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Author Topic: Let's talk about hitting  (Read 6915 times)

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EconHawg

Let's talk about hitting
« on: March 11, 2019, 12:28:59 pm »

And various other non-pitching things.

                           AVG     HR     RBI     SLG%     BB    BB/GM   SO   SO/GM   GDP    OB%    SB-ATT    E    FLD%
ARK (18) (48-21)    .296     98    452     .475      324     4.7     511     7.4      37     .391      39-57     68   .972   ;)
ARK (19) (12-2)      .303    15     103     .479       77     5.5     103     7.4       7      .401      29-32     15   .971   8)
FLA (13-5)            .293     19     120     .454       84     4.7     139     7.7       6      .392      15-19     23   .966   ::)
Vandy (13-3)         .333     15     128     .510       99     6.2     113     7.1       9      .437      18-25      7   .988   :o
OSU (12-1-1)        .273     13      87      .419       77     5.5     112     8.0      11     .383        5-11      8   .984  :puke:
LSU (11-4)            .290     18     108     .460       59     3.9      99      6.6     10      .379      12-14     12   .977   ???
UCLA (11-3)          .275      7      69      .405       65     4.6     122      8.7      5      .382       16-19      9   .983   :-\                                                           
Texas (12-6)         .249     10      89      .362       96     5.3     140     7.7      15     .363       23-27    32   .954   ::hornsdown::
LA Tech (10-5)      .279     15      98      .428       60     4.0     125     8.3       3      .371       21-27    16   .971   :)
Mizzou (9-5)         .283      13     79      .424       81     5.8      96      6.7      12     .392       32-38    12   .977   :-X


For anyone that thought we were burning it up on the bases this season, look at what Mizzou is doing. While their success rate (84.2%) is lower than ours (90.6%), they have attempted six more and stolen three more bases than we have through the same number of games. To be fair, we are a close second in bases stolen, and it really drops off after us on this list. We're one of only two teams on this list with an OBP over .400. In fact, we're second in AVG, SLG, and OBP, trailing only Vandy in each of those categories (among teams listed here, which is pretty arbitrary).

What's going on with Florida's fielding this year? So much for warm weather leading to better early season fielding.

Vanderbilt looks legit across the board. I'll repeat my thoughts from last week... that is going to be a tough series in Nashville.

It looks like OSU is missing Larnach, Grenier, and Nick Madrigal at the plate this season, and I say good riddance to them.

Oh LSU, everyone had such high hopes for you this year. What happened? It really breaks my heart to see such pedestrian numbers from the best returning lineup in the country. At least their pitching is super good. A 5.05 ERA is good right?

UCLA's pitching staff has been pretty dominant so far this season, and it looks like they're going to have to carry that team this year, because nothing on their offensive stat line scares me.

What might make me the happiest out of all of these stats, is the stat line for Texas. They lead this list in errors, GDP, and strikeouts. Accordingly, they are also last in Fielding %, OBP, SLG, and BA.  I believe my pitching stats from last week showed that Texas looks pretty tough on the mound, but I think they will struggle against our pitching staff, even in a midweek series.

LA Tech's stats don't jump off the page at you, but they fit squarely in with several of the other teams here. What does stick out is what we saw this weekend: they don't take many walks, and they strikeout a lot (tip of the cap to Campbell and Scroggins).

You never take an SEC series lightly, but I don't think Mizzou is as bad as their reputation might suggest this season. I work on campus at Mizzou, and the students here would tell you they are the worst team in the country (but how about those Cardinals?) but the offensive numbers really stack up pretty solid across the board. It looks like they are very patient at the plate, taking a lot of walks with very few strikeouts. Also, Plunkett and Opitz will have their arms tested like no other team has yet this year. I hope the pitchers are working on their pick-off moves this week (I hope pesky base runners don't shake Campbell's focus, he's come a long way in that regard this year). It looks like the weather could be nice, so settle in for a good weekend of baseball, and don't get caught looking past them and on to Texas on Tuesday.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2019, 03:38:57 pm by EconHawg »
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dotnet

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2019, 11:25:00 pm »

Missouri's best opponent on the year is North Florida, and they lost 2 out of 3 to them.  They're... not great.

With having the two easiest (probably) teams on the schedule the first two weeks of conference, I think its pretty important to jump out to a 4-2 record in the first six games. 
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2019, 11:41:38 am »

Just to brag on the position players a little:

Casey Opitz is tied for 31st in D1 with 1.08 BB per game

The team is:
33rd in D1 with a BA of .297
40th in runs scored with 111
Tied for 9th in stolen bases with 26
9th in stolen bases per game with 2.6
Tied for 49th in double per game with 2.09
Tied for 34th in HR with 12
Tied for 33rd in HR per game, with 1.07
Tied for 24th in Sac Flies with 8
27th in scoring with 7.9 runs per game
17th in slugging % at .478
Tied for 7th in WL% at .909


I might have missed something else, but these were the top 50 rankings I found as of this morning. The NCAA website is apparently setup to redirect visitors to the March Madness bracket page randomly (even if you're looking through baseball stats) so it was a battle finding these.

