Plate Discipline Half Way Through

Plate Discipline Half Way Through

As the halfway point of the season approaches, it is interesting to notice certain plate discipline trends.  How a batter approaches his plate appearances can tell us a lot of information about his current successes or failures.  In this post, we will look at the 166 qualified hitters and their plate discipline numbers curtesy of Fangraphs.

 

First, we will look at the leaderboard of the difference between a batters’ in zone swing percentage and out of zone swing percentage:

Name Team O-Swing% Z-Swing% Difference
Joey Votto Reds 18.40% 74.30% 55.90%
Brandon Belt Giants 22.30% 75.10% 52.80%
Jed Lowrie Athletics 24.60% 75.80% 51.20%
Corey Seager Dodgers 25.40% 76.40% 51.00%
George Springer Astros 22.80% 72.70% 49.90%
Steven Souza Jr. Rays 24.20% 73.20% 49.00%
Matt Joyce Athletics 19.20% 68.10% 48.90%
Miguel Sano Twins 26.80% 75.00% 48.20%
Khris Davis Athletics 28.20% 74.40% 46.20%
Brandon Crawford Giants 33.30% 79.30% 46.00%

 

No big surprise that Joey Votto leads this category again.  He has long been viewed as having the best plate discipline in baseball.  Here we see many great hitters. Only one of these ten players have a wRC+ under 100 and that is Brandon Crawford.  He has an anemic 61 wRC+.  The next worse is Matt Joyce at 102.  Crawford is considered one of the best hitting shortstops in the league.  To his credit, he has had some bad luck.  His BABIP is at a low .251 which is much lower than his career normal.  The good news is that Crawford is swinging at a lot of pitches in the zone compared to out of zone.  The bad news is that he is only hitting .258 on pitches in the zone.  He does however have a .277 BABIP in the zone which should rise.

Now here is the contact leaderboard of the difference between inside contact percentage and outside contact percentage:

 

Name Team O-Contact% Z-Contact% Difference
Corey Seager Dodgers 51.00% 88.90% 37.90%
Alex Gordon Royals 52.40% 88.90% 36.50%
Joey Gallo Rangers 39.00% 74.80% 35.80%
Aaron Judge Yankees 45.20% 80.90% 35.70%
Mark Reynolds Rockies 42.20% 77.80% 35.60%
Miguel Sano Twins 40.00% 74.20% 34.20%
Khris Davis Athletics 45.80% 79.60% 33.80%
Giancarlo Stanton Marlins 50.80% 83.80% 33.00%
Jake Lamb Diamondbacks 54.80% 87.40% 32.60%
Brandon Drury Diamondbacks 59.00% 90.50% 31.50%

On this leaderboard, we see some similar names from the last leaderboard meaning that these players not only have a great sense of their zones, but also make contact in the same way.  More contact in the zone will more times result in harder contact.  Therefore, there are names like Judge, Stanton, and Sano on this list.  The names on both lists include Seager, Sano, and Davis.  All three players are having very good seasons.  Notice the name on top. Cory Seager.  He is following up an impressive Rookie of the Year campaign with another impressive season worthy of MVP consideration.  He currently is hitting .298 and has a 140 wRC+.  Seager is also 5th among qualified hitters in hard hit percentage.

At the All-Star break, these are the half way numbers for plate discipline.  It does not give the entire story of a hitter, but it gives us a clue of how hitters approach their plate appearances.  A lot of really talented hitters are on these leader boards including Judge, Stanton, Sano, and Seager.  Keep this in mind as the second half of the season approaches.

 

7/9/17

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