The Seitzer Effect: Walks and Strikeouts

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 20: Salvador Perez #13 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his two-run home run with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer #36 and Eric Hosmer #35 in the fifth inning during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 20, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Kevin Sietzer joined the Royals in October 2008 as the hitting coach. I am going to look today on at how the Royals plate disipline has changed since he has been taken over.

It is extremely tough to get any kind of definite data on any possible changes he has had on the team's hitting. Players come and go. They mature and see their skills decline. Any of the data presented here should be taken with a bit of skepticism.

To begin with, here are the walk and strike out rates for the 4 season before Seitzer was signed and the 4 seasons after the signing:

Year BB% K%
2012 7.2% 18.0%
2011 7.1% 17.7%
2010 7.6% 16.1%
2009 7.5% 19.7%
4 Year Average 7.4% 17.9%



2008 6.4% 17.9%
2007 7.0% 19.3%
2006 7.6% 18.6%
2005 7.0% 18.3%
4 Year Average 7.0% 18.5%

The teams, when Seitzer was the hitting coach, struck out less and walked more than the teams without him.

With so many players coming and going from the team, it could just be a change in talent causing the changes. Here are 4 players that had a couple years under Seitzer and few years under another hitting coach. I looked at only their seasons from 2007 to 2012:


w/ Seitzer
w/o Seitzer
Change Under Seitzer
Name BB% K% BB% K% BB% K%
Gordon 10.7% 20.4% 8.4% 21.9% 2.3% -1.5%
Butler 8.0% 13.9% 6.6% 13.4% 1.5% 0.6%
Francoeur 4.9% 18.5% 4.5% 16.6% 0.4% 1.9%
Betancourt 4.0% 10.6% 2.6% 8.6% 1.4% 2.0%

All 4 players saw an improvement in their BB% under Seitzer which is inline with the team stats. The change in strikeouts is mixed. As a team, the K% dropped, but only Gordon saw is K% drop. Butler saw a small increase while Frenchy and Yuni (I feel like Ned using the -y names) had significant increases. The two teams closest in personnel, 2008 and 2009, saw an increase in their K% after Seitzer was signed.

There seems to be some evidence that the Royals have more patience at the plate with Seitzer as the hitting in taking walks. Changes he has had on the team's strikeout rate are less evident.

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