Still, I'll take the team stats over individual stats any day. The production has been spread out as the bottom of the order has had to pick up the top at times.
I'd rather the team be 17th in SLG% with no individuals in the top 50, than have one in the top 50 and the team not be.

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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2019, 12:02:11 pm »

Missouri's best opponent on the year is North Florida, and they lost 2 out of 3 to them.  They're... not great.

With having the two easiest (probably) teams on the schedule the first two weeks of conference, I think its pretty important to jump out to a 4-2 record in the first six games.

Overall, yes, not great. They have an RPI of 165 (not a great measure this early, but still) and for reference here's where some of our other opponents currently rank in RPI:

USC 136
Memphis 166
ORU 152
EIU 145
WIU 134
Charlotte 249


But, if you look at some of the individuals we will be playing against in a weekend series, I think you'll agree they shouldn't be overlooked:

Potential starting pitching:

                              APP-GS    IP      ERA      WHIP     B/AVG
TJ Sikkema                  5-3     19.2    0.46       0.89     .186
Art Joven                    4-2     7.0     3.86       2.43      .333
Jacob Cantleberry         4-3     21.2    2.91      1.42      .253
Tyler LaPlante              4-4     21.0    3.43      1.14      .256

So, there are a few good arms we will have to deal with, like any other SEC team has. Also, Kameron Misner is on the Golden Spikes watchlist, and is slashing .373/.529/.588 with 8 stolen bases. He's a guy that can get a hit on anyone. And he's one of 5 starters batting over .320. So there is a good chunk of their lineup that will be tough to deal with.

The difference between them and better SEC teams (including us) is the depth. After those top 5 hitters, the rest are all hitting below .220.

That game 1 will be tough, because Sikkema is good enough to hold our bats down. If that happens, they have enough quality bats to put up a couple of runs and steal a game from us. I don't expect it, but it could happen.
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Razrpig256

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2019, 02:04:14 pm »

Overall, yes, not great. They have an RPI of 165 (not a great measure this early, but still) and for reference here's where some of our other opponents currently rank in RPI:

USC 136
Memphis 166
ORU 152
EIU 145
WIU 134
Charlotte 249


But, if you look at some of the individuals we will be playing against in a weekend series, I think you'll agree they shouldn't be overlooked:

Potential starting pitching:

                              APP-GS    IP      ERA      WHIP     B/AVG
TJ Sikkema                  5-3     19.2    0.46       0.89     .186
Art Joven                    4-2     7.0     3.86       2.43      .333
Jacob Cantleberry         4-3     21.2    2.91      1.42      .253
Tyler LaPlante              4-4     21.0    3.43      1.14      .256

So, there are a few good arms we will have to deal with, like any other SEC team has. Also, Kameron Misner is on the Golden Spikes watchlist, and is slashing .373/.529/.588 with 8 stolen bases. He's a guy that can get a hit on anyone. And he's one of 5 starters batting over .320. So there is a good chunk of their lineup that will be tough to deal with.

The difference between them and better SEC teams (including us) is the depth. After those top 5 hitters, the rest are all hitting below .220.

That game 1 will be tough, because Sikkema is good enough to hold our bats down. If that happens, they have enough quality bats to put up a couple of runs and steal a game from us. I don't expect it, but it could happen.

Believe I saw somewhere that Misner is a possible first round pick in the draft this year and Sikkema is as good as anyone in the SEC so I expect a typical SEC Friday night game.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2019, 09:08:25 am »

After last night, as a team Arkansas is now .306/.404/.489

That's good for the 21st best BA in D1
« Last Edit: March 13, 2019, 12:14:30 pm by EconHawg »
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LJHOG

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 10:04:57 am »

With having the two easiest (probably) teams on the schedule the first two weeks of conference, I think its pretty important to jump out to a 4-2 record in the first six games. 
Looking at the conference I'd say 4-2 would be barely acceptable.
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Razrpig256

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2019, 10:32:40 am »

Looking at the conference I'd say 4-2 would be barely acceptable.

It's hard to expect a sweep against any SEC opponent but 5-1 definitely would be a nice start. If I was offered 4-2 today though, I think I would take it and I assume DVH would feel the same way.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2019, 08:48:12 am »

As of this morning:

                           AVG     HR     RBI     SLG%     BB    BB/GM   SO   SO/GM   GDP    OB%    SB-ATT    E    FLD%
ARK     (14-2)         .310    17     120     .488       89     5.6     118     7.4       8     .413      33-37     17   .971   8)
Mizzou (11-5)         .293    16     107     .438       99     6.2     112     7.0      12     .413      39-45     12   .979   :-X

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returntoglory

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 09:35:23 am »

Wow, I didn't think Mizzou would run so much. Also, did it seem to anybody else that we ran less against La Tech than normal. I haven't gone back and looked at the stats, but it just seemed to me we didn't steal as much.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #10 on: March 14, 2019, 10:22:09 am »

Wow, I didn't think Mizzou would run so much. Also, did it seem to anybody else that we ran less against La Tech than normal. I haven't gone back and looked at the stats, but it just seemed to me we didn't steal as much.

