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Royal Rumblings - 5/10/12

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I am hurting for topics today. Is there any data you would like to see looked at? Preferably Royals related. If not Royals, try to make it baseball. If not not baseball, I might still give it a shot.

Hochevar in the Zone

I have heard too many ramblings over the last couple of days from fans and radio hosts on Luke Hochevar leaving the ball up in the zone. As usual, I will have to put some facts to the statements. Here is how Luke has done with fastballs only in the top half of the strike zone and the lower half since coming into the league:

Bottom Half Top Half
Swing and Miss% 8.6% 8.3%
AVG on All Batted Balls 0.375 0.300
SLG on Batted Balls 0.501 0.531
HR/Batted Ball 2.8% 4.3%

It is kind of a mixed bag of results with Hochevar's placement of his fastball in the strike zone. His Swing and Miss % are about the same. In the bottom of the zone, more balls turn into hits and in the top half the hits are like to lead to more bases. He is not necessarily good either way.

Gordon's BABIP

A few days ago, I looked at Hosmer's possible struggles because of the infield shift. It was mentioned that Alex Gordon was seeing the shift also. So here is a look, using his BABIP values, to see if the shift is having any effect on Gordon.

If I remember correctly, last season (2011) was the first that Gordon started regularly seeing the shift. It seems like the shift has had some effect by looking at the numbers (GB BABIP). He may have seen the shift as early as 2010.

Year BABIP xBABIP Grounders Liners Flies Pull Center Opposite
2012 0.314 0.326 0.132 0.750 0.167 0.233 0.405 0.263
2011 0.358 0.333 0.251 0.757 0.225 0.310 0.450 0.330
2010 0.254 0.322 0.132 0.667 0.111 0.333 0.154 0.239
2009 0.276 0.292 0.269 0.647 0.114 0.261 0.257 0.314
2008 0.309 0.311 0.271 0.658 0.172 0.360 0.313 0.227
2007 0.303 0.304 0.233 0.709 0.167 0.338 0.267 0.296

The shift does seem to bring down the number ground balls going for hits, but his line drive numbers are up the last two season. Here are the %'s on where he has hit his line drives

Years Pull Center Opposite
2007 – 2009 42% 35% 23%
2011 – 2012 37% 37% 25%

Alex is doing a better job the last couple of years of spreading his line drives around. The shift will affect his AVG because less ground balls will go for hits. He has been able to continue have his line drives go for hits.