FanPost

sandoval adjustments (courtesy of fangraphs)

I was looking at pablo's fangraphs page recently and found some of the numbers pretty interesting. I thought I'd try to see how the league has adjusted to him since last year. Of course, the 2008 sample size isn't ideal, but it's not terribly small either. Here are some of the more interesting things I found.

Plate discipline: Not surprisingly, pitchers are throwing a lot fewer strikes (47% to 38%). The difference is even more pronounced on the first pitch strike %, going from 71% to 59%. However, pablo is swinging at less pitches outside the zone (54% to 45%). I didn't check this earlier in the season, so I don't know if the change happened over the offseason or during the season. While it's still not a good number, it's nice to see improvement. Also of note: pablo is swinging at slightly more strikes, but swinging less overall.

Pitch selection and values: The biggest difference here is the increase in fastballs thrown to him, by over 6 percentage points. I would have expected pitchers to try to get him to chase more junk, but I guess they chose the high or inside fastballs. They are throwing a few less changes, curves, and sliders, with more cutters (another fastball, interestingly). The strange thing is, pablo has been hitting fastballs better this year, with his wFB/C (runs above average per 100 fastballs) slightly higher than in 08. He has improved even more on the cutter (still below average), the curve (good), and the change (fourth in the majors in wCH/C). So while pitchers have adjusted their gameplan against him, pablo has actually improved against most pitches.

Meanwhile, his walk rate and k rate are both up. So is his isop (slg - avg).

Batted balls: His line drive% has come down from 25.9% to a more human 19.5%. Virtually all of the "lost" line drives have moved over into increasing his fly ball%. (As a result of the more fly balls, his GB/FB ratio has dropped from 1.56 to 1.25.) He's hitting fewer popups, though, which is nice. Another change is on hr/fb: it has nearly doubled, from 8 to 16%. Now, I'm no stat expert, but I believe that is believed to be in the players' control, correct, not something that regresses to the leaguewide mean? As for his babip, it's still a lofty .358, although that's actually .009 less than last year.

 

So the line drives have tapered off, unfortunately, but the patience and power seem to have improved. I would say the trends are generally positive. Hopefully we don't find out later that the relatively small sample sizes involved here don't make all this worthless. (And yes, this could have been a link in a fanshot, but isn't it easier when some of the numbers are highlighted for you? I hope so.)

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