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fearofpopvol1
05-03-2012, 01:39 AM
I do believe this is a problem for the Reds hitters. What do you think?

The Reds have the highest (ie worst) F-Strike% in all of baseball at 65.4%. The Reds also have the 10th worst Swing % (overall percentage of pitches a batter swings at).

The Reds aren't the worst in every plate discipline category, but these are 2 important categories to be sure.

reds44
05-03-2012, 03:07 AM
It's a Dusty Baker problem.

DGullett35
05-03-2012, 06:49 AM
It seems to me that the Reds hitters like to swing very early in the count in the beginning of games. It's almost an approach that all of them have taken. They swing at that first fastball no matter the location. IMO I would put more of the blame on Jacoby than Baker.

redsmetz
05-03-2012, 07:50 AM
It seems to me that the Reds hitters like to swing very early in the count in the beginning of games. It's almost an approach that all of them have taken. They swing at that first fastball no matter the location. IMO I would put more of the blame on Jacoby than Baker.

One of my frustrations with the multitude of new stats is I don't readily recognize the alphabet soup of the statistics. For me, it would be helpful if posters consider that not all of us know this. [off my soapbox now] Thankfully, Google is handy and I found it, but it leaves me with questions viz the F-Strike% stat used here.

Fangraphs explains it thusly:

F-Strike% (first pitch strike percentage): The percentage of plate appearances (for batters) or batters faced (for pitchers) that the first pitch was a strike. This includes anytime that the count after the first pitch was 0-1, or anytime the ball was put into play on the first pitch of a plate appearance.

That leaves me with questions because it would seem without context, the number doesn't tell us whether the strike was a swinging strike or a called strike. Likewise, it doesn't show us what number of hits are included in that stat (given our erratic offense, the answer might be "few"). I suspect that data is out there, but just knowing the percentage is necessarily telling except that opposing pitchers are bringing in the zone often.

Am I wrong in this thinking?

mbgrayson
05-03-2012, 08:30 AM
I do believe this is a problem for the Reds hitters. What do you think?

The Reds have the highest (ie worst) F-Strike% in all of baseball at 65.4%. The Reds also have the 10th worst Swing % (overall percentage of pitches a batter swings at).

The Reds aren't the worst in every plate discipline category, but these are 2 important categories to be sure.

Personally, I like the P/PA stat. Pitches per plate appearance gives a good overall view of who is patient and works a pitcher till they get a good pitch to hit. It is no coincidence that the hitters who see more pitches are often are among the best hitters in the league.

After the game last night, Bronson Arroyo was quoted as being surprised by how hard the Cubs worked him and ran up his pitch count. This is something the Yankees and Red Sox have been famous for, and there is no reason the Reds couldn't do better.

Here is how the Reds hitters rank among their NL peers in P/PA by position: (These comparisons have no minimum # of plate appearances so that we could look at all the Reds, qualified or not.)

Catcher (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/c/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded):
18. Ryan Hannigan 3.85
33. Devin Mesoraco 2.94

1B (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/1b/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded):
2. Joey Votto 4.37

2B: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/2b/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
11. Brandon Phillips 3.84

SS: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/ss/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
11. Zach Cozart 3.79
23. Wilson Valdez 3.25

3B: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/3b/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
6. Scott Rolen 3.94
13. Miguel Cairo 3.80
19. Todd Frazier 3.63

OF: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/of/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
36. Ryan Ludwick 3.94
45. Jay Bruce 3.85
74. Drew Stubbs 3.44
79. Chris Heisey 3.37
84. Willie Harris 2.97

The Reds hitters, under the management of Dusty Baker, are terrible at plate patience.

redsmetz
05-03-2012, 08:43 AM
Personally, I like the P/PA stat. Pitches per plate appearance gives a good overall view of who is patient and works a pitcher till they get a good pitch to hit. It is no coincidence that the hitters who see more pitches are often are among the best hitters in the league.

After the game last night, Bronson Arroyo was quoted as being surprised by how hard the Cubs worked him and ran up his pitch count. This is something the Yankees and Red Sox have been famous for, and there is no reason the Reds couldn't do better.

