Mains: New Year's resolutions: going the other way

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on January 5, 2017:

Players sometimes try to change. Maybe not as much as fans wish that they’d change. After all, Miguel Sano batted .398 when he didn’t strike out last year. If he could just cut his strikeouts down by 100 and hit .200 in those at-bats instead, he’d have hit .281 instead of .236! How hard can that be?

Like going to a 6:00 am spin class or laying off ice cream, those changes are easier said than done. Patterns and habits are as hard to break for baseball players as the rest of us.

One pattern you hear about a lot: Pulling the ball. Per data collected by Baseball Info Solutions, Chris Davis stepped to the plate with shifted infielders 301 times last year. Only nine players (David Ortiz 403, Anthony Rizzo 375, Curtis Granderson 346, Kyle Seager 345, Jay Bruce 328, Freddie Freeman 328, Adrian Gonzalez 325, Brandon Belt 313, and Kole Calhoun 303) were shifted more frequently. And only nine (Granderson 24, Kendrys Morales 21, Ortiz 17, Ryan Howard 16, Victor Martinez, Logan Morrison, and Albert Pujols 15, Brian McCann 13) lost more net base hits to the shift than Davis’ 12.

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So why, Orioles fans ask, doesn’t Davis do something about it? Why doesn’t he occasionally bunt for a hit or go the other way once in a while?

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=30914

This page was last updated January 5, 2017 at 12:56 pm MST.