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Friday, November 17, 2017

Fangraphs: Let’s Make One Thing Absolutely Clear About Aaron Judge

Click the link for a rather compelling graphic beyond my ability to embed, as well as additional data, but the conclusion is:

Judge hits the ball the hardest. The point that’s less obvious: That means Judge gets to play by his own rules. Strikeouts don’t mean for him what they would for someone else, because Judge doesn’t need a low strikeout rate to be good. He doesn’t need a low strikeout rate to be terrific. He doesn’t even need a low strikeout rate to be a deserving league MVP. Statcast has revealed the whole truth of Aaron Judge, and the truth is that, at least in the American League, he is one of a kind. That might make it harder to see the future, but then, maybe, it doesn’t make it harder at all.

And he just might cut down on those strikeouts.

EDIT: Image embedding skills… ACTIVATE!
blame vi if this doesn't show a chart
The yellow dot is Judge in 2017. -vi

The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:34 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: aaron judge, exit velocity, home runs, new york yankees, statcast

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. DL from MN Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:46 PM (#5578028)
Who is the guy on the lower left?
   2. JJ1986 Posted: November 17, 2017 at 12:51 PM (#5578032)
Who is the guy on the lower left?
I'm gonna guess Jason Heyward, 2016.
   3. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5578164)
I recall reading somewhere that Judge was 3rd in baseball for getting pitches taken out of the strikezone called as strikes. That seems to fit with my observations as well - this stuff was brutal. If he starts to get a more neutral zone called against him it would go a long way towards continuing his outstanding offensive performance.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5578165)
Thanks for embedding the graph. Now, if this site was actually user-friendly, there'd be a tutorial somewhere on how to accomplish such awesome tasks.

The article seems like a counterpoint to the claim that Judge's 2017 BABIP is unsustainable and he's destined to regress in 2018. It does seem like hitting the ball harder than anyone else is different than getting a lot of bloop hits, but I suppose we'll have to see if barreling up the ball up and hitting it very hard are repeatable skills. We can only hope. RTFA.
   5. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:24 PM (#5578173)

Pitches at the knees are called a strike 16.4 percentage points more often against Judge than the league average hitter. Pitches at the letters are called a strike 24.4 percent points less often against Judge than the league average hitter. Umpires need to move their entire strike zone up a few inches against Judge. He’s getting more called strikes down and not enough called strikes up.

On one hand, trading a few extra strikes at the bottom of the zone for many more balls at the top of the zone sounds like a good trade-off. On the other hand, many more pitches are thrown down in the zone than up. The league average numbers during the regular season:

Total pitches in zones 11-13 (up): 62,564
Total pitches in zones 17-19 (down): 93,834

There are three pitches in zones 17-19 for every two pitches in zones 11-13. Given that, it would be more beneficial for Judge to trade called strikes at the letters for balls at the knees than to stick with the status quo, in which he trades called strikes at the knees for balls at the letters. Pitchers attack Judge down in the zone. They did it all season. The fewer gift strikes they get down there, the better


River Avenue Blues
   6. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:33 PM (#5578188)
461/1018 on contact ... so either you've got the guy who's finally going to top Ruth or you've got a guy in store for one hell of a correction ... while quite possibly still leading the majors over the next 5 years.

As I've said elsewhere, looking at his performance this year compared with others who've pulled off something similar has convinced me that he's almost certainly going to be at least very, very good over the next bunch of years (Jack Clark, Frank Howard on the HoVG end of the spectrum; Reggie, McCovey, Thome on the HoF end; hard to see him being any worse than Ryan Howard and he's got more defensive value at the moment). As I mentioned the other day, even from just a baseball perspective (i.e. money aside), he might be a toss-up with Stanton over the next 10 years. But I don't expect him to re-write the record book although he obviously has some chance at Bonds' 73 if everything goes right again.

But you never know ... if #3 is right, that suggests pitchers are already pitching around him even more than it appeared from his already massive walk rate. Maybe they'll start walking him nearly as often as they did Bonds in which case, like Bonds, he can become increasingly selective about what he does swing at and the on-contact numbers could maintain.

On #3 ... is that after adjusting for the fact he's 10 feet tall and so should have a much higher top end of the strike zone?
   7. BDC Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:40 PM (#5578196)
Career OPS, minimum 500 PAs, striking out in more than 30% of plate appearances:

Player             OPS   SO   PA
Aaron Judge       .992  250  773
Miguel Sano       .844  470 1313
Trevor Story      .826  321  970
Domingo Santana   .822  346 1093
Joey Gallo        .819  272  685
Chris Davis       .818 1504 4701
Russell Branyan   .814 1118 3398
Jack Cust         .813  819 2581
Ryan Schimpf      .809  175  527
Mark Reynolds     .784 1806 5846
Bo Jackson        .784  841 2626
Chris Carter      .768  951 2853
Rob Deer          .766 1409 4513 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/17/2017.

That is daft.
   8. BDC Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5578197)
And the single-season version of #7:

Player            OPS  SO  PA Year
Aaron Judge     1.049 208 678 2017
Ryan Howard      .976 199 648 2007
Chris Davis      .923 208 670 2015
Jack Cust        .912 164 507 2007
Adam Dunn        .892 199 648 2010
Mark Reynolds    .892 223 662 2009
Joey Gallo       .869 196 532 2017
Kris Bryant      .858 199 650 2015 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/17/2017.
   9. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 17, 2017 at 03:45 PM (#5578201)
I recall reading somewhere that Judge was 3rd in baseball for getting pitches taken out of the strikezone called as strikes. That seems to fit with my observations as well - this stuff was brutal. If he starts to get a more neutral zone called against him it would go a long way towards continuing his outstanding offensive performance.