Here is how the Reds hitters rank among their NL peers in P/PA by position: (These comparisons have no minimum # of plate appearances so that we could look at all the Reds, qualified or not.)

Catcher (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/c/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded):
18. Ryan Hannigan 3.85
33. Devin Mesoraco 2.94

1B (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/1b/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded):
2. Joey Votto 4.37

2B: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/2b/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
11. Brandon Phillips 3.84

SS: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/ss/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
11. Zach Cozart 3.79
23. Wilson Valdez 3.25

3B: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/3b/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
6. Scott Rolen 3.94
13. Miguel Cairo 3.80
19. Todd Frazier 3.63

OF: (http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/batting/_/position/of/league/nl/sort/pitchesPerPlateAppearance/qualified/false/type/expanded)
36. Ryan Ludwick 3.94
45. Jay Bruce 3.85
74. Drew Stubbs 3.44
79. Chris Heisey 3.37
84. Willie Harris 2.97

The Reds hitters, under the management of Dusty Baker, are terrible at plate patience.

Once again, though, what's the context? What's the average for MLB? And how are the numbers for Reds clubs under other managers. Context would allow us to know is nearly 4 pitches per AB good, is it average or what? Or for that matter, how do some elite batters stack up in P/PA? I don't know the answers to these questions, but think they're legitimate in seeing if your conclusion is correct (and perhaps it is).

cumberlandreds
05-03-2012, 08:54 AM
I would like to know what the MLB average is for P/PA. This seems like a good stat for plate discipline but I don't how to judge if the Reds are below average or what? Just by watching them I would say well below average. They just have terrible approaches most games. Votto sticks out as the lone batter who really works the pitchers well.

mbgrayson
05-03-2012, 08:55 AM
Once again, though, what's the context? What's the average for MLB? And how are the numbers for Reds clubs under other managers. Context would allow us to know is nearly 4 pitches per AB good, is it average or what? Or for that matter, how do some elite batters stack up in P/PA? I don't know the answers to these questions, but think they're legitimate in seeing if your conclusion is correct (and perhaps it is).

Good questions. The context is the National League in 2012. The number at the left is the rank of the Reds hitters compared to other NL players this year at that position. So Votto is one of the best in the league, while WIllie Harris is one of the worst in the league, at plate patience for their position. Of course, as of yet, there is no way to attribute this directly to the manager as opposed to the player, that is merely my dig at Mr. Baker.

The other thing that is clear with P/PA is that the leaders each year are often also among the leaders in Ks. If you see a lot of pitches, you strike out more often. Stubbs is unusual here because he manages to see far fewer pitches than most of the NL K leaders....

And yes, if you average seeing around 4 pitches per plate appearance, that is generally good. However, P/PA does not equate with hitting quality by itself, but it is a measure of plate patience.

mbgrayson
05-03-2012, 08:59 AM
I would like to know what the MLB average is for P/PA. This seems like a good stat for plate discipline but I don't how to judge if the Reds are below average or what? Just by watching them I would say well below average. They just have terrible approaches most games. Votto sticks out as the lone batter who really works the pitchers well.

It looks to me like in 2011, the MLB average was slightly over 3.80 P/PA. It also seems that this has been increasing in recent years. See THIS ARTICLE (http://www.highheatstats.com/2012/02/strange-trends-in-pitches-per-plate-appearance/).

elfmanvt07
05-03-2012, 09:11 AM
Good thread. A few of the above I feel have IMPROVED their approach. I would be interested to see what Stubbs' number was about a week and a half ago.

bucksfan2
05-03-2012, 09:15 AM
The Reds currently have one regular with an acceptable OBP. You could throw Hanigan in there but I don't really call him a regular. I think Walt needs to add someone who knows how to find first base and isn't afraid of it. As is this offense is downright embarassing at times.

cumberlandreds
05-03-2012, 09:17 AM
It looks to me like in 2011, the MLB average was slightly over 3.80 P/PA. It also seems that this has been increasing in recent years. See THIS ARTICLE (http://www.highheatstats.com/2012/02/strange-trends-in-pitches-per-plate-appearance/).

