Stability Check: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches Per Plate Appearance | The Process Report

Stability Check: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches Per Plate Appearance

Russell Carlton (Pizza Cutter) published a classic article that finds when certain statistics stabilize. These numbers are a good benchmark to finding when we have a large enough sample size to start comparing data. Let’s look at each of these statistics for the Rays as they stabilize.

The career statistics I use are those that exclude 2011 numbers. I do this so the current numbers don’t skew the historical numbers in any way.

Next up for hitters is strikeout rate, line drive rate and pitches per plate appearance, all of which stabilize at 150 plate appearances.

First, I’ll look at strikeout percentage, which is defined as strikeouts per at bat.

Batter PA 2011 K% Career K% Difference
Ben Zobrist 310 19.5 19.4 0.1
BJ Upton 282 28.2 28.3 -0.1
Sam Fuld 236 14.4 13.7 0.7
Johnny Damon 300 12.6 12.7 -0.1
Matt Joyce 249 21.3 25.9 -4.6
Reid Brignac 156 24.3 25.4 -1.1
Sean Rodriguez 162 28.7 29.7 -1
John Jaso 164 12.8 11.7 1.1
Casey Kotchman 199 10.6 10.7 -0.1
Evan Longoria 183 17.3 24 -6.7

Overall, batters are striking out less often this year, which is probably a good thing. Sam Fuld and John Jaso are both striking out a little bit more, but both continue to have extremely low strikeout rates despite this.

Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria are both striking out much less often than their career rates. Both are making more contact this year and we will see next that they are hitting more line drives as well.

Next up is line drive rate, which is defined as line drives per plate appearance.

Batter PA 2011 LD/PA Career LD/PA Difference
Ben Zobrist 310 0.132 0.129 0.003
BJ Upton 282 0.110 0.109 0.001
Sam Fuld 236 0.144 0.148 -0.004
Johnny Damon 300 0.130 0.153 -0.023
Matt Joyce 249 0.157 0.111 0.045
Reid Brignac 156 0.115 0.140 -0.024
Sean Rodriguez 162 0.099 0.096 0.003
John Jaso 164 0.134 0.126 0.009
Casey Kotchman 199 0.166 0.142 0.024
Evan Longoria 183 0.142 0.133 0.009

The Rays are also hitting line drives more often this year. The two notable ones are Joyce and Casey Kotchman. This also shows up in their batting averages: Joyce’s is currently .312 versus a career mark of .264. Kotchman is sitting at a .341 batting average this season, even though his career average is .265.

However, Johnny Damon and Reid Brignac’s line drive rates are down. The decreased line drive rate along with the decreased contact rate and increased swing rate for Johnny Damon does not bode well for him. Perhaps the aging process has caught up with him a bit more this year.

Finally, we have pitches per plate appearance, which is…pitches seen per plate appearance.

Batter PA 2011 P/PA Career P/PA
Difference
Ben Zobrist 310 3.97 3.98 -0.01
BJ Upton 282 3.98 3.97 0.01
Sam Fuld 236 3.55 3.89 -0.34
Johnny Damon 300 4.00 4.05 -0.05
Matt Joyce 249 3.97 4.06 -0.09
Reid Brignac 156 3.71 3.86 -0.15
Sean Rodriguez 162 3.98 3.84 0.13
John Jaso 164 4.10 4.12 -0.02
Casey Kotchman 199 3.79 3.68 0.11
Evan Longoria 183 3.76 3.93 -0.17

Sam Fuld has been seeing a lot fewer pitches this year than usual. Not surprisingly, his walk rate is down by quite a bit as well. Sean Rodriguez and Kotchman have been seeing more pitches per plate appearance and equally as surprising, both have been walking more this year.

This does show again that as a team, the Rays are being more aggressive at the plate this year.



One Comment

  1. […] at The Process Report, Chris St. John recently examined a few select offensive statistics for the Tampa Bay Rays. In particular St. John keyed in on […]

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