Pollack: Hitter aggression, visualized

From SABR member Ryan Pollack at The Hardball Times on October 5, 2017:

Earlier this year I introduced a way of analyzing hitters’ plate coverage. Plate coverage is fine and interesting, but it measures outcomes. More often we want to understand a hitter’s approach; that is, their plate disciplineWe have metrics like Z-Swing% and O-Swing% to measure a hitter’s discipline, and we can visualize this discipline with heat maps. But I was interested in a more fine-grained analysis: what’s the size of the box a hitter thinks they can do damage in? And how can we compare this box between players?

Aggressive hitters think they can do damage on pitches inside a large box; patient hitters focus on a smaller box and attempt to do damage there. Think of the cover of Ted Williams’ book, The Science of Hitting, which shows his ideal plate discipline:

This book came out in 1971, yet still guides players today. Kris Bryant’s father trained his son on Williams’ advice growing up. Kris made his dad (and Williams) look smart, as he has recorded a 143 wRC+ in the majors, and won the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year and 2016 NL Most Valuable Player awards.

Read the full article here: https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/hitter-aggression-visualized/

Originally published: October 5, 2017. Last Updated: October 5, 2017.