Archive for the ‘Anatomy of a Matchup’ Category

Albert Pujols is, as you might know, a very good baseball player. He is one of the finest hitters in the game today and probably one of the finest hitters to ever play the game of baseball. He is, by virtue of the free agent contract signed this past winter with the Los Angeles Angels, insanely wealthy and a shoo-in Hall of Famer.

Despite being one of the premier sluggers of his generation, Albert Pujols does not strikeout very often. He is the only hitter in the big leagues this year to strike out less than 12% of his plate appearances while posting an ISO over .200 (min 400 PAs.) As such, Albert Pujols does not strike out three times in a single game very often at all, earning this dubious hat trick just ten times in his career and not since 2010. Make that eleven, after last night – the first time against a single pitcher.
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Batter versus Pitcher matchup data is flawed at best. While sabr-types scoff at the minuscule sample sizes from which to draw conclusions, there can be an element of truth to numbers. Batters often swear they “see” certain pitchers better than others, though early success is sure to cloud that perception.

To say any one hitter “has success” against Stephen Strasburg is unfair. Only four hitters have as many as 10 plate appearances against the Nats phenom so there isn’t a great pool of hitters with multiple looks against him. Oddly, the player with the most career plate appearances against Strasburg is also the man with the greatest success against him: Dan Uggla.

PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Dan Uggla 20 8 2 0 2 8 3 6 .471 .550 .941 1.491
Total 118 32 7 0 3 15 10 34 .302 .356 .453 .809
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/5/2012.

Uggla is the only hitter to take the mighty Strasburg deep twice in his career. Unsurprisingly, Dan Uggla is known as a hitter who loves to crush fastballs. Stephen Strasburg throws a very, very good fastball. It makes for a great individual matchup, as you will see below the jump.

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