A Batting Game Plan Against Two Pitchers

Do Diamondbacks batters get a game schedule before each series? The likely answer is a resounding “Yes!” I haven’t seen a plan that allows me to speculate what it looks like without worrying about revealing proprietary secrets.

With the caveat that my knowledge of baseball is certainly less than that of the pros who make game plans, and that this plan is my first attempt, what follows is a hypothetical batting plan against two Reds pitchers, Hunter Greene and Vladimir Gutierrez.

At the end of the article is a poll asking your opinion on the game plan: pretty good for a Diamondbacks fan, not all bad but not all good, or don’t quit your job. Your feedback in the comments section is welcome.

The batters’ schedule.

Diamondback hitting philosophy.

First and foremost, we strive to be good racquets.

“We’re known to be good hitters who hit home runs.” – Torey Lovullo

“Our mindset is hard line rides in the middle of the diamond, 90 MPH or better. Good things will take off from there. Your misses will be slammed in the air.” — Torey Lovullo

We wear down starting pitchers by waiting in the right spot for our pitch.

The focus of the season is on execution. The focus of the prep time is to practice what we learn from our hitting coaches.

One of the foundations of success is knowing your strengths and implementing them. Continue to use your strengths as part of our game plan.

Batters who succeeded.

None of the current Diamondbacks batters have faced a pitcher. So let’s look at a few batsmen from other teams who have had success.

The video below shows batting successes against Hunter Green and Vladimir Gutierrez.

Against Hunter Greene:

  • LHB Christian Yelich hit a homer against CF against a low 4-seam fastball.
  • RHB Luis Urias hit a homer after LF against a high 4-seam fastball.
  • LHB Christian Yelich hit a double to LF against a slider.
  • RHB Luis Urias hit a homer after LF against a slider
  • LHB Christian Yelich did not shy away from an outside change. Sometimes success means not swinging!

Against Vladimir Gutierrez:

  • LHB Christian Yelich hit a homer after LF against a 4-seam fastball.
  • LHB Christian Yelich hit a single against CF against a slider.
  • LHB Christian Yelich hits a right double CF against a corner.
  • LHB Christian Yelich didn’t swing against a low substitution. Sometimes success means not swinging.
  • As LHB, Ian Happ hit a homer for a substitution.

For more in-depth video investigations, insights could be gained from videos by Christian Yelich. He had great successes against Hunter Greene and Vladimir Gutierrez. In 5 PAs against Hunter Green his OPS was 2,100. In 16 PAs against Vladimir Gutierrez, his OPS was 1,688.

Hitting Hunter Greene.

Based on Hunter Greene’s 8.70 ERA (54 ERA+), diamondback batters are expected to do well. RHBs have an OPS of 1.008 while LHBs have an OPS of 0.704.

His fastball is impressive. His average speed of 98.5 MPH is in the 98th percentile. His spin is at the 82nd percentile. It’s its most common pitch at 53%.

While impressive, batters have had success (.531wOBA) against his fastball. If you’re a power hitter, note that batters have often hit homers against it (11 homers in 103 PAs per baseball savant). Looking at the 11 home runs, 9 were in the strike zone. For LHB, all of the homers were in the inner portion of the strike zone. For RHB, all but one home run was on the inside of the plate, with two being so far in that they were called Balls Per Gameday Zones presented by Baseball Savant.

For RHB, hitting this pitcher across all pitches is a rare exception to our mindset of hitting line drives in the middle of the diamond. When RHBs received an inside spot and drew it, their .823 wOBA was better than the center diamond (wOBA of .362 per baseball savant).

The LHB should continue to hit infields into the center of the diamond instead of pulling the ball (wOBA of .800 center vs. .684 pull).

For some batters, it may be worth waiting for a fastball since his slider had a wOBA of .244 and his changeup had a wOBA of .000.

Note that his pace is faster than the league average median time between pitch releases. With no runners on base, 20% of his pitches happen faster than 15 seconds, and his average time is 17.3 seconds per baseball reference. With runners on base, his median time jumps to 23.0 seconds, which is faster than the league average with runners on base.

His fast pace is rarely interrupted. With no runners on base, he spends more than 30 seconds between posts for just 2.8% of his pitches. If he’s in the zone and hitting well, stepping out of the box or call time could get him out of the zone and be beneficial to our thugs.

Data for the 2022 season through May 26 from Baseball Reference and Baseball Savant.

Batting against Vladimir Gutierrez.

Based on Vladimir Gutierrez’s 5.89 ERA (79 ERA+), diamondback batters are expected to do well. LHB has an OPS of 1.236 while RHBs have an OPS of 0.869.

Like Hunter Green, his most common throw is his fastball at 50%. Unlike Hunter Green, his 92.5 MPH speed and 35th percentile spin are good but not impressive. This season, LHB’s hit 5 homers against his fastball in 40 PAs per Baseball Savant.

It can be worth waiting for a fastball for LHB after his pitch count hits 50. First, 6 out of 7 allowed homers happened on pitch counts between 51 and 75. Second, the .587-wOBA is better against his fastball than the .474-wOBA against breaking balls (curve and slider) and .376-wOBA against off-speed pitches Third, we drive him out of the game by increasing his pitch count: this season it was a maximum of 88 pitches.

He very rarely throws an off-speed pitch to RHBs (about 2%).

For RHBs looking at all pitches, hitting against that pitcher can be another rare exception to the mindset of hitting line drives in the middle of the diamond. RHB had higher wOBA when hitting inside pitches (.759 pull vs. .000 middle) and outside pitches on opposite court (.661 vs. .268 middle).

Be patient when there are runners on base as his pace changes from faster to slower (25 seconds) than the league average median time between pitch releases. He takes 17.1% of his pitches with runners on base in more than 30 seconds.

Summary.

In the context of the Diamondback batting philosophy, batters with this plan are expected to have success against Hunter Greene and Vladimir Gutierrez. Although none of the Diamondbacks faced these two pitchers, we looked at ten video clips of 3 hitters hitting the pitch. We outlined concrete approaches to increase the impact success.

opinion poll

What is your opinion on the batting schedule?

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    Pretty good for a Diamondbacks fan.

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    Not all bad, but not all good.

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    Don’t quit your day job.

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