Thanks! Looks like most of the Reds starters are about average. Which equates to about a .500 team. That's looking like what the Reds will be this season. If the top two hitters in the lineup were at Votto's P/PA this would be a much better hitting team, IMO.

klw
05-03-2012, 09:29 AM
What I have notices is that there does seem to be a team wide approach at times and Dusty comments after the game seem to show this. If a pitcher is known for throwing strikes and attacking the zone, the approach seems to be to jump on him and go after the first pitch. Whether or not this is more effective is up for debate.

Where things are frustrating is seeing a batter walking on 4 or 5 pitches and then seeing the next batter swing before getting a called strike. I guess the theory is that the pitcher is going to lay one in there to get a strike but it really seems like you are potentially letting the pitcher off the hook. If you swing in that situation you better do damage.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/stubbdr01-bat.shtml

Stubbs' p/pa is down quite a bit this year. What may be driving this is that he is seeing a higher % of strikes, has a lower percentage of missed swings, and is putting a higher percentage of swings in play because his percentage of pitches swung at has remained fairly constant.
2009- 3.87
2010- 4.02
2011- 3.95
2012- 3.44

757690
05-03-2012, 09:32 AM
Thanks! Looks like most of the Reds starters are about average. Which equates to about a .500 team. That's looking like what the Reds will be this season. If the top two hitters in the lineup were at Votto's P/PA this would be a much better hitting team, IMO.

I'm sorry, but that just doesn't compute. I sincerely doubt that a team's winning percentage is linearly linked to their P/PA percentages.

It would be like saying that the Reds hit a league average number of doubles, and thus are a .500 team. I don't think you can even say that having an average P/PA means the team is league average offensively.

dougdirt
05-03-2012, 09:36 AM
The Reds currently have one regular with an acceptable OBP. You could throw Hanigan in there but I don't really call him a regular. I think Walt needs to add someone who knows how to find first base and isn't afraid of it. As is this offense is downright embarassing at times.

He tried that. He is off to a slow start and everyone wants to cut him.

elfmanvt07
05-03-2012, 09:37 AM
I'm sorry, but that just doesn't compute. I sincerely doubt that a team's winning percentage is linearly linked to their P/PA percentages.

It would be like saying that the Reds hit a league average number of doubles, and thus are a .500 team. I don't think you can even say that having an average P/PA means the team is league average offensively.

It certainly isn't a 1/1 correlation, but it does have an effect. The Reds seem to think that the way to punish a pitcher throwing his best stuff is to swing at his best stuff. Brandon's PA against Marmol last night was an absolute joke.

HokieRed
05-03-2012, 09:37 AM
I would like to know what the MLB average is for P/PA. This seems like a good stat for plate discipline but I don't how to judge if the Reds are below average or what? Just by watching them I would say well below average. They just have terrible approaches most games. Votto sticks out as the lone batter who really works the pitchers well.

Does Votto work the pitchers exceptionally well or do they work him exceptionally carefully, as any rational pitcher would given the current weakness of the Reds' surrounding lineup? Thus A. P/PA is partly a function of the way one is pitched; and B. It seems inevitably to have a team dimension--i.e. what one batter does is affected by those around him and how pitchers work them.

757690
05-03-2012, 09:37 AM
I also think its way too early to be taking these stats seriously. They are going to be stilted by whom the Reds have faced so far. Let's not look at them at least until the Reds have faced the entire league.

HokieRed
05-03-2012, 09:40 AM
I'm sorry, but that just doesn't compute. I sincerely doubt that a team's winning percentage is linearly linked to their P/PA percentages.

It would be like saying that the Reds hit a league average number of doubles, and thus are a .500 team. I don't think you can even say that having an average P/PA means the team is league average offensively.

