Scouting the Hot Zones for the Reds with TAv
By Stuart Jones
Using one of Baseball Prospectus’ new tools, I thought we could take a look at how the Reds productive using the statistic of “True Average,” which tries to level the playing field a bit for every player when it comes to their performance from the batter’s box, but I suggest you read what the stat is about because they explain it better than I could. What is easy to get used to though, is that like you associate a .300 batting average being “good,” so is a .300 True Average (TAv).
As we look at these hot and cold zones with TAv, it’s important to note that this is taken from the catcher’s point of view (POV). I have made it so we are looking at how he is being pitched from both the RHP and LHP side of things since we know we’ll have Cain and Bumgarner starting against the Reds in Games 1 and 2. I’m going in order of the lineup as I have seen on Jason Martinez’s site, which you should definitely check out sometime. So, starting at the top of the lineup for the Reds is 2B Brandon Phillips:
Taking a look at the hot zones on his and remembering since he’s a RHH he would be to the left of the catcher, we see he handles the low pitch over the bottom third in the strike zone pretty well, but hasn’t been as successful on pitches up and in. He doesn’t seem to mind the pitches up and away, but keep in mind the number of PA from which that data has been taken is also pretty low.
#2 in the Reds lineup, Zack Cozart, another RHH:
I think pitchers are beating him on the outer third of the plate, guys.
Here’s #3 hitter’s Joey Votto‘s (LHH) chart, and you may notice a consistency of one color over the other:
That is a lot of red. So much red. Luckily for human beings, not all of Joey Votto’s boxes are red! If you’re not scared of what Joey Votto can do, I ask you: why?
The cleanup hitter, Ryan Ludwick (RHH) has a good number of dingers this year, so you know he’s got pop.
The first thing I thought of when I saw this chart was Tetris because of the “T” looking piece that’s sideways. Hit the corners low with Ludwick, and things look like they’ll be alright.
Next up, the #5 hitter with more than 30 HR, the pretty darn scary Jay Bruce (LHH):
That’s some pretty good production from inside the strike zone for Bruce, and it looks like you just got to hope you can get him to fish for stuff or get tied up outside of the zone to get him out and keep him from mashing.
#6 Scott Rolen (RHH), who I feel like has been playing baseball forever:
Rolen’s got a pretty good checker board going on in that inside half of the chart. Unlike Bruce where you’re scared to pitch inside the strike zone, I’d say the fear drops a little when Rolen steps up and you realize you can beat him on the outer third.
#7 hitter catcher Ryan Hanigan (RHH), who’s chart reminds me of a video game level:
The level starters at the box with “0.036” and you have to avoid the enemies as they come to you from the LHH side of the chart before you have to drop down from the “0.160” to the “0.236” but WATCH OUT for bad guys that will try to get you on your way down #protip.
Finally, #8 hitter, the very fast Drew Stubbs:
Well color me surprised that the #8 hitter in the lineup doesn’t have that many red spots in the strike zone.
We’ve been told most front offices have some sort of advanced statistics research going on, and the Giants are one of them, so they likely have something like this given to their pitchers to prepare for Votto and the Reds. The direct links on all the charts should lead you to the site where I got all these charts so feel free to play with them with other factors being considered. First game of the series is tomorrow at 6:30PM PST, and it can’t get here fast enough.