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Edinson's Adjustment

With Edinson Volquez signing with the Reds today, Cincinnati avoided arbitration with all their eligible players.  The Reds hope their young right-hander returns to his 2008 form, which yielded a 3.21 ERA as he posted a 17-6 record.  Despite not pitching much in the last two season, Volquez made an adjustment that should help in the long run.

In 2008, Edinson avoided the center of the plate when pitching against left-handed batters:

Edinson Volquez, pitch frequency vs. LHB, 2008Lefties only managed a .246/.340/.356 slash line against Volquez that year.  He walked a few, but with low power, that didn't hurt him much.

Since that season, however, Volquez stopped throwing inside to lefties:

Edinson Volquez, pitch frequency vs. RHB, 2009-2010This pattern produced a slash line with a higher OBP, but lower contact numbers, .217/.344/.328.  That seems to be a worthwhile tradeoff if Volquez can keep that pattern going.


The Next Cain?

Andrew Cashner made is major league debut for the Cubs in 2010 and his performance was less than stellar.  He walked a high number of batters and gave up eight home runs in just 54 1/3 innings. He only allowed three home runs in his three seasons in the minors.  Andrew also showed improving control as he progressed through the Cubs system, so there is hope for the first round pick improving in the future.

One trait Cashman showed which I believe will benefit him in his career is a rising pitch:

Andrew Cashner pitch movement, 2010.Note that this graph does not show his pitches actually rising.  His pitches drop less than expected, and that can cause a batter to get under a ball too much.  The above chart reminds me of Matt Cain:

Matt Cain pitch movement, 2008-2010.During the playoffs, I discussed how Matt's movement helps keep his home run rate low despite a high percentage of fly balls.  Andrew actually did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground in 2010, with 50% of the balls in play against him grounders.  As his career progresses, I'm curious to see if his rising pitches turn most of his fly balls into outs, or if outbound windy days at Wrigley field take their toll.


Flying Francoeur

Yesterday, David DeJesus's clutch hitting came under examination.  Today's post looks at an opposite player, someone who over the last three seasons hit worse with men on base than the bases empty.  Jeff Francoeur pops up as a good choice.

DeJesus became more focused on hitting line drives with men on base.  Francoeur's focus turns to fly balls.


Jeff Francoeur, 2008-2010
Batted Ball Type Pct. Bases Empty Pct. Men On
Ground 42% 41%
Line drive 20% 17%
Fly 28% 32%
Pop 10% 10%


Jeff tries for the big home run with men on base.  The problem is, he doesn't hit the ball as far.

Jeff Francoeur, fly ball distance, bases empty, 2008-2010When Jeff gets a ball in the strike zone with the bases empty, he tends to drive it a long way, long enough in many spots for a home run down the line.

Jeff Francoeur, fly ball distance, men on base, 2008-2010Notice that unless Jeff gets the ball right in the upper middle of the zone, he only drives it far enough to fly out.  His focus on tyring to hit home runs is causing him to hit fewer home runs and hit for less power.

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