The Problem: Grady Sizemore's Power Production

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The Problem: Grady Sizemore's Power Production
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Welcome back to this running series on the Cleveland Indians titled, "The Problem," where we examine one issue surrounding the current club. Although there is probably more than one problem with the Indians, you have to fix one issue at a time.

Today's problem involves the club's biggest star, Grady Sizemore, and the lack of power production. Not only has the power not been there, Sizemore hasn't even been getting on base as much as the Indians had hoped.

Sizemore's success is crucial to the Indians' success offensively, so it isn't any surprise that Cleveland is near the bottom in many offensive categories in all of baseball.

Where is the answer to Sizemore's power failure? Can we find a solution to ignite a Sizemore power surge?

 

The Subject  

Victor Martinez is gone, Travis Hafner is no longer the MVP-caliber hitter he was a few years ago, and a lot of the other familiar names are no longer familiar names.

But Grady Sizemore, he's the guy in his prime. He was and is supposed to be the lifeblood of this team's offensive order, regardless of where he hits.

He was supposed to be a perennial MVP candidate since 2008, but so far, his numbers  have only gone down year-by-year. The worst of it was in 2009, when he struggled with injuries and time spent on the disabled list for an extended period of time.

Most assumed 2009's production was because of those injuries, and that 2010 would be the year he got himself back on track.



The Problem

Grady Sizemore has been off to a horrendous start this season at the plate, and it is mighty puzzling. Last year, Sizemore battled injuries to his midsection and elbow, and both led to surgery before the season even ended.

Sizemore ended up being 100 percent healthy for spring training, and even put on a performance that made Mark Shapiro say it was the best he's ever seen Sizemore swing the bat.

If we can conclude that the injuries don't seem to be the issue for his lack of power and overall lack of production, what can we conclude?

Sizemore was moved down a slot to the two-hole, in an effort to give him more RBI opportunities, and some have even suggested the move has been the reason for his struggles.

If that is true, it would be purely mental. Who really knows if that is the case or not—only Sizemore knows.

 

The Evidence

Grady Sizemore's Past Five Seasons

Year G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
2006 162 655 134 190 53 11 28 76 22 78 153 .290 .375 .533
2007 162 628 118 174 34 5 24 78 33 101 155 .277 .390 .462
2008 157 634 101 170 39 5 33 90 38 98 130 .268 .374 .502
2009 106 436 73 108 20 6 18 64 13 60 92 .248 .343 .445
2010 29 116 15 26 6 2 0 12 4 9 32 .224 .289 .310
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com : View Original Table Generated 5/13/2010.

I used to say that his drop in average doesn't matter as long as his on-base percentage isn't drastically dropping. Well, now it's dropping—drastically.

His 2007 season was an MVP year, but it was probably abnormally high. However, 2008 measures comparably to 2006 in terms of OBP, despite a moderate change in batting average.

 

Grady Sizemore's 2010 Left/Right Splits

Split AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
vs RHP as LHB 70 21 6 2 0 11 6 18 .300 .351 .443 .794
vs LHP as LHB 46 5 0 0 0 1 3 14 .109 .196 .109 .305
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com : View Original Table Generated 5/13/2010.

Shockingly Sizemore has actually been killer on right-handed hitters this season, as all but one RBI have come off a right-hander and all his extra-base hits have as well. The home run that did not count against Detroit came off a right-hander as well, Jeremy Bonderman.

He can't even hit left-handers period, but one thing that doesn't change whether or not he's facing right or left-handed pitching is his strikeout rate. Against the left-handers, he's striking out every 3.2 at-bats. Against right-handers, it's 3.8.

 

Grady Sizemore's 2010 Hit Location

Split AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS GDP SF
To Infield 34 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 1 0
To Outfield 50 26 6 2 0 11 .520 .510 .720 1.230 0 1
Fair Terr 82 26 6 2 0 12 .317 .313 .439 .752 1 1
Pulled-LHB 21 7 1 0 0 3 .333 .333 .381 .714 0 0
Up Mdle-LHB 50 17 3 2 0 8 .340 .333 .480 .813 1 1
Opp Fld-LHB 13 2 2 0 0 1 .154 .154 .308 .462 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com : View Original Table Generated 5/13/2010.

