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Can I get a redo on John Jaso?

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This week we examine the career best start of John Jaso.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2014 season, I had my doubts about John Jaso. Those have been erased by his hot start. Check out his stat line below. Sweeeeeet.

Season

PA

H

2B

3B

HR

R

RBI

BB%

K%

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

2014

126

31

6

1

4

16

12

11.90%

25.40%

.183

.365

.284

.373

.468

.370

139

Let's take a look behind the numbers to see how Jaso is having a career-best start. Let's start with the walks, again at an awesome 11.90%. This just completely baffles me. In an era of defensive alignments down to the inch on each hitter, you think teams would just stop throwing pitches out of the zone to Jaso. Nope. So far Jaso has taken pitches for balls a whopping 40% of the time, a mere 1% lower than his career rate.

Next is the K% at a pretty healthy 25.4%. That's right, one out of every 4 plate appearances ends with Jaso walking back to the dugout. This is a bit of a concern in that the previous high for Jaso is 18.4% last year. Part of the strike-outs is Jaso is simply making less contact. Whether swinging at pitches in out of the zone, Jaso is putting the ball in play less.

Season

O-Swing%

Z-Swing%

Swing%

O-Contact%

Z-Contact%

Contact%

Zone%

2014

21.10%

56.50%

39.10%

48.10%

88.20%

77.60%

50.90%

Total

19.80%

52.00%

36.00%

66.40%

92.20%

85.10%

50.20%

We will have to return to this in a minute. But next is the ISO at .183. This is a career best. My major concern with Jaso coming into the season was with the power. Last year, Jaso seemed to change his approach to hitting, hitting more balls to the opposite field. He had tremendous success, but I had doubts he could continue this. His opposite field hitting was significantly higher than his career marks. While his pull contact (where Jaso usually makes his money) was far less effective. If Jaso continued this approach but was a little less fortunate on the opposite field contact, we would be looking at a poor hitter.


Pull

Center

Opposite

2013 wOBA

.304

.274

.492

2013 % of PA

40

28

32

Career wOBA

.390

.300

.310

Career % of PA

40

36

24

But no! Jaso looks to have given up on the oppo stuff and really focused on pulling the ball. Maybe he read this article on how A's get a lot of value by pulling the ball. (Yeah right.)


Pull

Center

Opposite

2014 wOBA

.509

.486

.247

2014 % of PA

45

33

22

Career wOBA

.390

.300

.310

Career % of PA

40

36

24

Watching Jaso swing last year, my concern was that he was hitting too tall and basically just trying to slice it into right-field. This year he is getting much lower and is able to drive the ball. It looks like he is definitely trying to get his money's worth this year. Sure, that has led to an increase in the strike-outs. But who cares with that .183 ISO.

 photo JasoCompGIF_zps9dcf7704.gif

So now that I have seen that 1) pitchers are still going to throw him pitches out of the zone 2) he is pulling the ball more and 3) Jaso his getting more hip bend and driving the ball can I get a redo on my prediction? How about .270/.370/.448. Yeah, that sounds pretty good.

(Oh yeah, Jaso still can't hit LHP at all. 26 wRC+ in only 11 plate appearances. Thank goodness for Derek Norris!)