I think we stole 3 in game 3, but none in the first two games. The catchers for LA Tech, Clayton and Matulia both had pretty solid arms, and their starting pitching was pretty quick to the plate the first two games.

It seems a little crazy to me that our fielding % is so low (about what we fielded last year) although to me, it seems like we've been playing better defense than we did last year, at least to this point. I guess the errors and unearned runs haven't come at crucial times for the most part. And also, we're second in the SEC in double plays fielded with 14.  That becomes even more impressive when you consider that we're second to last in chances at 591 (Florida is first at 712), and tied for last in the SEC (with Missouri) at 16 games played so far.
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Pudgepork

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Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2019, 10:33:50 am »

Wow, I didn't think Mizzou would run so much. Also, did it seem to anybody else that we ran less against La Tech than normal. I haven't gone back and looked at the stats, but it just seemed to me we didn't steal as much.

I hate to keep mentioning "what bubba said", but he said the reason the hogs didn't attempt to steal was because tech kept trotting lefty after lefty to the mound.  He said it's much harder to get a good jump on a lefty
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jbell96

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2019, 11:21:17 am »

Looking at the conference I'd say 4-2 would be barely acceptable.

Going 4-2 and winning both of our first two series is more than barely acceptable.

BaconTheSaddleAgain

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2019, 11:23:08 am »

Team numbers are good and Martin and Fletcher haven't even gotten going yet really. They will. Kjerstad started slow but has has been dynamite the last couple of weeks.
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woodhog14

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2019, 01:34:27 pm »

Looking at the conference I'd say 4-2 would be barely acceptable.
Seriously?
The goal is to win the series every weekend. If we start off 4-2, we hit our goal...winning both series.
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BroyledNutts

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2019, 01:43:02 pm »

Looking at the conference I'd say 4-2 would be barely acceptable.

I get it. (I think)
Looking at the conference, and who we play on the road, getting off to the fastest start possible - particularly against Mizzou and Bama - would be a good thing.
5-1 or 6-0 would be incredible. It would put an extra win or two in the bank in case you have a series, or two, go bad somewhere.
4-2 is on pace to take 2-3, which is the goal in conference ... that puts you at 20-10 at season's end, which puts you in great shape to host.
You just have to maintain that result ... even against the heavies, even on the road. That is hard to do in this conference.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2019, 10:56:44 am »

As of this morning:

                           AVG     HR     RBI     SLG%     BB    BB/GM   SO   SO/GM   GDP    OB%    SB-ATT    E    FLD%
ARK     (17-2)         .294    18     127     .457       95     5.0     141     7.4      10     .394      37-41     20   .971   8)
Texas (15-7)          .249    11     108     .352       115    5.2     167     7.6      18     .363      27-32     32   .962    ::hornsdown::
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2019, 10:09:20 am »

I've been posting pitching stats in the pitching thread sorted out based on the main arms we're counting on in meaningful innings. So, to go along with that, I've broken out our "Big 9" batters, which is just everyone who has 40+ ABs at this point. This includes: Franklin, Kjerstad, Nestbit, Ezell, Kenley, Fletcher, Martin, Opitz, and Goodheart. I further broke that down into the Top and Bottom of the order, with the top being the first 4 in the lineup because that has been the exact same 4 batters for every game this year. The bottom of the order is: Opitz, Goodheart, Kenley, Nesbit, and Franklin. Here's your chance to get an idea of where the production is coming from, and I'm also including some stats you won't find on the team stat page. Also, I'm going to follow bruinstyle's lead and attach screen shots of the excel sheet I'm using rather than type it into this thread. That should also make it more friendly to mobile users. Note that the team fielding % shown here will differ from the team stats page because it doesn't include any fielding stats from our pitchers.
Some of the stats are self explanatory and or common, but just to elaborate on what might not be as obvious:
OPS = OB% + SLG%
K% = strikeouts/plate appearances
BB% = Walks/Plate Appearances
SB% = Stolen Bases/ Attempts
If you've got any comments or suggestions, please let me know.

EDIT: I'm still playing with the spreadsheet, and once I get tables set up, they will auto update for the rest of the season, so I went ahead and pulled out individual stats for the "Big 9"
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 11:40:14 am by EconHawg »
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2019, 08:36:35 am »

Arkansas hitting stats updated to include game 2 against Texas.

