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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Neyer: Joey Votto has yet to hit an infield pop-up this season

Joey Votto doesn’t hit a’lotto’ infield poppo’s.

Maybe (I thought) I just don’t have any idea how many infield pops are hit by strong hitters. Over the last three seasons (2008-2010), Votto’s IFFB percentage—Infield Fly Balls / Batted Balls—is ... actually, the percentage is so low that it looks like a meaningless number: 0.006 percent.

Instead, let’s look at the Batted Balls per Infield Fly for Votto and a few other great power hitters (again, 2008-2010):

Albert Pujols: 19 Batted Balls / IFFB
Prince Fielder: 21
Miguel Cabrera: 25
Adrian Gonzalez: 38
Joey Votto: 167

Votto’s completely off the charts.

Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: September 12, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball geeks, reds

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   1. OPS+ Posted: September 12, 2010 at 03:37 AM (#3638959)
I am very impressed by this.
   2. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: September 12, 2010 at 03:45 AM (#3638961)
I was all like, "Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"
   3. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: September 12, 2010 at 03:52 AM (#3638963)
Wow. I seriously might start watching Reds games the rest of the way to see if he can make it the entire season. This is a really cool find.
   4. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 12, 2010 at 03:56 AM (#3638965)
1/167 is actually 0.6%. Neyer is off by two orders of magnitude.
   5. robneyer Posted: September 12, 2010 at 04:06 AM (#3638967)
fixed
   6. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 12, 2010 at 04:26 AM (#3638976)
Heh. Well I guess I have to RTFA then...

and it is an interesting bit of info that I had no idea about. I always thought power hitters had lots of popups. To go along with this data, it might be interesting to find out how often batters swing under or over pitches.
   7. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: September 12, 2010 at 04:51 AM (#3638983)
I believe that Aaron Boone had 16 infield popups in the 2003 World Series.
   8. shock Posted: September 12, 2010 at 06:31 AM (#3638996)
I would guess -- without doing any research -- that Vernon Wells has the most of any 25 HR guy
   9. Accent Shallow’s air guitar is out of tune Posted: September 12, 2010 at 06:37 AM (#3638998)
I was all like, "Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?"

High five, racial pride!
   10. Davo Posted: September 12, 2010 at 06:42 AM (#3639001)
I would guess -- without doing any research -- that Vernon Wells has the most of any 25 HR guy

You would be correct. Vernon Wells is actually behind only Kurt Suzuki among all qualified players, with a 20% IFFB rate.
   11. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: September 12, 2010 at 06:47 AM (#3639003)
I think remember Wade Boggs doing this in the 1980s, never popping up. I think it means he knows what he is doing up there - the kind of thing I would imagine Stan Musial and Ted Williams probably led the league in as well. But I would have thought the same for Pujols, so what do I know.
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 12, 2010 at 11:26 AM (#3639013)
I am surprised anyone here is surprised. In various Reds threads this has been mentioned since July.
   13. Repoz Posted: September 12, 2010 at 11:40 AM (#3639016)
I am surprised anyone here is surprised. In various Reds threads this has been mentioned since July.

Agree, Harveys. Thought I even posted something on it a few weeks back. Guess not.

BTW, Robbie Cano has hit 22 infield pop-ups this season at Yankee Stadium...and 14 went out as homers!
   14. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 12, 2010 at 11:57 AM (#3639020)
Repoz:

While I think it I rarely voice the contrast between a Cameron who posts on things that have not been discussed elsewhere previously versus more popular writers who seem to use BBTF and the like as their muse.
   15. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: September 12, 2010 at 12:25 PM (#3639026)
Instead, let’s look at the Batted Balls per Infield Fly for Votto and a few other great power hitters (again, 2008-2010):

Albert Pujols: 19 Batted Balls / IFFB
Prince Fielder: 21
Miguel Cabrera: 25
Adrian Gonzalez: 38
Joey Votto: 167

Votto’s completely off the charts.


Is it just me or is Rob being a little disingenuous here. He later goes on to show that Ryan Howard has hit 1 IFF per 202 batted balls. I don't find it plausible that Rob would pick a bunch of great power hitters to look at and not initially include Howard. It's as if he purposely overlooked Howard in order to write the article the way he wanted, and then later included him in a sort of postscript.
   16. BDC Posted: September 12, 2010 at 02:40 PM (#3639047)
I thought of Josh Hamilton immediately as a guy who never seems to hit a popup. And indeed, Hamilton has hit only 12 in his four-year career. In the same four years, Votto has nine, Howard has 10, Derrek Lee has 26, Matt Kemp has 17, Michael Bourn has 14. Depending on the denominator one uses (and of course the size of the denominator is dependent on playing time) Hamilton is about as hard to pop up as any of those guys. It's hard to say what they all have in common. Albert Pujols, as noted, has 92 IF popups in the four years. Just on the face of it, Albert has way more in common with Hamilton (high-average hitter with scary line-drive power) than with Howard, but on this one measure Howard and Hamilton are the twins.
   17. Home Run Teal & Black Black Black Gone! Posted: September 12, 2010 at 02:50 PM (#3639051)
It's as if he purposely overlooked Howard in order to write the article the way he wanted, and then later included him in a sort of postscript.


This isn't fair. I just didn't include the Howard part, which immediately follows, in the quoted portion of the article.

He starts with the top hitters in baseball and those are: Those dudes. Then he moves to a motley assortment of the good and mediocre which includes Howard. He's not an elite offensive guy so no reason to include him with Cabrera, Pujols, Fielder and Gonzo.

