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Thread: Bruce and plate discipline

  1. #1
    It's showtime! RedEye's Avatar
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    Bruce and plate discipline

    Following the threads in the minor league forum for a couple years, I somehow came up with the idea that The Boss had a plate discipline problem. If he had an Achilles heel, it was supposed to be walks. So now I look at his stat line, and 41 AB into his ML career, he has 9 BB. Of course, this could be just a result of the notorious small sample size error made by many fans, but watching him play the game, I have to say that he actually seems to have good-to-very-good patience when he's up there, even against tough pitchers and when he doesn't get a hit.

    So I find myself wondering about this topic in general. Was our whole "theory" about Bruce's "lack of plate discipline" just a mirage caused by the fact that he was facing inferior minor league pitching? Has he all of a sudden decided to be a more selective hitter now that he is in MLB? Alternatively, is this just a function of the pitchers not yet knowing how to pitch to him? Will these stats even out as he sees more AB in the weeks to come?

    My apologies for jumping the gun after only 41 AB, but I'm really curious as to what type of player the Reds have here. We know he's good, but how good?
    "Iíll kind of have a foot on the back of my own butt. Thatís just how I do things.Ē -- Bryan Price, 10/22/2013

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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Bruce has always had decent, but not exceptional, plate discipline. A lot of folks got worked up about his plate discipline because he didn't walk AT ALL in Louisville this year, but his career walk rate is average to slightly above average.

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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Well, in addition to the lack of walks, he was also striking out at a fairly high rate in the minors. So, the fact that he has barely struck out at all and has taken a lot of walks is definitely eye opening. Will it continue? We'll see. But it's VERY encouraging.

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    Member Spring~Fields's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    So for a batter being able to see the ball and to hit the ball where a fielder isnít able to field it while avoiding making less outs vs another batter is not an indication of plate discipline?

    What if player A strikes out a lot, and doesnít walk a lot, and player B doesnít walk a lot, does hit a lot and strikes out the same amount of times as player A, which player has the greater plate discipline?

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    Following the threads in the minor league forum for a couple years, I somehow came up with the idea that The Boss had a plate discipline problem.
    The problem was folks putting together scouting reports based only upon the stats they could find. This is exhibit A on why you have to see a player play to actually formulate a decent scouting report. After seeing him play it is clear he has a good idea of the strike zone. The reason he wasn't drawing walks in AAA was because he could hit .364 swinging at the pitches they were throwing him. If you can accomplish that, why leave the bat on your shoulder?

    We also got reports that Keppinger couldn't play SSthat Volquez didn't have enough pitches to be successful as a starter and Votto was a hack at 1B. Don't believe what you read about these guys especially from people who have never seen them play. Wait 'till you see them yourself before formulating an opinion.

  7. #6
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Here are my thoughts and theories.

    After watching Jay in AAA this year for about 80% of his AB's it seems he wasn't chasing much at all. Every now and again he would go out of the zone low to get something but that was about it. He seemed to expand his zone to the outside by about 6-8 inches at times and that seems where most of his strikeouts came on.

    Now, with that knowledge at hand, here is my theory. He didn't respect pitchers in the minor leagues and knew a lot more often than not he could get strong wood on those pitches just off the plate. Now that he is in the majors, he respects the pitchers up here and he isn't trying to get that pitch 6 inches off the plate and instead of swinging at it now, he is taking it and no isn't missing on some swings and instead taking balls. Leads to a cut down in strikeouts and a rise in walks.

    Thats my theory, but to my eye it is exactly what is happening.

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    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    We also got reports that Keppinger couldn't play SSthat Volquez didn't have enough pitches to be successful as a starter and Votto was a hack at 1B. Don't believe what you read about these guys especially from people who have never seen them play. Wait 'till you see them yourself before formulating an opinion.
    That's ALL stuff out of scouting reports.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    That's ALL stuff out of scouting reports.
    That "ignore" didn't last long. Bummer.

    You're right about the scouting reports. Just remember who gave 'em to you so you'll know when they give you another to read it with skepticism.

