56 PA, 8 for 46,
10 9 walks (and a sac fly), 15 strikeouts. 3 extra base hits (none since April 6th). Through the shaky start to Kila Kaaihue's season, it seems as if pitchers don't throw him any fastballs. It's almost like there's an obvious hole in Kila's game that hitting guru Kevin Seitzer hasn't fixed yet.
In 56 PA, Kila has seen 213 pitches. He let 134 go by, 89 for balls and 45 for strikes. He swung at 79, missing 26 times and making contact 53 times (21 foulballs, 24 outs, and 8 hits). A split of 63% to 37% in favor of letting a pitch go by.
As for the first pitch, 28 times it has been a ball, 22 times it has been a strike looking, 2 strikes swinging, 3 balls hit into play (all for outs), 2 fouls. Or in other terms, Kila has swung at the first pitch 8 times in 56 PA.
(note: There's a 2 pitch unofficial PA that ended with Billy Butler being thrown out on a stolen base being counted here, so if you take out swinging at a curveball and missing and letting a fastball go for a ball, you get 7 swings in 56 PA)
But what do you throw a slumping hitter?Kila has seen 104 fastballs so far in 2011. 43 were balls. 20 were strikes looking, 5 were strikes swinging, 36 were hit (14 foulballs, 6 hits, 16 outs).
Kila has seen 109 non-fastballs so far. 46 were balls, 25 were strikes looking, 21 were strikes swinging, 17 were hit (7 foulballs, 2 hits, 8 outs).
So 80% of the pitches he swung at and missed were not fastballs.
What did he see on the first pitch?
29 first pitch fastballs and 28 non-fastballs.
Of the fastballs, 12 were balls, 13 were strikes looking, 3 were hit into play, and 1 foul ball.
Of the non-fastballs, 16 balls, 9 strikes looking, 2 strikes swinging, and 1 foul ball
But back to the strikes swinging, an account of what he swung at and missed.
Fastballs missed: 86mph (Weaver), 97mph (Thornton), 90mph (Scherzer), 89mph (Porcello), 90mph (Porcello)
Nonfastballs missed: 77mph changeup (Weaver), 86mph cutter (Haren), 85mph cutter (Haren), 85mph splitter (Haren), 81mph slider (Santana), 85mph changeup (Floyd), 81mph slider (Sale), 82mph slider (Sale), 84mph slider (Santos), 81mph changeup (Buerhle), 76mph curve (Coke), 76mph curve (Coke), 78mph curve (Coke), 79mph slider (Coke), 89mph slider (Gonzalez), 89mph slider (Gonzalez), 88mph sinker (Pauley), 89mph changeup (Hernandez), 89mph changeup (Hernandez), 87mph slider (Pineda), and a 87mph slider (Pineda)
If Kila Ka'aihue had nightmares, they'd involve Phil Coke.
Including the Phil Coke game and since that game, Kila has seen 94 pitches, 37 fastballs and 57 offspeed pitches, in 24 PA. A reversal from the first 32 PA where he saw 67 fastballs and 52 non-fastballs.
During this reversal of strategy, Kila has 3 singles, 7 strikeouts, and 4 walks.
Strike Threes to Kila: 77mph changeup, swinging (Weaver), 85mph cutter, swinging (Haren), 85mph splitter, swinging (Haren), 81mph slider, swinging (Santana), 85mph changeup, swinging (Floyd), 82mph slider, swinging (Sale), 84mph slider, swinging (Santos), 81mph changeup, swinging (Buerhle), 76mph curve, swinging (Coke), 76mph curve, swinging (Coke), 79mph slider, swinging (Coke), 90mph fastball, swinging (Porcello), 89mph slider, swinging (Gonzalez), 89mph changeup, swinging (Hernandez), 87mph slider, swinging (Pineda)
Not a misprint, every one of the 15 strikeouts has been swinging. Zero "strike 3 lookings" for Kila. He swung and missed 26 times, and 15 of them were for the 3rd strike.
But can he hit a curveball?!!!?!?!!??!
The curveball thing springs from people who really enjoyed Major League. Kila has seen 25 curveballs so far with 19 coming during/after the Phil Coke experience. Coke threw 6 curves to Kila, racking up 6 strikes. Then Brad Thomas threw 4 curves in one PA and walked Kila on 4 pitches. Enrique Gonzalez got a curve for a strike against Kila. Daniel Schlereth threw 4 curves in 4 pitches and gave up a sacrifice fly. Overall, Kila has seen 25 curves and only 12 were some variant of a strike (swinging, called, foul ball). So over half of the curves thrown to Kila were called balls. In other words, Kila hasn't hit any curves, and over half of the curves thrown to him weren't worth hitting.
The problem is offspeed pitches.
If you go through the list of strike-three pitches, 14 were off-speed. 4 changeups. 1 cutter. 1 splitter. 6 sliders. 2 curves.
So maybe that slider is a bit of a problem
The term used for Kila was "Slider-speed bat" which some people think means "he can hit sliders but not fastballs". I can't blame them for thinking that because a lot of baseball scout terms were translated from a unique dialect. But slider-speed bat means "hits slow fastballs", not "hits sliders".
Kila has seen 28 sliders, by my count. 11 were balls and 17 were a variant of a strike (which means 11 balls, 11 strike variants, 6 strike threes)
If Kila Ka'aihue can't hit offspeed pitches, he will not make it to the 4th of July in Kansas City. In fact, he might not make it to the debut of Mike Moustakas unless he turns it around. Kila's hitting has made himself into a bit of a liability. See the example of Billy Butler being intentionally walked 5 times in 15 games to face Kila Ka'aihue. And Kila failing to do anything with those intentional walks.
Kila Ka'aihue is not guaranteed a job purely because he is a first baseman. If he doesn't hit by Moustakas Day, he's the first against the wall. Wilson Betemit would then get to handle a lot of the work at DH with Moustakas at 3rd everyday. This is a scenario i've been mentioning for months, but people just haven't realized how logical and likely it could become. Kila is going to be demoted due to Moustakas if Kila can't hit, or for Hosmer in 2012 if Kila does hit. (Unless Moustakas gets a job teaching summer school in Sarpy County, he will be up before Hosmer)
What could be done until Moustakas day? I read of Kila batting 3rd to "get better pitches", but do you really think the idea of Kila being on first with Butler at-bat is that scary to pitchers? Specially when you consider the whole groundball double play thing that Butler could do with slower runners on 1st. Not to mention the whole "seeing better pitches" thing is dubious. The best thing that can be done is making better judgment calls on breaking pitches. Kila Ka'aihue is a very patient hitter, unless he has has 2 strikes or it's an important at-bat, then he either ends the at-bat quickly with an out or strikes out swinging.
In other words: Just chill, don't press, hit strikes, and work on that whole slider/offspeed giant hole in your game.
But if Kila starts getting randomly benched v. RH starters before Moustakas Day, he's screwed and living on limited time. So he should get all the starts in the 7 games with Cleveland (a team without a single
RH LH starter) but I can see him getting benched against a CJ Wilson next weekend unless he is on a hot streak.
Here's the list of pitches, with the speeds and types that Kila has faced so far this year.
|04/09/11||2.5||Coke (LH)||CB78KS||FB89B||Butler CS||LOL
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