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Entries in NLCS (10)


Ryan Braun Taking Advantage

Ryan Braun leads all 2011 Postseason participants with 13 hits. His .624 weighted on base average also leads the postseason along with his 25 total bases.  Braun has gone deep twice, one behind six players tied for first, and his two doubles put him in a tie for first with Albert Pujols.

Taking a look at how he's been pitched to so far, it's no surprise he's doing so well at the plate.

Click image to enlarge.

In the regular season, Braun did a lot of damage on balls over the middle of the plate, not surprisingly. But he also killed pitches down in the strike zone, as well as down and in at the knees.  So far in this postseason, pitchers have basically thrown to those locations.

The areas Braun had any difficulty with were pitches up and away and pitches inside.  However, as the heat map indicates, pitchers haven't thrown to those areas much.  In fact, they really haven't thrown Braun much of anything up in the zone at all.

If opposing pitchers continue to throw to Braun's strengths, don't expect his offensive output to slow any time soon.


Uribe's Unique HR

In Game 6 of the NLCS, Juan Uribe hit an 8th inning HR off Ryan Madson, breaking a 2-2 tie and leading the San Francisco Giants to victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.  How rare was this HR?  Let's take a look.

After retiring both Pat Burrell and Cody Ross, Ryan Madson threw Juan Uribe a first pitch slider.  Uribe went the other way with the pitch, sending it over the right field wall.

Juan Uribe's HR off Ryan Madson in Game 6

Juan Uribe's ISO vs. RHP Sliders since 2008Since 2008, Uribe has hit 13 HR's off right handed sliders, and Madson's was the only one to go opposite field.  In fact, Uribe had hit no opposite field HR's at all since 2008 before facing Madson in Game 6.  And it was the second HR that Madson allowed to a RHB on a slider since 2008.

Juan Uribe's HR Locations since 2008


No Easy Answer to Jayson Werth

Soon-to-be free agent Jayson Werth continued to pad his resume with the all-important insurance run last night in Game Five of the NLCS with a solo home run in the ninth inning off of Giants right-handed reliever Ramon Ramirez. The right-handed Werth took Ramirez to the opposite field, clearing the 24-foot high wall at AT&T Park, putting his team ahead 4-2. Werth had already made noise earlier in the game with one of the best outfield assists of the 2010 season, and had been one of the only Phillies doing anything offensively in the playoffs to that point.

Represented by Scott Boras, it seems a foregone conclusion that Werth is playing his final games as a Philadelphia Phillie -- and for good reason: hitters of Werth's caliber are very rare.

Over the past three calendar years, Werth has the fifth-highest wOBA among all Major League outfielders. At a ridiculous .389, Werth trails only Matt Holliday, Josh Hamilton, Shin-Soo Choo, and Ryan Braun. In 2009, Werth led all Major Leaguers in average pitches seen per plate appearance (4.5) and finished third this year (4.37).

With a hitter so patient and yet so potent, how do you pitch to him? It's a good question, one that opposing pitchers have yet to answer. As the following charts show, Werth has tremendous plate coverage and great power to all fields against both left- and right-handed pitchers.

Jayson Werth's in play ISO vs. RHP

Jayson Werth's in play ISO vs. LHP

He hits hard stuff (93rd percentile in wOBA, 2010) and soft stuff (95th percentile) alike. He even hits well with two strikes (97th). If there is an easy way to handle Jayson Werth, it's not obvious. Among the 14 pitchers he has faced 20 or more times, only Tim Redding, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez, and Chris Volstad have had impressive results. Aside from mediocrity, there is nothing the four pitchers have in common.

When Werth hits free agency after the post-season, teams will be bidding for the services of what appears to be an as-yet unsolved riddle -- a very productive, multi-talented unsolved riddle.

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