Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ruiz swinging for the fences

By
"Chicks dig the long ball" - Greg Maddux, 1999 Nike Commercial
I'm not sure if Randy Ruiz has a significant other or not, but he's certainly swinging for the fences hoping to impress the ladies. Unfortunately, just like sluggers such as Ryan Howard and Carlos Pena, Ruiz is going to strike out far more often than anything else.

That was especially evident during Friday night's game against the Red Sox when he went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. Josh Beckett and Daniel Bard made him look silly, as Ruiz chased pitches outside of the zone and swung 9 out of 10 times. Thanks to Brooks Baseball once again for the Pitch F/X below.

I don't mean to pick on a guy who only has 37 career games in Major League Baseball, but Ruiz had no business swinging at most of those pitches. As you'll notice on the Pitch F/X from the first at bat, Ruiz took a big cut on a pitch that was very inside, which actually probably would have hit him had he not swung completely through it.

In his second strikeout of the night against Beckett, Ruiz was tempted once again with inside pitches and was finished off with a cutter which was a good foot off the plate. Finally, Daniel Bard baffled Ruiz with three blistering fastballs ranging between 97-99 MPH.

His third strikeout of the night was somewhat excusable because the Blue Jays as a whole had difficulty catching up to Bard's fastball, but Ruiz needs to start developing some patience at the plate.

Looking at his advanced statistics, Ruiz tends to be aggressive early in the count swinging 51 % of the time at the first pitch. Ruiz also strikes out 31.8 percent of the time, which rivals other "Kings of K" such as Carlos Pena, Mark Reynolds, Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard.

Randy, remember that you don't always have to swing for the fences. Those infield singles can be pretty sexy, too.

8 comments:

  1. After witnessing a bit of Saturday's game, the Blue Jays as a team are a high strikeout team for sure. And the first pitch swing rate on this team is so prevalent, it's like this team already starts the count one strike down.

    Having said that, I can live with the strikeouts for the mashers. Dingers are muy caliente.

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  2. Strikeouts can be frustrating, but an out is an out. I'll take him just getting himself out rather than grounding into a double play.

    There's not a team in the league that wouldn't like the production that the Penas, Dunns, or Howards provide.

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  3. BK, I think you're right - but they've been especially victimized by the strikeout this series at Fenway Park.

    I'm not sure if this was Cito's doing or Gene Tenace's, but it was apparently very early in the season that the Blue Jays were going to be very aggressive early in the count. It worked for the first month and a half of the season, but the opposing hitters caught on and adjusted accordingly.

    Bitey, with the ever-expanding strike zone at Fenway Park during this series, better for Ruiz to swing than to get called out on strikes. But he needs to start seeing some pitches and not swing at pitches well outside the zone a la Vernon Wells.

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  4. Agree with Bitey. I'd rather see a K beside a name than GIDP. Regarding Wells, lately even he is swinging at pitches outside of his extremely large strike zone...

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  5. Mattt, here's the pitch f/x from Vernon's at bat on Friday against Beckett.

    Two things are apparent here: the strikezone at Fenway park and Vernon couldn't lay off the pitches.

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  6. Great look at Ruiz, Ian. I haven't been watching much (lucky me!), so it's great to see stuff like this.

    Here's hoping Ruiz can maintain some semblance of his .891 OPS. Just so Drew can't say "I told you so."

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  7. Ordinarily I wouldn't pick apart at-bats, but Ruiz looked awful on Friday. They pitched him inside and outside and he swung at everything. That .891 OPS is pretty sweet though, I hope it's not just because pitchers haven't seen him before.

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