  10. #9
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    That "ignore" didn't last long. Bummer.

    You're right about the scouting reports. Just remember who gave 'em to you so you'll know when they give you another to read it with skepticism.
    Well, outside of the Volquez one.... the other two seem to be on target. Keppinger isn't a shortstop and Votto still has his defensive problems.

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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Well, outside of the Volquez one.... the other two seem to be on target. Keppinger isn't a shortstop and Votto still has his defensive problems.
    Right and actually I don't remember any scouts proclaiming Volquez didn't have enough pitches to be a successful starter. His scouting reports were in fact all about velocity and stuff.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Well, outside of the Volquez one.... the other two seem to be on target. Keppinger isn't a shortstop and Votto still has his defensive problems.
    I disagree. Kepp has limited range but he more than makes up for it with steadiness. After suffering through the Felipe Lopez/Pokey Reese years at SS, I welcome Kepp's steadiness at SS. Ripken won a Gold Glove at SS with similar skills.

    As for 1B, Votto is still learning but I haven't seem a Reds 1B with the skills to throw out a runner at 2B on a bunt attempt like Votto in a longtime. I've seen him make other very athletic plays at 1B. The bottomline is I don't consider him a liability defensively at 1B after watching him play, although others may disagree citing his high error total.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    I disagree. Kepp has limited range but he more than makes up for it with steadiness. After suffering through the Felipe Lopez/Pokey Reese years at SS, I welcome Kepp's steadiness at SS. Ripken won a Gold Glove at SS with similar skills.

    As for 1B, Votto is still learning but I haven't seem a Reds 1B with the skills to throw out a runner at 2B on a bunt attempt like Votto in a longtime. I've seen him make other very athletic plays at 1B. The bottomline is I don't consider him a liability defensively at 1B after watching him play, although others may disagree citing his high error total.
    Kepp has limited range but makes up for it with steadiness? Thats a terrible way of trying to convince someone that he is a shortstop. Thats like saying Griffey is ok in RF because he doesn't make many errors and catches almost everything to him. As for Gold Gloves, don't get me started on how useless those things are.

    Votto is still learning at 1B, but his skills at 1B are below average. With time he will likely be fine, but for now he still has issues over there.

  14. #13
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Doug, I agree with your hypothesis. It appeared to me that Bruce was taking a bit of a "I'm down here to hit" approach. Now that he's up, he's being more careful and not expanding his zone as much. I'm excited to see that both he and Votto are better contact hitters than I anticipated.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  15. #14
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Kepp has limited range but makes up for it with steadiness? Thats a terrible way of trying to convince someone that he is a shortstop. Thats like saying Griffey is ok in RF because he doesn't make many errors and catches almost everything to him. As for Gold Gloves, don't get me started on how useless those things are.

    Votto is still learning at 1B, but his skills at 1B are below average. With time he will likely be fine, but for now he still has issues over there.
    I guess we have to consider "degrees". To what degree is Jr a statue in RF? ditto for Kepp at SS.

    Kepp's range at SS last year was pretty much exactly what A Gon's was. I would argue it was a bit below avg. Thus I would say if your range is a bit below and your error rate is a bit above that does not equate to a bad overall fielder.

    In Griff's case he not only is a statue out there in RF, he also drops routine flyballs and (arguably) does not get charged for errors when maybe he should have.

    I agree with your attitude towards GG awards. My point there was to illustrate that fielding is very subjective. It's in the eye of the beholder.

  16. #15
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Bruce and plate discipline

    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Ray View Post
    I guess we have to consider "degrees". To what degree is Jr a statue in RF? ditto for Kepp at SS.

    Kepp's range at SS last year was pretty much exactly what A Gon's was. I would argue it was a bit below avg. Thus I would say if your range is a bit below and your error rate is a bit above that does not equate to a bad overall fielder.

    I agree with your attitude towards GG awards. My point there was to illustrate that fielding is very subjective. It's in the eye of the beholder.
    Kepps range is below average, his ability to turn the double play is below average and over a small sample his error rate is slightly above average. Still makes him a below average defender at SS.


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