Derrek Lee's Outside Pitch f/x

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Derrek Lee's Outside Pitch f/x
In a recent discussion at Another Cubs Blog, we discussed using some PITCHf/x data to analyze Derrek Lee's hitting. The hypotheses was simple - Lee's swinging at more outside pitches and hitting more ground outs as a result. So, I came up with a few questions, and, changed them slightly as I went, but it came down to just four things. All this is based on comparing the 2007 D Lee to the 2008 D Lee.

  1. Is D Lee seeing more outside pitches?
  2. Is D Lee swinging at more outside pitches?
  3. Is D Lee hitting more ground balls on outside pitches?
  4. Are more D Lee grounders turned into outs?

Basically, the answers are all Yes. To varying degrees.

With some of the push coming from outside pitches, Lee is hitting .249 grounders per PA this year, after hitting them at a .205 rate in 2007. So, he is putting the ball on the ground more often. His batting average on ground balls has also dropped, a little, from .209 to .199. This combination could have some impact on his overall production.

The worst spot for a grounder, as you'd expect, is on an outside pitch. His average on outside-pitch-turned-grounder is .138. Adding a few more of those isn't a good thing, despite an improvement in batting average on grounders from the far part of the plate (.130 in 2007, .143 in 2008).

But how much of an impact does it really make?

For the answer to that question, I point you Maddog over at Another Cubs Blog. He's posting Part 2 of this over there later. I'll update with a direct link later.

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