I also added PPA%. You've never heard of PPA% you say? Of course you haven't, I just made it up. In a nutshell, its every productive outcome from a plate appearance (H, BB, HBP, SF, SH) divided by total plate appearances. ROE isn't included, because I couldn't find those numbers. The point is to show the percentage of plate appearances that the hitter "gets the job done". If you don't like it or think its pointless/redundant, just skip over it. I like it, so I'm including it.

See yesterday's post for a description of how the groups are defined.

TebowHater

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Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2019, 08:39:59 am »

Our 2 first round draft picks basically leading the team in worst PPA. Everyone better watch out if they turn it out. I really like PPA, too, great stats, thanks! You should trademark that
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2019, 08:42:29 am »

What good are Arkansas's stats without something to compare them to?

Here is the starting 9 from Bama for most of their weekend series @ Ole Miss this past weekend (their "Big 9" if you will)

Because I split our order into top (first 4) and bottom (last 5), I split theirs the same way to make for a more valid comparison.

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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2019, 08:44:38 am »

And finally, what really matters, how does our starting lineup stack up against their starting lineup?

TebowHater

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Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2019, 08:45:49 am »

And finally, what really matters, how does our starting lineup stack up against their starting lineup?

So you're saying they're better  ;)...awesome work dude, thanks for all the work you put into these, I know a ton of us appreciate it.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2019, 08:46:04 am »

Our 2 first round draft picks basically leading the team in worst PPA. Everyone better watch out if they turn it out. I really like PPA, too, great stats, thanks! You should trademark that

Thanks! I'm sure I'm not the first to put something like that together. I got the idea from hearing one of the coaches (I think DVH) talk about something similar in an interview earlier this year.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2019, 08:48:31 am »

So you're saying they're better  ;)...awesome work dude, thanks for all the work you put into these, I know a ton of us appreciate it.

Well, from these stats it would look that way. But also I should include that our SOS to this point is #41 and theirs is #170, so maybe they haven't seen as good of pitching as we have.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2019, 10:00:41 am »

Here's the updated tables after a crazy weekend series on the road at Alabama. Like I've said, I'm still tinkering with this, so there's a few changes to this week. Instead of top half/bottom half, it is now split into top (1-3)/middle (4-6)/bottom (7-9) of the order. I used the lineup we used on Friday and Sunday, which has been most common lately. The individual stats are listed in that order now for reference.
Also, you'll see a new stat listed next to stolen base success % (SB%), called SBA%. Its an attempt to measure how often the player attempts to steal whenever he is on base, so it is calculated by (Stolen base attempts)/(Hits + Walks + Hit by pitch)-(Home runs + Triples).

EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2019, 09:08:16 am »

Today's team hitting update comes with a question: has the Mendoza line moved?

As Opitz's BA falls, it brings up the question of what is the cutoff today for a player to stay in the lineup? I know this question really makes more sense in pro ball when you can call up a prospect or make a trade, but my real point here is whether or not BA is the stat we should be looking at for this determination. Although Casey Opitz only gets a hit in 21.8% of his at bats, he is second on the team in on base percentage at .430, and third in productive plate appearance % (a made up stat) at .468. He leads the team in walks with 20, and is a perfect 5-5 in stolen bases (although he is the 4th least likely to steal if on base). So at his normal spot in the lineup this season, the 5 hole, would you trade a higher BA for a lower OB%? In theory, you hope your clean-up hitter has just driven in anyone who got on base in the top of the order. So that essentially means his job is to get on base and be a potential RBI. Likewise, if he were to hit in the 8 hole going forward (where the catcher hit last night) don't you just want runners on base for Franklin?

We've also talked about the potential to pinch hit for him late in games with runners on base. I could see that given his low BA and SLG%, but again, if there's less than two outs, you've got to like his chances to reach via walk, move runners over with a bunt, or bring someone in with a sac fly. He is tied for the lowest strikeout % among starters at .150, although he does lead the team with 6 times grounded into a double play. I think we currently have two catchers who would be starters on a majority of college baseball teams, and within that, we have one who continues to set himself apart with truly elite receiving and fielding abilities. Given that, I would think Opitz's impact on the game defensively would typically outweigh the impact that 1 plate appearance by a pinch hitter (who would likely have a lower OBP than Optiz) would have, unless you are down going into the ninth. However, I love the fact that our backup catcher is as good as he is so that neither have to start every game and will be less likely to wear out before the season is over.

I don't think anyone out there is calling for Opitz to play less, or at least I haven't seen that here, but he is becoming a statistical anomaly in terms of BA vs. OBP, so I thought it was worth talking about. I'm not sure how often you see the hitter with the team's lowest batting average (among starters) also have the second highest on base percentage among starters.

Also of note, Dominic Fletcher has been on an absolute tear of late. Across his stat line here, you'll see he only falls in the bottom half in terms of stolen bases. His BA has climbed to .312, he's slugging .559, and accordingly, his OPS is approaching 1. To me, what really sticks out is the fact that he is tied (with Opitz) for the lowest strikeout percentage among starters. That's a big step forward from the past two seasons, during which he often struggled with strikeouts. I've mentioned during a few game threads lately that it looks like Fletcher's swing has changed slightly. I don't pretend to be an expert on hitting mechanics by any means, but to me, it looks like his bat path has leveled out lately, keeping the barrel in the zone longer. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this topic as well.

