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View Full Version : Votto: Too many takes; but better "hitter" than last year?



TOBTTReds
06-19-2011, 08:35 PM
Why's the power down has been a big discussion this year. His ISO Slugging is down almost 100 points. A lot has been said about him not getting good pitches, etc.

But I have noticed him taking a lot of good pitches as well. I don't know if he's guessing more or what. But here's some numbers to back it up.

In Strike Zone Swing %:

Votto
2007 - 74
2008 - 73
2009 - 74
2010 - 73
2011 - 66

Another piece of evidence that might show a lack of HR's is this:

His Line Drive percentage is up 8% this year, FB % is down 4%. At the same time, his HR/FB % is down by over 10%

So, although I do think the 66 in zone swing percent is an issue...

I actually think evidence is pointing that he is a better hitter this year, but it just isn't producing the power we expect. By better, I mean the actual hit tool is better. I'm not saying he is more productive this year, just that he is a more talented hitter. More numbers to represent this:

Out of zone swing % is down 5.7%
In zone contact % is up 3%
Contact % is up 1%
First pitch strike % is down 8.2% (you gotta take it for it to be a ball right?)
Swing and miss % is down 2%
LD% is up 8.1%
GB and FB rates are down by 3.8% and 4.3%
BABIP average is a career high of .381 compared to last years .361


Alright, I know that was a lot of numbers and %'s. So digest, then post. Thanks for reading.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=4314&position=1B#platediscipline

Edd Roush
06-20-2011, 11:14 AM
Thanks for the research TOBTTReds, I found it interesting.

TOBTTReds
06-20-2011, 12:38 PM
Thanks, and you're welcome.

traderumor
06-20-2011, 02:43 PM
The first half, Votto has become a singles hitter with a little pop. I'm not happy with that and I hope it is a temporary issue. I don't think that makes him a better "hitter." I am really concerned about his slugging.

Superdude
06-20-2011, 07:48 PM
The first half, Votto has become a singles hitter with a little pop. I'm not happy with that and I hope it is a temporary issue. I don't think that makes him a better "hitter." I am really concerned about his slugging.

Agreed. He's a different hitter, and still a very productive hitter, but not a better hitter.

RedsManRick
06-20-2011, 08:15 PM
Good stuff. According to some just released analysis by BP, HR/FB stabilizes (performance to date becomes a better predictor of future performance than league average) at about 60-65 fly balls (about half a year on average). Interestingly, he's at 63 fly balls so far this year.

By contrast, LD rate takes about two years and BABIP about 2.5.

So, the lack of power is "real", for lack of a better term. Though it should be noted that his career HR/FB is 19.2% This year it's at 14.3% compared to 25% last year. Make of all of that what you will.

MikeThierry
06-20-2011, 08:21 PM
Do you think he is being pitched to differently this year than last?

Superdude
06-20-2011, 08:25 PM
Do you think he is being pitched to differently this year than last?

Maybe in some ways, but I've seen it posted in here a few times that he's seeing a similar amount of balls and strikes. It seems like he's just choosing not to swing early in the count, getting two strikes often, and then putting himself in a position where he's forced to be a protect first contact type hitter.

RedsManRick
06-20-2011, 08:38 PM
Maybe in some ways, but I've seen it posted in here a few times that he's seeing a similar amount of balls and strikes. It seems like he's just choosing not to swing early in the count, getting two strikes often, and then putting himself in a position where he's forced to be a protect first contact type hitter.

Interesting idea. He's trying to be too fine and ending up, ironically, getting fewer pitches to drive. I'd be interested to see his spray chart this year vs. last. Just completely anecdotally, it seems to me that he's driving fewer pitches to LF and rolling over more balls to 2B.

Superdude
06-20-2011, 08:52 PM
Interesting idea. He's trying to be too fine and ending up, ironically, getting fewer pitches to drive. I'd be interested to see his spray chart this year vs. last. Just completely anecdotally, it seems to me that he's driving fewer pitches to LF and rolling over more balls to 2B.

Maybe it's just me skewing things in my head, but it just seems like Votto's always excelled at fighting off pitchers pitches and hitting deep in the count, but now it's like that's his goal every at bat. Wouldn't mind seeing him unload on a pitch early in the count every once in a while where he doesn't have a strikeout in the back of his mind.

RedsManRick
06-20-2011, 09:17 PM
Maybe it's just me skewing things in my head, but it just seems like Votto's always excelled at fighting off pitchers pitches and hitting deep in the count, but now it's like that's his goal every at bat. Wouldn't mind seeing him unload on a pitch early in the count every once in a while where he doesn't have a strikeout in the back of his mind.

His pitches per PA is up from 3.93 to 4.11, 20th in MLB (virtual tie with Stubbs).

MikeThierry
06-20-2011, 10:10 PM
Maybe in some ways, but I've seen it posted in here a few times that he's seeing a similar amount of balls and strikes. It seems like he's just choosing not to swing early in the count, getting two strikes often, and then putting himself in a position where he's forced to be a protect first contact type hitter.

What I also meant by asking if he is being pitched to differently is the type of pitches he is seeing. Is he seeing the same percentage of fastballs this year as he was last year, the same percentage of sliders this year as he was last year, etc?

Superdude
06-20-2011, 10:38 PM
What I also meant by asking if he is being pitched to differently is the type of pitches he is seeing. Is he seeing the same percentage of fastballs this year as he was last year, the same percentage of sliders this year as he was last year, etc?

That's pretty much what I meant by "maybe in some ways". Hard to really quantify it.

This is a theory I just completely made up, and I still think it's mostly just a change in approach, but another factor could be which counts that Votto is seeing the strikes in. Pitchers may have been more willing to challenge Votto early in the count last year and then tempt him with balls later. Maybe now pitchers have adjusted and are nibbling the corners early in the count, getting to three balls, and then pumping strikes to avoid the walk? One or two borderline pitches early in the count are enough to force Votto into a defensive approach, meaning you can attack him like almost any other hitter once you get him 2-2 or 3-2.

AtomicDumpling
06-21-2011, 10:42 PM
Votto is having another excellent season. It will be very hard for him or anyone else to duplicate his 2010 stats. It seems to me he has changed his stance and approach. He seems to be leaning over more and is utilizing a traditional 2-strike approach on every pitch. He is much more defensive and less aggressive, almost like he is trying to avoid making an out instead of trying to drive the baseball. He doesn't seem as confident as last year. He might be feeling some pressure to live up to the reputation he built last year. His mannerisms at the plate are completely different than last year, especially immediately following a taken pitch. He is still awesome and a great hitter even with the reduced power.