How Swing Happy is Dickerson?
Before last night went to hell in a hand basket, there was a moment in the game when Brian Anderson made an observation about how pitchers were attacking Corey Dickerson and how Dickerson was handling it.
During one particular at bat last night, Anderson and Dwayne Staats were discussing how Dickerson was always in swing mode when he comes to the plate. Despite the 13 homers on the season, Dickerson had a .258 OBP at the time, so the broadcast stuck an all or nothing label on him. Anderson went on to state that he felt Dickerson not only sees the highest amount of first pitch breaking balls in the league, but that he swings at the most as well.
Let’s see what the data says.
If we filter the data to show the percentage of breaking balls seen in 0-0 counts by batters with at least 150 plate appearances, Dickerson comes in at 173rd with 24.2%. Teammates see a higher percentage including Desmond Jennings (24.7%), Logan Forsythe (26%), Brad Miller (26.7%), Brandon Guyer (30.1%). Curt Casali and Steven Souza Jr (32.2%), and Steve Pearce (35.4%). It is safe to say that particular observation may have been a bit of recency bias.
The swing percentage on first pitch breaking balls is slightly kinder to Anderson’s hypothesis. The league-wide swing percentage on first-pitch breaking balls is 23.6%; Dickerson’s swing rate is at 43.6%. That number is certainly high, but it’s not the highest in the league and not even the highest on the team. Yasiel Puig has the highest swing rate at first pitch breaking balls at 58.1%, but Souza has the highest rate on the team roster at 48.6%.
Anderson fell victim to using absolutes in his qualifying language, but the fact remains Dickerson is indeed swing happy. The league-wide swing percentage on all pitches in any count is 46.4% but Dickerson’s 54.5% on the season is one of the 20 highest rates in the league for full-time batters. That is the highest rate on the Rays roster and the only one over 50%.
Now, back to the Post Traumatic Bullpen Stress Disorder.