Evolving Longoria | The Process Report

Evolving Longoria

Back in June, Tommy Rancel noted how Evan Longoria was struggling with pitches on the inner and lower halves. Rancel went on to illustrate how Longoria had altered his batting stance from an open stance starting point in May to more of a closed starting point in June and had adjusted the starting point for his hands.

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When Rancel’s piece was written, noted that Longoria had struggled with pitches on the inner half and had hit just .245/.302/.337 on pitches on the inner half in 2014. Heading into 2014, Longoria had hit .299/.370/.628 against those types of pitches. In 2011, he struggled to hit for average on those pitches, but his slugging percentage on inner half pitches has annually been over .600.

This season, it is just .471 – 125 points lower than it was last season.

Since June 1st, Longoria has resumed punishing pitches on the inner half as he hitting .316/.382/.611 against those types of pitches. The improvements are noticeable in his heat maps.

strike-zone (10)

strike-zone (9)

 

The improvements are not solely due to the change in batting stance or starting position of the hands, as both actions are dynamic for Longoria this season. Lately, Longoria has evolved his batting stance by borrowing pieces from May and June to come up with what he is currently utilizing in early August.

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He is utilizing the lower half of his stance from May and the upper half of it from June to use the stance that is currently in play. The two images above are from two weeks ago and last night in the plate appearance that resulted in the first inning home run against C.J. Wilson.

Baseball is a game of adjustments. As batters change things, pitchers adjust. Now that Longoria has resumed his ability to hit inside pitching, expect the league to get back to working him away. This season, Longoria is batting .237/.327/.333 against pitches on the outer half, which is well below his recent norms.

CHART

Joe Maddon frequently says that batters can only cover so much of the plate when they are looking for pitches. If they focuses on getting busted inside, they can only do so much to spoil pitches on the outside corner, and vice versa. The progress that Longoria has made to resume his ability to crush inside pitching has come at the expense of his abilities to handle pitches on the outer half. The .273/.338/.397 slash line he had on pitches on the outer half through the end of May has given way to an unsightly .196/.315/.262 line since June 1st.

strike-zone (11)

 

Longoria has struggled to hit for the power fans have grown accustomed to in his career. His current slugging percentage is 101 points lower than it was last year and 98 points lower than his previous career-low of .495 during the 2011 season. That season is the only time Longoria’s slugging percentage has been below .500 in a full season. Despite the work to make the necessary adjustments mechanically, Longoria’s slugging percentage is below .400. With any luck, that won’t be the case for much longer.



One Comment

  1. […] season, both Tommy and I looked into issues Longoria was having and he fixed them last season, even if it came at the […]

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