A Short Post on Hideki Matsui | The Process Report

A Short Post on Hideki Matsui

I tweeted the below image earlier on the TPR account. It’s Hideki Matsui in a late-May game against Phil Humber and the White Sox. This image comes on the first pitch of Matsui’s first at-bat of the night. Check his feet in frame two, or his back knee in the final frame. With all due respect to Humber, his slider doesn’t typically merit such physical response.

The long and short of it is this. Tommy and I have pegged Matsui as cheating on fastballs since early June. It’s the one explanation that makes sense when you watch Matsui and you see him take these overaggressive-looking swings in fastball counts. Either Matsui has lost bat speed or he believes that he has. It’s not good either way.

The numbers support this observation. His overall contact rate is down, and his first-pitch swing rate is up. He’s whiffing on 41 percent of the breaking pitches he’s seeing this season, as opposed to 27 percent last season and 16 percent in 2010. There are plenty of other numbers to throw out there make Matsui look bad. That’s not my intent so I’ll stop there.

To state the obvious: I’m not optimistic about Matsui. I do hope he has one more big moment in his career before the end.

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