As you can see from his hit location numbers, Sizemore has not been going the other way with much success, if at all. He's just got two hits to the opposite field, but hey, shocker, they're both doubles!

Let's see how he's done in previous years, as far as pulling and going the opposite way.

 

2009

Split AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP SF
Pulled-LHB 100 50 13 1 11 40 .500 .500 .980 1.480 98 0 0
Up Mdle-LHB 179 47 5 4 7 22 .263 .261 .453 .714 81 4 1
Opp Fld-LHB 65 11 2 1 0 1 .169 .169 .231 .400 15 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com : View Original Table Generated 5/13/2010.

2008
Split AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS GDP SF
Pulled-LHB 177 75 13 2 21 47 .424 .424 .876 1.299 3 0
Up Mdle-LHB 248 70 16 2 12 33 .282 .281 .508 .789 2 1
Opp Fld-LHB 79 25 10 1 0 7 .316 .313 .468 .781 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com : View Original Table Generated 5/13/2010.

2007
Split AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS GDP SF
Pulled-LHB 147 72 16 2 13 30 .490 .490 .891 1.381 1 0
Up Mdle-LHB 249 84 13 3 11 37 .337 .336 .546 .882 2 1
Opp Fld-LHB 77 18 5 0 0 9 .234 .231 .299 .529 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com : View Original Table Generated 5/13/2010.

In case you can't believe your eyes, no, Grady Sizemore has not hit an opposite field home run in the past four season. In fact, he's only go one in his entire career, which is saying something.

Jhonny Peralta has 13 career opposite field home runs. How can someone like Sizemore only have one? Probably because he's a pull hitter. He murders the ball when he pulls it—that's a fact and it always has been.

 

Grady Sizemore Batting Second

Percentage of at-bats with runners on base

Sizemore 2010: 43 percent

Sizemore 2009: 40 percent

Sizemore 2008: 38 percent

Cabrera 2010: 29 percent

Cabrera 2009: 45 percent

How interesting is that? The increase in opportunities so far has been minimal, but still, his opportunities with runners on have gone up. Last year would indicate that Cabrera did get more opportunities to hit with runners on base.

 

The Solution 

I don't think there is a solution that you can just initiate. There is no real answer to this, because simply put, Grady Sizemore is in a slump.

Injuries are not an issue, so this isn't a disabled list situation. Is there anything wrong with his swing? Most people around the club that have been asked this question haven't really been able to see anything wrong.

He's just in a slump.

That's all we can really deduct from the numbers. The scope of the other numbers here suggest a bigger problem though. Grady Sizemore has become a slugger.

He has gone from all around good-hitter and high-on-base guy to a pull-hitter who only has successful power numbers when he tries to pull the ball. He has enormous success when doing so, but as we've seen this season and even last year, he isn't even doing that.

What's the reason for the percentages of at-bats with runners on base?

I just wanted to see and compare the move that Acta made. While it is only a month and a half, there only is an increase in three percent in terms of how many at-bats Sizemore is getting with men on.

Even then, he's knocked in 12 runs this year, which is good enough for fourth on this team. With runners on base, he's hit .280, which isn't horrible.

Heck, it is way better than his actual season average, but it still isn't what the Indians are expecting from him, especially now that he's in a position to get more RBI opportunities.

There may be no solution that the Indians can initiate, so it is all up to Grady Sizemore.

He has to work with Jon Nunnally if his hitting coach sees something wrong, but from what it would look like, there is nothing wrong mechanically.

So, if it's all upstairs, he has to get out of his own head.

I'm sure it did nothing for his confidence to see that home run he hit taken away from him because when he steps into the batters box. He still sees that big ugly zero staring back at him.

The Indians need Grady Sizemore though, especially if they are going to turn things around offensively, and be the offensive threat we think they can be.

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