Seems like the Yankees should do a video presentation for MLB on that point, emphasizing that some pitches that would be strikes to almost any other batter would still be low for Judge. I suppose there might be rules against sending that type of info directly to the umpires, but perhaps the next Yankee manager can also remind the home plate umpires during the pre-game line-up card exchange. #Justice for Judge.
   10. Sleepy's not going to blame himself Posted: November 17, 2017 at 04:48 PM (#5578227)
perhaps the next Yankee manager can also remind the home plate umpires during the pre-game line-up card exchange. #Justice for Judge.
That could be detrimental, though, both in terms of pissing off the umpires and inadvertently causing them to subconsciously screw up (quick, don't think of a pink elephant!)
   11. Batman Posted: November 17, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5578241)
The anti-Judge on the lower left is Jesus Sucre in 2015.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2017 at 06:32 PM (#5578252)
sweet!
   13. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 06:57 PM (#5578257)
The article seems like a counterpoint to the claim that Judge's 2017 BABIP is unsustainable and he's destined to regress in 2018.

and keep in mind, his BAPIP is artificially lowered because HRs don't count. If one were to axe, what is his BA when he doesn't make on out or walk, it would be over .400
   14. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 17, 2017 at 07:37 PM (#5578270)
what is his BA when he doesn't make on out of walk


I'm pretty sure everybody bats 1.000 when they don't make an out. Assuming you meant when he doesn't strike out or walk, that's another way of saying on contact, which Walt answered in #6 -- .461/1.018
   15. Walt Davis Posted: November 17, 2017 at 08:47 PM (#5578282)
On-contact (here the fair territory split which is the closest available on b-r) rose dramatically starting in mid-2015 (which suggests it was the ball) after being pretty stable for years (then dropping some in 2014 and early 2015 I believe). Here's the AL (to take pitchers almost completely out of it, also use OBP to treat SFs as outs). ISO/SLG went particularly nuts this year. If we stabilize here or especially if the trend upwards continues, then somebody will eventually pass Ruth (Thome came reasonably close). And if the new ISO-oriented approach is sustainable then a 30% K-rate probably becomes sustainable.

On the fg chart ... impressive but it still suggests that Judge will fall back. For just one season, a point way out on its own is just an outlier until he repeats it. It would be good to know who those 5 nearest dots are ... I wouldn't be surprised if two or three are Stanton but would expect it to be mostly one-offs (given the three seasons). We still expect Judge to fall back, even if it's only to the level of those 5. (I wasn't aware you could realistically have a wOBA over 500, kinda defeats the rationale of putting things on a supposed OBP scale.)

                      
Year    OBP  SLG BAbip
2000   .338 .550  .309
2001   .331 .537  .303
2002   .321 .521  .293
2003   .332 .536  .304
2004   .339 .549  .310
2005   .332 .532  .306
2006   .343 .551  .315
2007   .339 .536  .315
2008   .336 .534  .311
2009   .338 .549  .309
2010   .329 .521  .304
2011   .329 .526  .303
2012   .331 .539  .302
2013   .334 .533  .307
2014   .330 .515  .306
2015   .333 .544  .305
2016   .340 .566  .307
2017   .342 .580  .307


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/18/2017.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2017 at 03:21 AM (#5578312)
Looking at that table I notice that even 2015's ISO (211) was tied for the highest since 2000 (212) ... the last two years at 226 and 238 are about 3 and 4.5 standard deviations higher than the 2000-2015 mean.
   17. I Am Not a Number Posted: November 18, 2017 at 08:04 AM (#5578316)
Judge needs a brightly colored line around his knees to remind the umpires that his knees are not at a normal human's level. Obviously he can't do that, but is there something legal, uniform-wise, that he CAN do? He's already wearing high stirrups, so you'd think that would be a vast improvement already over the now traditional long pants.
   18. Sunday silence Posted: November 18, 2017 at 12:56 PM (#5578367)
Wat is the table in 15 showing? I thought it was outcomes on balls in play if so why is column 1 OBP?? shouldn't that be batting avg? It can't be AL offense they aren't slugging .560 on avg. Very confused. thanks
   19. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 18, 2017 at 01:11 PM (#5578371)
OBP is a touch lower than BA for that split due to SF. AL SLG on balls in fair territory was in fact .560 (edit -- i.e., this includes HR).
   20. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 18, 2017 at 02:53 PM (#5578391)
Judge needs a brightly colored line around his knees to remind the umpires that his knees are not at a normal human's level. Obviously he can't do that,


Could a team design a uniform with a broad horizontal stripe at the knees? Would that be within team discretion to use? Presumably yes, as knee-length shorts are apparently allowed....
   21. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: November 18, 2017 at 03:02 PM (#5578395)
He could accomplish that with real old school stirrups and sanitaries, instead of knee socks.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2017 at 03:42 PM (#5578400)
#18: B-R doesn't provide a split for "contact" but does supply one for "fair territory". Those are the outcomes of all balls hit fair which is nearly all balls "on-contact" ... or nearly all of what Statcast is calling "batted ball events." Actual outcomes "on contact" are a bit lower because of the small number of foul-outs. OBP is used because OBP includes SF in the denominator while BA does not ... BA and OBP are nearly identical so that's strictly a technical point.

So that table is what happens when AL batters actually hit the ball (into fair territory). The rest of the time they strike out or walk or get hit by the pitch or ... or foul out. Batters have been doing more damage on-contact in the last 2-2.5 years than they ever have.

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