I doubt there's a linear link, as you put it, but it would make sense for there to be a correlation. High P/PA means pitchers are working a lineup carefully. Why? Because the team can hit.

cumberlandreds
05-03-2012, 09:41 AM
Does Votto work the pitchers exceptionally well or do they work him exceptionally carefully, as any rational pitcher would given the current weakness of the Reds' surrounding lineup? Thus A. P/PA is partly a function of the way one is pitched; and B. It seems inevitably to have a team dimension--i.e. what one batter does is affected by those around him and how pitchers work them.

I think it's a little of both. IMO if most of the Reds hittes took Votto's approach they would be much, much better.
Going on the eyeball test this team looks like a .500 team early in the season. These early stats just prove it. Can they improve those stats? Sure they can. But going on past results especially from this hitting coach and manager I'm not holding my breath.

HokieRed
05-03-2012, 09:45 AM
I think it's a little of both. IMO if most of the Reds hittes took Votto's approach they would be much, much better.
Going on the eyeball test this team looks like a .500 team early in the season. These early stats just prove it. Can they improve those stats? Sure they can. But going on past results especially from this hitting coach and manager I'm not holding my breath.

They'd be able to take Votto's approach only if they had Votto's talent. The approach one takes at the plate is a function of one's talent level as well as a matter of coaching. I think it's an interesting stat and I'm pretty much convinced we are looking like a .500 team. I'm just wondering exactly what we learn from the stat. Mostly it seems to me to be telling us our personnel is not as good as a lot of us had hoped a year or so ago. Cases in point would start with Stubbs and Heisey.

elfmanvt07
05-03-2012, 09:56 AM
They'd be able to take Votto's approach only if they had Votto's talent. The approach one takes at the plate is a function of one's talent level as well as a matter of coaching. I think it's an interesting stat and I'm pretty much convinced we are looking like a .500 team. I'm just wondering exactly what we learn from the stat. Mostly it seems to me to be telling us our personnel is not as good as a lot of us had hoped a year or so ago. Cases in point would start with Stubbs and Heisey.

For what it's worth, I've never been on the Heisey bandwagon. Frankly, I agree with this, in part. If you think your best chance to avoid an out is to swing early and put the ball in play, that's fair. However, I doubt that it's the best approach for 23 of our 25 guys.

lollipopcurve
05-03-2012, 10:05 AM
Brandon's PA against Marmol last night was an absolute joke.

It was bad. It looks to me like he's reverting to an "I hit cleanup, must hit HRs" mindset. He should be back to leadoff ASAP, using the same approach he used in that spot last year. He was grinding ABs hard, staying within himself. I partly blame Baker's lineup construction these days.

mbgrayson
05-03-2012, 10:08 AM
Thanks! Looks like most of the Reds starters are about average. Which equates to about a .500 team. That's looking like what the Reds will be this season. If the top two hitters in the lineup were at Votto's P/PA this would be a much better hitting team, IMO.

I disagree that they are 'average' at P/PA. If you go position by position, they are way below average for a number of positions. All of the outfield, for example, and catcher, SS, and 2B. The bench players are very poor as a whole, with Cairo being average.

Baseball-reference.com has team stats for P/PA HERE (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/2012-pitches-batting.shtml). The Reds currently rank 13th in the NL with a 3.70 P/PA. League average is 3.80. Interestingly, the Reds rank right above the Cardinals, even though the Cards lead the NL in many offensive categories. So, less correlation than many (including me) might have thought.

As to hitting overall so far in 2012, the Reds are 11th in the NL in batting average and OBP, 10th in the NL in runs scored, and 9th in HRs.

HokieRed
05-03-2012, 10:18 AM
2 pts.
I agree entirely with Lollipopcurve about the lineup. BP needs to go back to the leadoff, Bruce should be in the 4, and Stubbs should go either to 8th or, IMHO, to Louisville.
I'm not seeing from the P/PA stat anything about our outfielders that isn't equally obvious from their OPS numbers. We have one very good outfielder, three who are way below average offensively. Thus, are we really learning from the P/PA numbers, as seems to me is being assumed, that our outfielders (with the exception obviously of Bruce) are lousy hitters because of a lack of poor plate discipline--to be blamed on Jacoby or Dusty or somebody else--or are they just lousy hitters who are not pitched terribly carefully by opposing pitchers?

klw
05-03-2012, 10:20 AM
What is interesting for the Baseball Reference data linked mbgrayson is that the Reds are 5th in the league at swinging at the first pitch (30% vs league average of 27%) but are last at seeing 2-0 and 3-0 counts and second to worst at seeing 3-1 counts.


