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Monday, June 23, 2014

Carlos Gomez Symbolic Pursuit

this is a fine article.  it really captures the ‘essence’ of carlos gomez

Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 23, 2014 at 03:47 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, carlos gomez, milwaukee

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4733854)
I think the essence of Carlos Gomez is captured in his bug-eyed swings against Paul Maholm last year and subsequent trash-talking to anyone within earshot as he rounded the bases.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 23, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4733887)
if folks actually read the article they will find how gomez may have stumbled into an approach that works well in the current offensive environment
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4733901)
if folks actually read the article they will find how gomez may have stumbled into an approach that works well in the current offensive environment

Makes tons of sense. Pitchers have adapted to passive hitters by throwing more 1st pitch strikes, and Gomez has adapted to that by crushing those strikes.

Other batters should take heed, and get more aggressive. Might help reverse the offensive decline, and produce a more interesting style of ball.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4733903)
I did RTFA as well and am fascinated by this kind of game theory that goes on between batters and pitchers.
   5. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4733912)
that's a good piece.
   6. TDF, situational idiot Posted: June 23, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4734000)
It's not addressed in the article, but the first question in my mind was how this affected his K rate; in 2 words, not much. Before his "change" ('12), he stuck out in 22.5% of PA; since, it's 23.4% or a difference of 12 K over 1352 PA.

Granted it's a sample size of 1, but maybe being more aggressive at the plate would help many hitters.
   7. Sleepy's still holding up that little wild bouquet Posted: June 23, 2014 at 06:46 PM (#4734026)
Other batters should take heed, and get more aggressive. Might help reverse the offensive decline, and produce a more interesting style of ball.


I think Matt Holliday has tried to do something similar (first ball in play 56/323 times already this season, vs 60/310 for gomez), but the pitchers have adjusted and don't serve it up much any more.

I would assume that they are also adjusting for Gomez, but it sounds like Gomez must be pretty awesome at fouling pitches off (or missing them completely), if he's that far ahead on swing percentage while only having put a few more balls in play.

Side note, the article says B-R tracks this, but I can't find it on the player page. Can someone point me to where it would be? Is it on P-I?

   8. Sleepy's still holding up that little wild bouquet Posted: June 23, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4734034)
Too late to edit, but per fangraphs, gomez gets a first-pitch strike 66.8% of the time, 6th in baseball among qualified hitters. Holliday gets a first pitch strike 61.6% of the time, the highest of his career. So pitchers really haven't adjusted to either of them, yet (or maybe Holliday's numbers are up despite the fact that they HAVE adjusted, and he's swinging at fp out of zone? That would mesh with my subjective gut appraisals of his plate appearances so far this year.)
   9. McCoy Posted: June 23, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4734039)
I think someone already tried to write a piece on swinging at first pitches (Cameron?) and I think it was Walt Davis who pretty thoroughly debunked the opinion in a handful of paragraphs.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4734074)
Damn I'm good ... and so often I'm apparently forgetting the times when I'm good! :-)
   11. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4734075)
Damn I'm good ... and so often I'm apparently forgetting the times when I'm good! :-)

it's all in the wrists
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4734076)
don't worry walt. i still think you are so ridiculously wrong sometime folks mistake it for making sense
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:33 PM (#4734087)
I think someone already tried to write a piece on swinging at first pitches (Cameron?) and I think it was Walt Davis who pretty thoroughly debunked the opinion in a handful of paragraphs.


The big difference between these two articles, is that Cameron's article was trying to say something ridiculous that since players hit better on the first pitch, that they should swing on the first pitch. That is not what anyone is saying about Gomez.(or at least shouldn't be) the article compares him to Vlad and other free swingers, and the point is that his ability to recognize the fat first pitches has improved. Not that he should be swinging more on first pitches, but that his ability to recognize when it's a pitch to swing at has improved.

   14. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4734094)
The turnaround’s been thoroughly documented. Gomez grew tired of being told to put the ball on the ground and survive on his legs. So he basically asked for permission to try to drive the ball, and the Brewers were more than happy to assist.

I enjoy stories like this where players overcome unimaginative coaching to become stars. Reminds me of the Braves constantly insisting Andruw hit the ball the other way. Finally he got enough seniority to say 'I'm just going to turn on everything and go for it' and he hit like an MVP for a couple of years before his body gave out.
   15. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4734095)
Reminds me of the Braves constantly insisting Andruw hit the ball the other way. Finally he got enough seniority to say 'I'm just going to turn on everything and go for it' and he hit like an MVP for a couple of years before his body gave ballooned out.

FFIFY
   16. Walt Davis Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4734099)
Side note, the article says B-R tracks this, but I can't find it on the player page. Can someone point me to where it would be?

Not quite sure what you're looking for but the splits linked from the player page have performance on each count and recently added a "swung/not at first pitch" split. I think you still need to determine stuff like % swung at by hand. ... except, damn, that new split seems to be gone. I didn't just imagine it did I? (I have been having some really odd but boring dreams lately.)

Ahh, swung at 1st pitch is on the league page and the team page but not the individual page. Probably a programming boo-boo.

Anyway, I found the thread that McCoy refers to

here which is about league numbers. That includes my take which again references leagues and generic batter approaches. What's going on with Gomez individually could be another matter.

By the way, the phenomenon that Cameron noted has already changed and "swung at first pitch" OPS is now a bit lower than "didn't swing". A key piece of missing info from my response is that these numbers currently stand at 704/708. In other years, starting with 2013 back to 2007:

709/715
722/724
707/723
721/730
738/754
742/751
745/763

So outcomes have gotten closer but in most years the difference is under 10 points of OPS.

I was a bit surprised in the first post at how stable first pitch swing rates, first pitch "fair" contact rates and first pitch outcomes were between 2008 and 2013. I checked 2007 in case 2008 was weird and that was about the same. But I took the trouble to check all of the years in-between and you do see a bit of change. First pitch swing percentages dipped as low as 26.0% (I think that was 2010) and the other years were in the mid-26's. So first-pitch swings are arguably up about 1% in the last couple of years.

But, in the aggregate, I still say the causality is the wrong way around. Swing decisions produce the results. Swing at more first pitches and chances are you either reduce the "fair contact" percentage -- i.e. the additional swings are mostly misses and fouls and you're probably worse off -- or you reduce the "fair contact" outcomes -- i.e. you are hitting more pitchers' pitches and are probably worse off.

I simply don't think there's a strategy lesson here other than the age-old "if you get a good pitch to hit, then hit it." I'm not convinced there's ever been a time when batters violated that dictum often enough to matter.
   17. Walt Davis Posted: June 24, 2014 at 01:12 AM (#4734154)
don't worry walt. i still think you are so ridiculously wrong sometime folks mistake it for making sense

Man, an insult is one thing, but calling me a Republican is going too far.

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