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Fun With Pull Charts

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Have Spring Training games started yet? No? Since there's nothing new to talk about (unless signing Tomko and Jennings is "news"), all we have left is reorganizing and regurgitating old baseball. With that in mind, I generated pull charts for our 2010 lineup, based on 2009 data. Each chart is divided into three field sections, simply showing the player's wOBA on batted balls to that area of the field. Pure white is set at the average wOBA for 2009, with shades of red and blue corresponding to above and below the average, respectively. Chart after the jump.

Pullcharts_medium

The whole point of these charts is to show how much each batter pulls to his side. Take, for example, Mark Ellis. His pull split is relatively strong, meaning most of his batted balls are hit to his side of the batter's box. Ryan Sweeney, on the other hand, tends to spray balls all over the field in a balanced fashion.

Of course, the main advantage of hitting balls to all fields is that the defense can't "cheat" and reposition themselves. Recall that Jason Giambi, who exhibited a very pronounced pull effect, would always find the defense shifted over onto the right side of the field, which clearly put him at a large disadvantage.

Don't look now, but the first Spring Training game is in two days. Two days!

 

 

Odds and Ends

  • You can click on the chart for a larger version. Alternatively, here are links to each player's chart individually (Suzuki, Barton, Ellis, Pennington, Kouzmanoff, Davis, Crisp L, Crisp R, Sweeney, Cust).
  • If you're wondering why all three field sectors for Jack Cust are at a higher wOBA than his season wOBA, it's because this chart only looks at batted balls. Assume, for the sake of example, that he is a theoretical pure Three True Outcomes player. Since every ball that he hit into fair territory would be a home run, Cust would have an exorbitantly high wOBA for all field sectors, even though the strikeouts would drag his actual wOBA down to somewhat normal levels.
  • The reason Crisp has two charts while Pennington has one is because Pennington barely got a handful of plate appearances as a righty in 2009. Crisp got enough as a switch hitter to justify a second chart.
  • Oddly enough, Crisp as a righty shows a reversed pull from what you'd expect. I'm going to attribute this to a small sample size fluke as a result of dividing his plate appearances between two stances.
  • Also, the technical glitches have been solved (sorta) and the new ANcillary Terms is up and live!