Edit: the #'s may have been updated from when I looked at them as it is not showing the Reds last in 3-0 counts anymore. Maybe I misread it earlier. The last in 2-0 counts is the most disturbing as it occurs in a bigger spread and really indicates the pitchers are coming after the Reds hitters early or a lack of any patience.

Kc61
05-03-2012, 10:20 AM
I think it is deceptive to look at plate discipline in a vacuum. It is related to other factors IMO.

A good contact hitter won't be afraid to go deep in a count. He knows that, even with two strikes, he will probably hit the ball somewhere.

A poor contact hitter is very afraid of two strikes. So he'll swing at anything he might be able to hit. He'll swing early to AVOID having two strikes.

So a hitter's proven ability to make contact influences his "plate discipline."

Similarly, some players trust their strike zone judgment and aren't afraid to go deep in counts. Other players don't and will swing early.

Then you have guys like, say, the former Red Juan Francisco who doesn't seem to view the walk as an acceptable outcome. So he swings early.

There are various reasons for all this. I don't think it is a Dusty Baker thing.

IMO if the Reds had better hitters overall they would have better plate discipline numbers.

HokieRed
05-03-2012, 10:24 AM
What is interesting for the Baseball Reference data linked mbgrayson is that the Reds are 5th in the league at swinging at the first pitch (30% vs league average of 27%) but are last at seeing 2-0 and 3-0 counts and second to worst at seeing 3-1 counts.

Why would a pitcher ever get to 3-0 against anyone on our club except Votto or Bruce?

fearofpopvol1
05-03-2012, 02:08 PM
Jeff S. had what, 60 something pitches in the 7th inning last night? He looked good last night, but the Reds hitters simply were not working the counts at all.

mth123
05-03-2012, 02:14 PM
They'd be able to take Votto's approach only if they had Votto's talent. The approach one takes at the plate is a function of one's talent level as well as a matter of coaching. I think it's an interesting stat and I'm pretty much convinced we are looking like a .500 team. I'm just wondering exactly what we learn from the stat. Mostly it seems to me to be telling us our personnel is not as good as a lot of us had hoped a year or so ago. Cases in point would start with Stubbs and Heisey.

Exactly. Stubbs was crummy last year when he was seeing more pitches. Stubbs put up a
.714 OPS in AAA when he saw a lot of pitches. The guy just isn't a hitter. Wasn't a hitter in the minors. Wasn't a hitter in college. He's got size and speed and tools that have everyone expecting more than his resume says we should expect.

HokieRed
05-03-2012, 02:25 PM
Exactly. Stubbs was crummy last year when he was seeing more pitches. Stubbs put up a
.714 OPS in AAA when he saw a lot of pitches. The guy just isn't a hitter. Wasn't a hitter in the minors. Wasn't a hitter in college. He's got size and speed and tools that have everyone expecting more than his resume says we should expect.

Past time for the organization to come to this conclusion. I'm starting to get more and more frustrated with Jocketty, not only for what he's brought in or traded away but for judgments made about what we have. I only wish Stubbs had been traded some time ago when he still had some value. I will say this for Walt; they were right on what they needed when they went after Michael Bourn.

RedsBaron
05-03-2012, 02:37 PM
I agree entirely with Lollipopcurve about the lineup. BP needs to go back to the leadoff, Bruce should be in the 4, and Stubbs should go either to 8th or, IMHO, to Louisville.


