Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Snap, Crackle, Pop: Jose Bautista's Plate Appearance Outcomes


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When Jose Bautista steps into the batter's box, typically one of three things will happen: Snap (home run), Crackle (walk), or Pop (pop up).

Rather than just assume Jose Bautista only either hits bombs, draws walks, or pops up to the infield, I wanted to see if the aforementioned statement had any validity to it.

Below is a pie chart breaking down all of 629 of Jose Bautista's plate appearances this season thus far.


Strikeouts: 106 (16.9%) The first thing that obviously jumps out is Bautista's strikeout rate, which is expected for your prototypical slugger. However, it is much lower than perennial power hitters such as Carlos Pena (27.2 percent) or Adam Dunn (29.8 percent).

Walks: 95 (15.1%) Next in the chart are Bautista's 95 walks, which already eclipse Marco Scutaro's 90 walk season from 2009. Jose is almost a sure bet to clear 100 walks this season, and has done wonders to help increase his on base percentage by 120 points over his batting average.

Ground Ball Outs: 94 (14.9%) Ground ball outs are next, and honestly I cannot remember a single instance where Jose Bautista grounded out. Maybe it's because they seem insignificant at the time, but I can never picture him running down the first base line and then returning to the Blue Jays dugout.

Fly Ball Outs: 89 (14.1%) There aren't really any surprises here when it comes to the total percentage of fly balls hit by Jose Bautista. All it takes is a fraction of a second to turn that fly ball into a home run and vice versa, so obviously lots of batted balls will land in the glove of the opposing outfielders.

Pop Up Outs: 66 (10.9%) Compared to league average, this number is especially high - even for a slugger. Carlos Pena only has 20 pop ups and Adam Dunn only has 30. I'm not sure if it has to do with the swing trajectory of Jose Bautista that is causing so many pop ups.

Singles: 53 (8.4%) Much like the ground outs, I have a very tough time recalling any singles hit by Jose Bautista in the 2010 season. Luckily, he has more singles than home runs, which was a topic of discussion related to Carlos Pena last year.

Home Runs: 49 (7.6%) It's incredible to think that once every ten at bats or so, Jose Bautista is going to launch a bomb into the stands. His 10.7 at bat per home run ratio is unprecedented and subsequently leads the major leagues. In fact, it's the lowest by any hitter since Ryan Howard's 10 AB/HR in the year 2007.

Even more impressive, let's not forget that Bautista has an inside the park home run to his name, another pseudo inside the parker which was ruled a true home run, and he also scored from third on an error ... so in my mind, that constitutes as three inside the park home runs.

Doubles: 32 (4.9%) Vernon Wells may be the doubles king on the squad with 41, but Bautista places a very respectable third place on the team with 32. Much like his tendency to hit home runs to left field, Bautista mostly hits his doubles down the third base line or to the left-centre gap.

When it all comes down to it, ultimately we can analyze the numbers at naseum but here are the cold hard facts: 59.4 percent of the time Jose Bautista will not reach base, but that means 40.6 percent of the time he will reach base.

In a sport where the league's best hitters are lucky to reach base around 37 percent of the time, Jose Bautista is definitely meeting and exceeding the definition of a consistent hitter.

Bautista's 2010 campaign has been a perfect storm for every aspect of his hitting game play: from his ability to coax walks, to hitting monster home runs. At first glance, his home run total may jump off the page, but Jose Bautista definitely isn't a one trick pony.

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