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« Losing Velocity | Main | Too Fast for Pat »

Bad Ball Hitters

2010 Top Ten Power Hitters on Pitches Outside of the Strike Zone
(min. 750 pitches)

League average slugging percentage on pitches out of the strike zone last year was around .250. Rafael Furcal is the one name that pops out in this list. Unlike the other names in the top ten (and most all in the top 25), Furcal is not a power hitter. He's never hit more than 15 home runs in any season, and has amassed a total of 23 in his last 3 seasons of 400 plate appearances or more.

The switch hitting Furcal has always had more power from the right side of the plate (.400 as LHB, .447 as RHB), and most of his power on pitches out of the strike zone last year came from the right side. Three of his eight HRs from last year came on pitches out of the strike zone from the right side.

For a singles hitter like Furcal, you'd expect him to carry a high batting average on outside of the zone pitches, and his .263 average ranked him tenth last year. And his average on line drives off pitches out of the zone was a lofty .917 as well.

However, what was most surprising was his low batting average on ground balls. In his prime, Furcal was one of the faster players in the game, swiping 226 bases through his first 7 seasons in the majors. Furcal is still fairly fast at this point in his career compared to the average major leaguer, and speedy players tend to have better batting averages on ground balls. However, Furcal only managed a .115 ground ball average on balls out of the zone last year (.258 overall on GB). With 40% of the out of strike zone balls in play coming on the ground, his place in the top ten of this list is that much more impressive. He was doing it with the stick, and not his legs.

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