One more thing: Jacob Nesbit has the longest active hitting streak in the SEC at 15 games. That's also tied for the longest hitting streak of the season in the SEC.

Again, the Top, Middle, and Bottom of the order are the 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9 hitters, respectively. The batting order used for this is the order they are shown here in the individual stats. What I had been calling PPA has been changed to Prod% (productive plate appearances %) to avoid confusion with pitches per plate appearance.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 01:42:11 pm by EconHawg »
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woodrow hog call

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2019, 09:25:18 am »

Some spots you take what you get at the plate because of what the player brings defensively, Opitz fits that for this team above anybody in my opinion. His OB% is high enough that his low avg isn’t killing us as well.

Not a knock on Plunkett at all, Opitz is just a very elite catcher.

Razrpig256

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #28 on: March 27, 2019, 09:35:49 am »

Only in a few rare situations would I consider pinch hitting for Opitz. We would likely have to be trailing in the 9th or extras with runners on base. Otherwise, his defense is too valuable to remove him from a game. I have mentioned before, I would move him to the 9 hole as a type of second leadoff guy since he works counts and has such a high OBP. If he is able to just hit .250 and keep drawing walks at the same rate, having him on base for Martin and Kjerstad is extremely valuable.

EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #29 on: March 27, 2019, 09:46:52 am »

Only in a few rare situations would I consider pinch hitting for Opitz. We would likely have to be trailing in the 9th or extras with runners on base. Otherwise, his defense is too valuable to remove him from a game. I have mentioned before, I would move him to the 9 hole as a type of second leadoff guy since he works counts and has such a high OBP. If he is able to just hit .250 and keep drawing walks at the same rate, having him on base for Martin and Kjerstad is extremely valuable.

I completely agree about not wanting to pinch hit for him. Like I said, I think you'd have to be down going in to the 9th to even consider it. I just think its odd that we have a guy currently hitting .218 in our lineup, that most would agree you wouldn't want to pinch hit for except in very rare circumstances, and maybe not even then. As well as he sees strikes and balls at the plate, you've got to think he's due for some correction upwards in his batting average.
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #30 on: March 27, 2019, 10:57:22 am »

With Ole Miss also done with its midweek games this week, I can go ahead and post stats for them as well.

Just glancing through some of their box scores, it looks like they changes lineups like we change pitchers in midweek games. So, for the top/middle/bottom breakdown, I used the lineup they started with in their last SEC game against Mizzou. It is the first 9 players listed, in order, in the individual stats shown here. Instead of just listing their 9 most common starters, I've listed the 11 hitters that they seem to be using the most in SEC play. Servideo and Elko both started a game in the Mizzou series, and when Servideo plays, he has typically been the 1 hole hitter.

Regardless of who is in the lineup, it looks like they've struggled to find production past Olenek, Dillard, and Keenan, and to an extent Kessinger and Zabowski. But, Olenek is second in the SEC in BA and Hits, Keenan leads the SEC in RBIs, and Dillard leads the SEC in home runs, so where they are good, they are really good.

Note: I don't go track down stats for a particular spot in the lineup, I just compile the overall stats of the players shown in those spots in the lineup. Also, I've been using overall season stats for these comparisons, but once we have a few more SEC games completed, I may switch over to using conference only stats.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 01:40:33 pm by EconHawg »
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2019, 11:44:38 am »

Two major changes this week:

1.) I'm now using SEC only statistics. So, the numbers posted here will be good through the week until the first Auburn game.

2.) I changed the lineup to match what we saw most of this past weekend against Ole Miss

The middle of the order has been crushing it for the most part. Martin is seeing the ball a little better, I think, and his batting average is starting to slowly rise, although the strikeout numbers still need to decrease.
The thing I've been most concerned with since the start of SEC play has been the production from Ezell. I expected a drop off as he adjusted to facing SEC pitching, but it has been a steeper drop than I expected. Thankfully, his play defensively at 1B has been a nice surprise. You have to wonder though, with the series loss this past weekend whether or not we may see some lineup changes this week/weekend. Also, I don't think we're near it yet, but there's always the possibility if he doesn't improve his production at the plate, that Goodheart could take over at first, leaving Ezell in the DH so a late inning substitution wouldn't have as big of an impact on the defense. I'm not sure how steady Goodheart is at 1B, though.

Fletcher is doing something really special so far this season, and I'm enjoying the show. What might be the most impressive part of all of his great numbers below, is the fact that he has the second lowest strikeout % on the team in the cleanup spot. He's made a jump this season at the plate. Also, he still doesn't have an error on the season, and has seen plenty of action in center field. 