Skippy Schumacher is also a top non-IFFB hombre.
   18. hokieneer Posted: September 12, 2010 at 02:51 PM (#3639052)
Repoz:

While I think it I rarely voice the contrast between a Cameron who posts on things that have not been discussed elsewhere previously versus more popular writers who seem to use BBTF and the like as their muse.


Harvey I feel like Neyer stole this from us here. The few Reds fans, you, and myself have been discussing this and other smaller details of the Reds all season (of course the details I speak of are common discussions among Yanks, Sox, or Mets fans). Yet when Reds information comes from non-BTF posters, it's seemed as surprising.

I wonder how long it's going to take to see a Buster Olney article about the Reds bench production.
   19. John DiFool2 Posted: September 12, 2010 at 03:06 PM (#3639055)
BTW, Robbie Cano has hit 22 infield pop-ups this season at Yankee Stadium...and 14 went out as homers!


Votto's walkoff homer last night at first appeared to be a popup too, but he somehow managed to get the meat of the bat on the ball and muscled it over the opposite-field wall. For most players, that pitch indeed likely would have been a popup to short.
   20. AuntBea odeurs de parfum de distance sociale Posted: September 12, 2010 at 03:14 PM (#3639057)
I admit it. I never read a Red thread.

And my mother--shes a hometown Cincy girl, who still talks fondly of the Redlegs. I'm so sorry, mommy.
   21. hokieneer Posted: September 12, 2010 at 03:20 PM (#3639058)
Votto's walkoff homer last night at first appeared to be a popup too, but he somehow managed to get the meat of the bat on the ball and muscled it over the opposite-field wall. For most players, that pitch indeed likely would have been a popup to short.


Votto has a career .351 BABIP in his 3+ year career. That's pretty high for a guy that doesn't leg out any IF hits. He centers and crushes almost every ball he swings at.
   22. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: September 12, 2010 at 04:19 PM (#3639069)
This isn't fair. I just didn't include the Howard part, which immediately follows, in the quoted portion of the article.


I understand that. But the article reads:

"Instead, let's look at the Batted Balls per Infield Fly for Votto and a few other great power hitters (again, 2008-2010):

Albert Pujols: 19 Batted Balls / IFFB
Prince Fielder: 21
Miguel Cabrera: 25
Adrian Gonzalez: 38
Joey Votto: 167"

Emphasis mine. Why pick Fielder instead of Howard if not:

A - oversight, which is possible but to me kind of implausible

B - for purposes of the narrative he wanted.

Again, it's no big deal, just sort of oddly coincidental that you would omit the guy out-homered all of the above great power hitters over the period in question, especially when the guy omitted ruins the narrative. And then to lump Howard in with a mish mash of middling power hitters and slap hitters strikes me more as a CYA move.
   23. JoeC Posted: September 12, 2010 at 04:48 PM (#3639076)
Again, it's no big deal, just sort of oddly coincidental that you would omit the guy out-homered all of the above great power hitters over the period in question, especially when the guy omitted ruins the narrative. And then to lump Howard in with a mish mash of middling power hitters and slap hitters strikes me more as a CYA move.


Is a "great power hitter" a great hitter who hits for power, or a hitter who's great at power hitting? If it's the second you have a point, if it's the first maybe not. That list sure looks like great hitters who hit for power, though - Adam Dunn's not on there either.

Reading the full post it seems to me like Neyer was attempting to compare Votto to his peers - meaning elite hitters whose contribution comes in roughly the same shape as his. Howard certainly has an argument to be on such a list - if he's behind Fielder as a hitter, it's only slightly - but he's having a worse year than all those guys, and isn't a no-brainer inclusion (especially for a quick & dirty blog post).

Now if I were writing the article and had lots of time to reflect before putting it up, after doing the second list (with Howard) I might have thought "Hey, Howard could easily fit on that first list, doesn't that undermine my implied point that it's not such an unprecedented skill for a great power hitter?" But I don't think Neyer made that point so strongly that it needs a retraction, or anything.

[eta: just noticed the 2008-2010 time period. Howard's even further behind the guys on the list in total value if you don't get to use 2006.]
   24. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 12, 2010 at 05:24 PM (#3639082)
B-R must get its information from another source? It has Votto with 3% of his flyballs being "on the infield" this season. Still very impressive.

Derek Jeter never hits pop-ups.
   25. JoeC Posted: September 12, 2010 at 06:35 PM (#3639096)
B-R must get its information from another source? It has Votto with 3% of his flyballs being "on the infield" this season. Still very impressive.


If unsourced Fangraphs blog commentary is to believed (and if you can't trust unsourced blog posts, who can you trust?), a reader reviewed all Votto's pop-ups (as labeled by MLB) visually, and one of them was caught on the dirt right on the edge of the outfield grass. Maybe some foul pops too - not sure if those would be counted.
   26. DJ Endless Grudge Is Nobody's Disciple Posted: September 12, 2010 at 06:43 PM (#3639097)
JoeC: That's Craig Glasser, who runs this blog and works at Bloomberg Sports.

And yes, Fangraphs uses BIS data, which defines an "infield fly ball" as a fly ball 140 feet from home plate (as defined by BIS video scouts); BB-Ref and BP use MLBAM data, which defines a popup as one where the responsible fielder was an infielder (which is how Votto has at least one popup double this season, by MLBAM's definition).
   27. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2010 at 09:37 AM (#3639290)
I am surprised anyone here is surprised. In various Reds threads this has been mentioned since July.

I am surprised you are surprised that nobody reads Reds threads.

"Reads Reds threads" is halfway to a good tongue twister. Hmmm...

Ted reads Reds threads to Fred
   28. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: September 13, 2010 at 11:53 AM (#3639296)
Ned dreads when Ted retreads read Reds threads as meds for Fred.

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