Friday, July 19, 2013

Evaluating Futures Game Hitters

Continuing the look at the Futures Game from a Pitch F/X perspective, in this post, I'll look at the pitches that the hitters in the game saw and swung at, just to get an idea of general plate discipline. Then, I'll compare how the hitters reacted to pitches versus how the MLB All Stars reacted in their game.

Here are where the hitters in the Futures Game were pitched on average, by hitter

Obviously small sample size rules the day, but C.J Cron, Miguel Sano, and Billy Hamilton were all pitched very low on average. George Springer and A.J. Jimenez were pitched very high on average. Still, we see the two, maybe three, general clusters of where most hitters were pitched.

How hitters react to where they are pitched seems to be more important (especially since I doubt the Futures Game pitchers were given real in depth scouting reports on where to pitch to these guys. I imagine that they just pitched to their strengths, though I could be wrong) than just where they are pitched. So, here are where the individuals swung at pitches on average

This graph actually has more uniformity than the first graph. I wanted to see which hitters had the the biggest difference between the pitches they saw, and the pitches they swung at, so here is a graph showing the horizontal (should be the blue) and the vertical difference (should be the red) between the average location of their swings versus the average location of all the pitches they saw:

 Maikel Franco had very little of a difference in which pitch he swung at versus which pitches he saw on average, while Garin Cecchini had no difference between where he was pitched on average and which pitch he swung at. James McCann, who had problems chasing pitches well outside the strike zone, also had little difference. Brandon Nimmo had perhaps the biggest diffference, at least horizontally, while A.J. Jimenez seemed to be the most discriminate vertically.

Broken down by platoon, here are the average pitch that was swung at, versus the average pitch that was a called strike (entire graph is strike zone)

Perhaps just because there were very few left-handed hitter called strikes, we see the biggest difference. Right-handers, on average, waited for the ball to get slightly more inside and higher before swinging. The average called strike was not on the outside part of the plate, which was surprising.

Compare this to the MLB All-Star Game, where the called strike tendencies make more sense:

 The swing tendencies also make sense, as hitters on both sides waited for the ball to get more in, with right-handers making it get significantly higher on average before swinging.

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