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Steve already touched on Jeremy Greenhouse’s fantastic work over at Baseball Analysts of using linear weights on strike zone location for 2009 batters, and found a disturbing trend that outside of Pujols, Holliday and Schumaker, the Cardinals seemed to have done an awfully poor job on smacking a pitch down the middle when it comes. I thought it would be fun to put together some visualizations of the entire zone for the main members of the lineup and their run values per 100 swings for the 2009 season.

Here ya go -

Skip made his hay off of driving pitches down the middle, but seemed to sort of struggle with everything else, and was especially susceptible to high and inside pitches.

Rasmus liked low and in, high and away, but didn’t do much with anything else.

So there was a glitch in The Machine, and that’s pitches low and away, and low pitches in general. It’s not as if Pujols will be legging out a lot of ground balls. Pujols loved middle-up and high and away.

Luddy really struggled with pitches up in the zone, especially up and in.

Holliday handled pitches with low and inside and low and down the middle pitches, something most batters struggle with. He murdered a lot of pitched down the middle.

Yadi can handle himself on the inside of the plate, so long as the pitch isn’t up. He struggled mostly with pitches outside, which struck me as odd, because my general impression of Molina is that he’s pretty good taking the ball the other way. You’d think pitches on the outer half would be the type of pitches he could slap to the right side.

Now the Boogameister. It’s a little surprising to see a ground-ball hitter and a fast runner like Ryan to do so poorly with low pitches.

I’m going to pass on the more depressing cast-aways (DeRosa, Greene, Thurston), but I couldn’t resist putting together a zone for Ankiel. Ank handled pitches down the middle, but was helpless on just about everything else.

This was fun. Sometime soon we’ll have to look at pitchers.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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4 Responses to “Cardinal Hitters By Zones”

  1. Boy if I ever had to date a woman as ugly as those numbers of Rick Ankiel, I’d switch to homosexuality right away.

    Skip’s targets seem to suggest he is vastly over-rated as a hitter. If he had to bat 8th on a daily basis he’d be hitting .250. It looks pretty obvious that pitchers don’t want to walk him in front of Albert so they heave it right down the middle to force him to earn his way on. I still say he’d be a better # 2 hitter.

    Surprising that Albert, Matt, Luddy and Yadier have such glaring zone weaknesses. Mind you Pujols was pretty much forced out of the zone to get a pitch to hit after his stratospheric start last season, however, when he went into his slump he was swinging regularly at balls down and outside.

    The pleasant surprise is Colby’s box. By July of this year he will be raking at superstar potential. Can’t wait for that!

  2. That Ankiel box made me cover my eyes.

    Have fun with that, Royals.

  3. Eccard–

    Ted Williams had flaws, too. Every hitter has them. (Though his ability to hit throughout the strike zone was certainly more comprehensive Albert’s. I think the thing about Pujols is that although he may be frustrated or fooled into swinging at some of the low and away stuff, he’s just as likely to let it go by and take his walk. And that fact makes him dangerous the next time up.

  4. Red in Chicago; funny you should mention Ted Williams because I consider him to be the most complete hitter in baseball history. Take all those years he spent in the army and away from baseball and pro-rate those numbers into his career totals and you’ll be even more impressed with his Hall of Fame career. Ted Williams was the Natural. Albert Pujols has that same understanding of the science of hitting and if I were to compare Albert to anyone past or present it would be The Splindid Splinter.

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