Logan Forsythe – 2016 Player Card
As we count down the days until the blessed return of baseball we’ll be bringing snapshots from a variety of angles for each of the significant players on this year’s upcoming Rays team. The format will be similar for each player and then we want to take a look at an individual thing for each guy towards the end of each card. Think of these as a quick cheat sheet on what a player looks like. You can use the Corey Dickerson card as a walkthrough, of sorts. Now at the plate – Logan Forsythe
With the normal stuff out of the way we can take a look at something that we found interesting. The rest of this card will take a look at how Forsythe leverages his patience to generate power.
In the Run Values chart way up above you can see a deep valley in his swing rate over 3,000 pitches or so. It looks like he took a pretty patient approach to begin with and slowed his roll even more. Seeing that reminded me of someone that we had the pleasure of watching on an everyday basis for a very long time. Forsythe and Zobrist show pretty similar numbers for swing rate and contact, but where they differ is in how often they see strikes.
The bottom half of the table compares each guy to the other 424 guys that received at least 1,500 plate appearances since 2006. I think this does a better job of showing how important a few percentage points can actually be when accounting for the spread of the data within the category. Zorilla swung at such a minuscule rate that it makes Frosty look like a free swinger, but he is anything but. He shows a really tight zone and isn’t afraid to take a pitch within the zone. His contact rates aren’t quite as high as Zobrist, but they’re both above average.
Then we get to the quality of pitches they saw. Zobrist saw relatively few pitches within the zone and almost never on first pitch. Forsythe is seeing tons and tons of hittable pitches, especially on the first offering. Here’s a look at how many fastballs he has seen as well as percent of pitches in the zone and swings:
The most recent data shows a Mason Storm-esque approach on first pitches, but as we got closer to the end of the season he started to ramp that first-pitch swing rate up to career-high levels. You can see some of the give and the take that a swing-happy approach brings. It looks like a lag of fewer fastballs and fewer pitches in the zone, which requires a batter to re-calibrate to become slightly less aggressive and back and forth we go. It’s good to see Forsythe show that adjustment, but if the season had gone on longer it’s not hard to see that maybe he should have started to tighten it up again. Here’s why I think he should stay aggressive:
We’ve seen that Forsythe is a very passive hitter first pitch, but sees a ton of strikes. His swings indicate that he knows when to pull the trigger. Very few secondary pitches and even fewer pitches out of the zone. He has a good enough eye that you can trust him to swing more. Let’s break it down by pitch type:
The top part of the box shows all pitches and then I break down by each type. While the 11% of in-zone swings is his highest amongst these pitches he’s still taking 38% of pitches that are in the zone. Surely, some of those are pitcher’s pitches or in spots he’s not key-holing, but Forsythe is letting a ton of hittable fastballs get by him. For a guy with a good eye he seems more passive than patient. Ben Zobrist had that label for a very long time until he started ambushing some fastballs. I think it’s time to let Logan Forsythe cut loose on the occasional first pitch fastball assuming it’s one he likes in an effort to take back his zone. As is, pitchers see a guy they don’t have to be all that careful with, because he’s unlikely to swing. Do this and I think Forsythe can borrow the power and patience approach from one of our formerly favorite players, Ben Zobrist.