Now, its time for wild speculation about what lineup changes could be made. I'm definitely not saying any should be made, just going through some options.

The first thing that comes to mind for me is:

Goodheart
Martin
Kjerstad
Fletcher
Ezell
Kenley
Nesbit
Opitz
Franklin

I think the things you don't want to move in the order are 1.) Fletcher in the cleanup spot and 2.) Kjerstad in the top 3 of the order.
I'd be fine with swapping Martin and Kjerstad, as either way you will end up with back to back lefties in the order.
To me, Goodheart is seeing the ball extremely well, as evidenced by not only a very high BA, but he's also tied for second in walks in SEC play behind Opitz, and has the lowest strikeout % on the team in SEC play. He's also 2-2 in stolen bases, and has experience hitting lead off at the JuCo level. I'm not dead set on moving Martin out of that spot, but to me, if you do, the replacement is Goodheart. And, I think Martin would benefit greatly from batting behind Goodheart, who (so far) will be on base 59.4% of the time, while still being protected from behind by Kjerstad and then Fletcher.

Also, I think Ezell could benefit from moving down in the order. He busts up the 3 lefty bats in a row we saw this weekend in Fletcher, Goodheart, and Kenley, but as a switch hitter, he also leaves the option there to have four lefty bats in a row if the situation calls for it.

Its a similar situation for Opitz at the bottom of the order. Slotting him in the 8 hole splits the right handed bats of Nesbit and Franklin, but as a switch hitter opens the possibility of 3 righties in a row if needed. Also, I like having his high OB% ahead of Franklin, who has a knack for driving in runs.




« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 01:21:26 pm by EconHawg »
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EconHawg

Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2019, 02:10:18 pm »

Here's Auburn's SEC hitting stats. The lineup I used for this breakdown is reflective of the order the hitters are listed in the individual stats table.

Some things to note: For most of the season, I think Julien has been hitting cleanup, and Will Holland has hit leadoff. I don't think they saw the production they were looking for from Holland at the top of the order, so he was dropped down in the order against USCe this past weekend, and several others were shuffled around to end up at the lineup seen below. I'm assuming since it got them the road win, they might stick with that order, but if it is significantly different come Thursday, I'll adjust accordingly.

The thing that jumps out at me is how often they have attempted to steal in SEC play, and how successful they've been on those attempts. They are 17-19 as a team in SEC play, compared to 8-11 for us.
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HogPenPal

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Re: Lets talk about hitting
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2019, 02:32:48 pm »

Sorry
« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 02:44:44 pm by HogPenPal »
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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2019, 12:59:35 pm »

Here's another weekly update at our offensive statistics. Again, these stats are for SEC play only.

Currently, the middle of the order is leading the way, buoyed by Fletcher and Goodheart's domination of SEC pitchers. Past those two, the batting averages leave something to be desired so far. Surprisingly, Ezell is only batting .205 in conference play, after a weekend that he seemed to have some success at the plate. However, he's slugging over .400 and getting on base at a fairly high clip, thinks to a team leading 10 walks (~18% of his plate appearances result in a walk).

The bottom of the order is struggling adjusting SEC pitching, and strikeouts have been a real problem across the board, as Fletcher and Goodheart are the only 2 batters striking out in less than 20% of their plate appearances.  Our team has the 5th most strikeouts in SEC play with 115 (Kentucky is 1st with 140).

On a positive note, and for little perspective, in SEC games only we are 7th in BA, 4th in SLG%, 5th in OB%, 6th in runs scored, and tied for 3rd in walks.

Although we are still putting pressure on teams with the threat to steal, the actual stolen base numbers have slowed down, as was expected as we entered conference play. We have 11 stolen bases, which is good for 6th in the conference, one spot ahead of Vandy who has 9. On the reverse side of things, we're tied for 4th in steal attempts against with 17, and 2nd in the conference in caught stealing by with 7. We're tied for 7th in stolen bases against with 10.

EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2019, 01:10:10 pm »

And here are the SEC numbers for Vanderbilt along with a comparison between Arkansas and Vanderbilt.

I've used the lineup that they have predominantly used the past two weekends. One odd thing keeps showing up in their box scores, however. They continually list Patrick Raby as the DH in the 8 hole (their Saturday starting pitcher), although he has yet to record a plate appearance this year. He is always pinch hit for starting in his first AB. If anyone has a clue as to why, I'd love to hear an explanation.  Ty Duvall has been getting the nod as the (PH) DH lately, and has performed well in that role.


Bruinstyle2001

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2019, 01:59:05 pm »

I've used the lineup that they have predominantly used the past two weekends. One odd thing keeps showing up in their box scores, however. They continually list Patrick Raby as the DH in the 8 hole (their Saturday starting pitcher), although he has yet to record a plate appearance this year. He is always pinch hit for starting in his first AB. If anyone has a clue as to why, I'd love to hear an explanation.  Ty Duvall has been getting the nod as the (PH) DH lately, and has performed well in that role.