I agree: The first four hitters in the lineup should be Phillips, Cozart, Votto and Bruce. After that, hope the umpire is napping and send the same four guys up again. ;)

bellhead
05-03-2012, 03:32 PM
Exactly. Stubbs was crummy last year when he was seeing more pitches. Stubbs put up a
.714 OPS in AAA when he saw a lot of pitches. The guy just isn't a hitter. Wasn't a hitter in the minors. Wasn't a hitter in college. He's got size and speed and tools that have everyone expecting more than his resume says we should expect.

That was one of the main points about the book moneyball.. Scouts draft on size, speed, and tools, not on whether they can hit.:thumbup:

In his 2002 draft that's what Beane did he drafted hitters based upon their college scouts. It turned into an above average draft and would have been excellent if he would have had the money to sign everybody.

Moneyball works, the problem is the people inside baseball just don't believe in the math which says it works.

BuckeyeRedleg
05-03-2012, 03:48 PM
Exactly. Stubbs was crummy last year when he was seeing more pitches. Stubbs put up a
.714 OPS in AAA when he saw a lot of pitches. The guy just isn't a hitter. Wasn't a hitter in the minors. Wasn't a hitter in college. He's got size and speed and tools that have everyone expecting more than his resume says we should expect.

The thing about Stubbs is everyone knew what he was even in college, but it still didn't stop the Reds from taking him (over Lincecum.....sorry I couldn't resist) and thinking they could change his approach/swing (which they haven't been able to do). It's seems he's the same hitter he was in college. How someone cannot get through to him to change something (stance/chokeup/approach/anything) is beyond me for making such an investment and thumbing their noses at such an obvious pick like Lincecum (sorry again).

bucksfan2
05-03-2012, 03:49 PM
That was one of the main points about the book moneyball.. Scouts draft on size, speed, and tools, not on whether they can hit.:thumbup:

In his 2002 draft that's what Beane did he drafted hitters based upon their college scouts. It turned into an above average draft and would have been excellent if he would have had the money to sign everybody.

Moneyball works, the problem is the people inside baseball just don't believe in the math which says it works.

PED's work as well.

The Moneyball aspect in the book is alive and well in today's game.

757690
05-03-2012, 05:14 PM
One aspect to take into account is that last year in the NL, hitters hit .258 when they put the ball into play on one of the first three pitches they saw. They hit .190 when they saw more than three pitches.

VR
05-03-2012, 05:26 PM
When is the last time a Red had an RBI on a single?

RedsManRick
05-03-2012, 05:34 PM
Jeff S. had what, 60 something pitches in the 7th inning last night? He looked good last night, but the Reds hitters simply were not working the counts at all.

If a guy is pounding the zone and you struggle to put the ball in play, that's gonna happen. And that seems to be the story of the season so far.

Looking at the Fangraphs data:

- I see a team that is better than average at laying off pitches out of the zone and middle of the pack on pitches in the zone. So they aren't overly aggressive.

- I see a team that is below average at making contact on balls out of the zone, better than average at making contact in the zone. Considering than more than 2/3 of swings are at pitches in the zone and their swing and miss rate is average, we can't really say they have a problem making contact.

- I see a team that is being thrown more pitches in the strike zone than anybody else in the NL and a team that ends up in an 0-1 count more than anybody else.



NL Rank
O-Swing%: 28.7% T-5th Lowest
Z-Swing%: 64.6% 8th Lowest

O-Contact: 64.3% 12th Highest
Z-Contact: 87.5% 5th Highest

Zone%: 48.4% 1st Highest
F-Strike%: 65.1% 1st Highest
SwStr%: 9.2% 9th Lowest

I'm all about being selective, working the count and getting the right pitch to hit (and taking a walk if you don't get it). But I'm struggling to find evidence of a discipline problem in their team-level stats. Rather, I see a team that is being thrown a lot of strikes and has simply has had some bad batted ball "luck". Give them 20 points of BABIP and you have an average to above average offense. It's still not elite by any stretch, but nor is it flailing.

HokieRed
05-03-2012, 06:31 PM
Being thrown a lot of strikes fits precisely the way I project teams pitching them. Be extremely careful with Votto, relatively careful with Bruce, throw everybody else stuff in the zone.