high hit ball and many would settle into an outfielder's glove easily. Once you watch the outfielder, you've generally got a better feel for what the ball's actually doing.

VR
09-21-2010, 03:18 PM
I went to the M's/Reds a few years back, and rushed to see Josh Hamilton hit batting practice.
After hearing of all his power, I was disappointed to see him hit pop up after pop up to what I thought was shallow left field. I was awe-struck to see every one of them end up deep in the bleachers.

I have been a baseball junkie all my life, and love batting practice. Those are the only two players I have ever seen come close to that feat.

GOYA
09-21-2010, 03:45 PM
Watch Juan Francisco. He doesn't get enough ABs to see it yet in Cincy but he has that kind of power. It looks like a lazy high popfly and it falls well over the CF fence. Doesn't go opposite field all that much though.

HokieRed
09-21-2010, 05:18 PM
Haven't looked at any charts, but I remember Tony Perez as having terrific power to right-center.

Phhhl
09-21-2010, 05:25 PM
Dale Murphy had tremendous opposite field power, and a great swing in general.

The Voice of IH
09-21-2010, 05:27 PM
I would rather have an announcer act like a homerun ball is an easy out then to act like an easy out is a homerun ball....if my team is at the plate, reverse if it is my team in the field.

Cedric
09-21-2010, 05:29 PM
Thome and Votto have the best power to left center and center that I can remember seeing.

klw
09-21-2010, 05:32 PM
The only guy I remember going the other way so often is Ryan Howard.

David Ortiz is who jumped to mind for me. If I was the Red Sox I would forget about Gonzalez and be phoning the Reds all winter about Votto and offering the farm. Votto in Fenway would be fun to watch for a Sox fan. Youkalis could go back to 3rd or DH if they kept Beltre.

Scrap Irony
09-21-2010, 05:35 PM
Votto's approach is what's so great to see.

He doesn't ever get cheated, but he also finds a way to protect the plate with two strikes. He hits the ball-- hard, more often than not-- then is willing to dink one into LF for a cheap double.

He's a hitter for all seasons. Perhaps the first of those for Cincinnati since Dave Parker (who he reminds me of) or perhaps even Joe Morgan.

And if he rubs off on Jay Bruce at all-- my goodness, would that be a dangerous duo. The Reds would be St. Louis, but with a much, much better supporting cast.

dman
09-21-2010, 05:47 PM
I've been too busy to chime in on some of these threads, but along with the ones already mentioned, I always remembered Darryl Strawberry, especially during his tneure with the Mets, as having good opposite field power.

RedsManRick
09-21-2010, 06:12 PM
Watch Juan Francisco. He doesn't get enough ABs to see it yet in Cincy but he has that kind of power. It looks like a lazy high popfly and it falls well over the CF fence. Doesn't go opposite field all that much though.

Wily Mo could do that too. Crazy raw power.

RedsManRick
09-21-2010, 06:20 PM
I was wondering if Votto's approach has changed at all, so I went to Fangraphs and saw something interesting.

O = Out of zone
Z = In zone



Season Team O-Sw% Z-Sw% Swing% O-Ct% Z-Ct% Cont% Zone% F-St% SwStr%
2007 Reds 31.8% 74.0% 51.4% 52.6% 85.1% 74.3% 46.3% 51.7% 13.0 %
2008 Reds 24.7% 72.8% 48.4% 56.9% 84.9% 77.6% 49.2% 59.4% 10.4 %
2009 Reds 24.4% 74.0% 47.2% 58.5% 83.2% 76.3% 46.0% 56.6% 10.8 %
2010 Reds 30.0% 73.0% 47.8% 69.7% 82.2% 77.6% 41.5% 58.7% 10.3 %

Look at Votto's contact rate on balls he swings at outside of the zone. And he's doing that while swinging outside of zone quite often. I have no clue if this is accurate, but I'm wondering if he's fouling off more close stuff this year rather than taking those pitches. That's one of Pujols' great strengths, keeping at bats alive until a pitcher makes a mistake.

Brutus
09-21-2010, 06:29 PM
I was wondering if Votto's approach has changed at all, so I went to Fangraphs and saw something interesting.

O = Out of zone
Z = In zone



Season Team O-Sw% Z-Sw% Swing% O-Ct% Z-Ct% Cont% Zone% F-St% SwStr%
2007 Reds 31.8% 74.0% 51.4% 52.6% 85.1% 74.3% 46.3% 51.7% 13.0 %
2008 Reds 24.7% 72.8% 48.4% 56.9% 84.9% 77.6% 49.2% 59.4% 10.4 %
2009 Reds 24.4% 74.0% 47.2% 58.5% 83.2% 76.3% 46.0% 56.6% 10.8 %
2010 Reds 30.0% 73.0% 47.8% 69.7% 82.2% 77.6% 41.5% 58.7% 10.3 %

Look at Votto's contact rate on balls he swings at outside of the zone. And he's doing that while swinging outside of zone quite often. I have no clue if this is accurate, but I'm wondering if he's fouling off more close stuff this year rather than taking those pitches. That's one of Pujols' great strengths, keeping at bats alive until a pitcher makes a mistake.

I think that's been part of his success. Unlike Pujols, Votto sometimes chases some bad pitches early in the count it seems. He's very susceptible to an early breaking pitch down in the zone. But where Votto and Pujols are similar is their plate coverage with two strikes (as you mentioned). So if Votto doesn't put something in play early in the count, he's great at working it up from 0-2 to 3-2 until he gets his pitch.

Reds1
09-21-2010, 06:32 PM
I never dreamed that ball was going out last night. Even the analyst - I think Thom didn't even raise his voice as he thought it was a can of corn. I had to rewind and watch on DVR 2-3 times. I couldn't believe it.

GADawg
09-21-2010, 09:08 PM
Mike Piazza had great power to the opposite field, too.

i always heard Piazza liked to go the other way! :D