Vandy has historically done this for a long time under Corbin.  They will list a starting pitcher in the DH spot (I remember Price being the pitcher of choice in the mid 2000s) as it allows the coach the ability to change the DH without penalty leading up to the first AB (in case the opposing pitcher gets hurt, gets pulled early due to a bad start, etc.).  I don't think he has ever let a starting pitcher bat, but it is just a cat and mouse game where you can hide who you will be batting for a little bit and play a matchup (lefty vs. righty or vice versa).   
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jabberjawls

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2019, 04:49:01 pm »

Wow, didn't realize our SEC averages were so low.  Thanks again for posting the stats!
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TebowHater

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Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2019, 04:49:41 pm »

Vandy has historically done this for a long time under Corbin.  They will list a starting pitcher in the DH spot (I remember Price being the pitcher of choice in the mid 2000s) as it allows the coach the ability to change the DH without penalty leading up to the first AB (in case the opposing pitcher gets hurt, gets pulled early due to a bad start, etc.).  I don't think he has ever let a starting pitcher bat, but it is just a cat and mouse game where you can hide who you will be batting for a little bit and play a matchup (lefty vs. righty or vice versa).   

Wow, thanks for sharing. May be silly, but I actually like it. Could be the difference in wining or losing a game once every 5 years or so with no cost whatsoever to participate other than being annoying to your opponent (which some could call a secondary benefit).
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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2019, 05:50:15 pm »

Vandy has historically done this for a long time under Corbin.  They will list a starting pitcher in the DH spot (I remember Price being the pitcher of choice in the mid 2000s) as it allows the coach the ability to change the DH without penalty leading up to the first AB (in case the opposing pitcher gets hurt, gets pulled early due to a bad start, etc.).  I don't think he has ever let a starting pitcher bat, but it is just a cat and mouse game where you can hide who you will be batting for a little bit and play a matchup (lefty vs. righty or vice versa).   

That makes sense. Thanks for shedding light on it.

Gotta say though, I'm not crazy about it. Just post your lineup like everybody else does.
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Bruinstyle2001

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #40 on: April 08, 2019, 05:50:21 pm »

Wow, thanks for sharing. May be silly, but I actually like it. Could be the difference in wining or losing a game once every 5 years or so with no cost whatsoever to participate other than being annoying to your opponent (which some could call a secondary benefit).

Yep. The annoyance factor is there. The idea is you just put someone in you wont use that day. And theoretically you save an additional player that would be an eligible pitch hitter for later.  In practice, Vandy is probably going to use they same player they would 95% of the time anyway. But i guess Corbin felt it must have worked once by delaying the decision an inning or two because the pitcher was changed early in a game.
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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #41 on: April 09, 2019, 11:28:44 pm »

Pretty impressive lineup shuffling by the ORU coach to move all those pieces around and not make any mistakes.  McCutchin was the DH, a relief pitcher, and played 1B tonight.

Even more impressive was the approach at the plate by our lineup after the second inning. 13 walks, 14 hits, and 8 extra-base hits. We hit .359 as a team tonight, .421 with RISP, and 1.00 with runners on 3rd with less than 2 outs. We were also 2-3 (.667) hitting with the bases loaded.  This team came to crush tonight.
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Bruinstyle2001

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #42 on: April 10, 2019, 07:33:08 am »

Pretty impressive lineup shuffling by the ORU coach to move all those pieces around and not make any mistakes.  McCutchin was the DH, a relief pitcher, and played 1B tonight.

Didn't he also play RF tonight, or were the announcers just saying he also plays RF at times?
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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #43 on: April 10, 2019, 07:56:46 am »

Didn't he also play RF tonight, or were the announcers just saying he also plays RF at times?

I don't think he played there last night, but the right fielder Hunter Swift did make a relief appearance on the mound last night.
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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2019, 09:33:50 am »

Here's a snapshot of the stats for the team as a whole and for everyone who has an AB for us this season.

This is for all games for the entire season including last night.

The team fielding percentage is .971, .975 excluding pitchers.

I'd venture a guess that Kjerstad isn't too worried about that low walk percentage... he leads the team with 44 hits, 9 HR, 77 TB, and is tied with Franklin for the team lead with 27 RBI.

EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #45 on: April 16, 2019, 08:46:59 am »

Season totals for our hitters, including all games up to this morning. Mississippi State doesn't have conference only statistics posted on their website, so I'm using season totals for both teams this week. I'll post SEC only stats for the hogs later.

The order used for the top/middle/bottom breakdown is illustrated by the first 9 batters in the individual table.

In SEC games, Matt Goodheart leads the conference with a BA of .480, a OB% of .574, and is second with a slugging % of .700. That puts him first in OPS as well at 1.27. Also, in conference play he only strikes out in 9.8% of his plate appearances. The next closest on the team is Fletcher at 16.2%, and Martin has the highest on the team at 33.3%.

