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I hadn’t really done much investigation/research on the Cardinal’s two newest hitters other than some cursory looks at seasonal wOBAs etc. With the help of pitch f/x though we can go much further. We’re able to generate data that resembles a scouting report, which I thought might be helpful for Berkman and Theriot. Yes, we’ve all seen them play since they’ve been in the division, but we likely haven’t seen them play every day. Thus, the data will likely be more telling than the “eye test”. Today I’ll show some Berkman data. Theriot will have to wait until later. The first two charts are heat maps by pitch location. The number represents the run value per 100 pitches. Data is only from swings.  Charts are from the catcher’s perspective.

First vs RHP

Then vs LHP

When hitting left handed (i.e. the vs RHP graph above) Berkman appears to kill the ball middle away (may be some home park bias there), but is vulnerable middle in.  Also, contrary to most LH hitters, he appears to hit the high ball better than the low one.  As a RH hitter he appears more conventional, hitting the inside and high pitches better, but is an overall worse hitter.

Along with that scouting report style data, I was also curios if there was any evidence of aging/a slowing bat.  The following table would point that way.  Values are rv per 100 again

2008 2009 2010
mph <93 1.82 0.82 1.18
mph >93 1.92 1.79 0.91

It appears (sample size is problematic) that Berkman is having a tougher time with the higher velocity fastballs (table is limited to fastballs only).

That’s it for now. I’m sure as the year goes on, Berkman will be the topic of more pieces such as this. For now I’ll leave you with a question. What do you expect from Lance at the plate this year?

Steve Sommer

Simulation analyst by day, father and baseball nerd by night

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4 Responses to “Looking at Lance”

  1. Hey, Steve… Good stuff as always. Are the numbers in the heat maps representative of Berkman’s whole career or just recent seasons?

    • 2008-2010.. probably should have mentioned that eh?

      • Well, that’s what I figured. You alluded to it with the data in the table.

        His hot zone is pretty surprising for a LHH, yeah? I’m guessing not too many like pitches high and outside. Maybe we should relocate Big Mac Land to the warning track in LF..?

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