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Chronicles of Reddick's Plate Discipline

While Oakland isn't quite a post-apocalyptic planet at risk of destruction from invading Necromongers, the A's have blown up their roster in hopes of a better future one day in San Jose. Trevor Cahill, Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey were dealt for a gaggle of young players, including former Red Sox outfielder Josh Reddick.  

Reddick, 25, isn't a franchise building block, but he's big league-ready and will get a chance to prove himself at least as Oakland's starting right fielder against right-handed pitching. Happily for the A's, Reddick showed much more polish at the plate in 2011 and boosted his walk rate as a result.

In two brief major league trials with Boston in 2009 and 2010, Reddick looked lost. He drew just three walks in 125 plate appearances (2.4 percent) and struck out 32 times (25.6 percent). The lefty batter went up looking to batter shoulder and eye-level pitches thrown high out of the strike zone. Check out Reddick's swing rate by pitch location, and then the league average for lefty hitters:

Reddick's swing rate by pitch location, 2009-2010

Average swing rate by pitch location for left-handed hitters, 2009-2010

Reddick went after 34 percent of pitches thrown out of the zone in 2009 and 2010, compared to the 27-28 percent league average for non-pitchers.

In 2011, Reddick returned to Triple-A Pawtucket and worked the count like never before. He walked in 14.3 percent of his plate appearances with the PawSox, versus just 5.5 percent at that level the previous two seasons. Some of that might have been pitchers treading cautiously as Reddick crushed the ball (14 homers in 231 plate appearances), but StatCorner shows he saw nearly four pitches per plate appearance and cut his overall swing rate from about 50 percent to 42 percent.

That refined approach partially carried over to the big leagues, as Reddick walked in 6.8 percent of his  278 plate appearances and cut his K rate to 18 percent. He still got a little jumpy against high-and-tight pitches, but he stopped swinging at offerings he practically had to jump at to make contact with:


Reddick's swing rate by pitch location, 2011

Reddick's chase rate fell to 29 percent. Not fantastic, but certainly passable considering the solid power he showed in his third Red Sox trial (seven homers and a .177 Isolated Power).

While Reddick won't play as big of a role in the (Insert City Name Here) Athletics' future as other trade acquisitions like Jarrod Parker, Brad Peacock, A.J. Cole and Derek Norris, he has a chance to be a cheap, decently effective outfielder if his plate approach continues to evolve.

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