Who has the highest walk rate on the team? That belongs to Zach Plunkett. Opitz's OB% is still over .400 on the season.

Nesbit seems to be getting back to his earlier form at the plate, after having cooled off some lately, however, his play at third base has continually improved. It seems like someone calls for Martin to move back to 3rd every time he makes an error at SS. The fact is, Nesbit is playing much better at 3rd this year than Martin did last year. Nesbit is fielding .952 on the season, up from .925 on March 25th. Last year, Martin had a fielding % of .907 on the season. If a decision were ever made to move Martin out of SS (which I don't think is going to happen) I don't think he'd be moved back to third. More likely he'd switch spots with Kenley. I've also included a table below showing fielding % for SEC third basemen, including Martin from last season for comparison.

One thing that certainly stands out in the team table is that the production from the lineup finally seems to be normalizing to what you would expect it to look like. Granted, this is with Kjerstad in the 5 hole, but swap him and Goodheart again, and it would still shake out pretty well. The production is coming mostly from the top and middle of the order instead of the bottom of the order now. I think SEC pitching has certainly helped to sort out our most talented hitters in the lineup.

Speaking of the bottom of the order, it was nice to see Opitz rake on Sunday. Franklin seems to be struggling the most with quality pitching, as his SEC-only numbers will illustrate later on.



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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #46 on: April 16, 2019, 09:00:43 am »

Again, these numbers are for the entire season, because MSST doesn't have conference only stats on their website.

Once again, we'll face a lineup with no real holes in it. It does seem they run less, and are less successful at it that Arkansas has been, although we have slowed down on that front. Their starting catcher, Dustin Skelton, has allowed 25 of 35 stolen base attempts, or he's thrown out ~29% of would be thieves. For comparison, Opitz has allowed 14/25, which means he has thrown out 44% of attempted steals. This seems to be advantage Arkansas, so maybe we'll see an aggressive approach on the base paths if we can get runners on.

Any way you cut it, this is an impressive lineup we'll be facing this weekend, so our pitching staff will have its hands full figuring out how to hold them down for 27 innings.

EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2019, 09:22:07 am »

Here are the conference-only numbers for the hogs. I wish I had another team's SEC stats to go along with them for you this week...

Two things that stand out to me are:

1.) Strikeouts at the top of the order are a problem. Ezell walks a lot, but man he strikes out a lot. Martin strikes out more than anyone on the team, and doesn't take many walks. For now, I like flipping Kjerstad and Goodheart to get fewer strikeouts at the top of the order. Kjerstad also strikes out a lot, and has yet to take a walk in an SEC game. I had to double check that after I saw it, but its correct, no walks in a conference game for Kjerstad. But, to be fair he's at the plate to put the ball in play, not take a bunch of pitches. I think Goodheart forgot how to strikeout. At least it is starting to look that way. Put him anywhere in the lineup you want, he's going to rake.


2.) Franklin is really struggling at the plate right now. Luckily, his play in the field continues to keep him in the lineup on a consistent basis, although he did have a miscue on Saturday when he failed to call off Martin on a ball hit to far left. I didn't see it that way originally, but DVH said that's how he saw it in Sunday's pregame show, so I'll defer to him on that. Part of me wants to see Washington get some time in left, but the larger part of me thinks that part is crazy. Not sure you can take that glove out of the field in a conference game, and as well as he hit early in the season, surely Franklin will come around soon.

But, maybe we see Washington play some tonight against UAPB. I'd like to see him play more just for the sake of seeing him play more, not because I want someone else to play less. TebowHater I think has discussed this topic in several game threads. Who do you sit in an SEC game to get Washington on the field? Middle infield is off limits, Nesbit has locked down third. Goodheart has to stay in, as does Ezell, so 1B and DH is set between those two. By now, Fletcher is a majority share-holder in George Cole Field's outfield, and Kjerstad is probably the best pure hitter on the team. To me, that leaves Franklin's spot as the most likely choice (in relation to the other options), but even that seems unlikely. I think the best thing for Franklin right now is more AB's, not time on the bench.



« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 10:58:22 am by EconHawg »
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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #48 on: April 16, 2019, 05:33:39 pm »

Washington in LF tonight in place of Franklin.
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EconHawg

Re: Let's talk about hitting
« Reply #49 on: April 17, 2019, 07:53:21 am »

When a player hits his way over .400, it's worth an update here. What's a little crazy is the fact that his season numbers are still lagging well behind his Conference stats. Nevertheless, an OPS over 1 through 99 AB's is big time. Can't wait to see him after a full off season with Blaine Kinsley.

Also, Casey Martin is all of us watching Goodheart at the plate.

I've add a snapshot of the past week that Goodheart has had at the plate starting with ORU last week, through last night's game against UAPB. WHEW! He's seeing the ball BIG right now.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 09:27:34 am by EconHawg »
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