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The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!

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Offline  The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#1

Posted: May 28, 2021, 10:53 AM Post
Posts: 836
We all know most of the success of this team lays on Yelich and Hiura being as productive as they have been in the past. 2020 and 2021 have not been kind to them and there have been theories on injury, sign stealing, mechanical changes, coaching, etc, but I think its pretty easy to see what is so different by taking a look at the numbers provided by Baseball Savant. Let's start with Yelich...

The first thing that pops out is his walk rate:

2018 - 10.4%
2019 - 13.8%
2020 - 18.6%
2021 - 17.1%

In a vacuum, this is a good thing. He is getting on base. But digging a bit deeper its because he is taking more pitches and being less aggressive and letting the pitcher dictate the at bat...

Swing%
2018 - 44.3%
2019 - 45.2%
2020 - 34.6%
2021 - 40.5%

First pitch swing %
2018 - 28.9%
2019 - 29.7%
2020 - 13.4%
2021 - 17.1%

Important to note here is he is getting less first pitch strikes the last two years compared to his 2019 season (2019 - 54.8%, 2020 - 50.6%, 2021 - 50.0%)

Meatball swing %
2018 - 81.3%
2019 - 81.3%
2020 - 66.1%
2021 - 77.8%

Whiff %
2018 - 22.8%
2019 - 28.2%
2020 - 33.6%
2021 - 30.6%

Zone contact %
2018 - 85.4%
2019 - 83.8%
2020 - 78.1%
2021 - 78.1%

Chase %
2018 - 25.1%
2019 - 27.9%
2020 - 17.7%
2021 - 17.1%

Some of these numbers are very interesting but in summary - He is swinging less in total - particularly at the first pitch - missing more, - especially in the zone - but is also chasing less. It seems to me he is letting the pitcher dictate the at bat instead of ambushing the pitcher early. These are just a few metrics that jumped out to me but there is so much more they capture. I encourage you to take a look! https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/christian-yelich-592885?stats=statcast-r-hitting-mlb


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#2

Posted: May 28, 2021, 11:00 AM Post
Posts: 836
Keston is a bit easier to identify since anyone who has watched the games can see he is struggling to make contact with pitches in the zone but here are the numbers behind it…

Zone swing %
2019 – 72.9%
2020 – 71.4%
2021 – 71.5%

No real change here. He is swinging at the same amount of balls in the zone.

Chase %
2019 – 31.8%
2020 – 30.4%
2021 – 32.5%

Again, not too much of a difference here. A bit higher but nothing too material.

Here is where it really starts to get noticeable…

Zone contact %
2019 – 74.6%
2020 – 64.4%
2021 – 55.1%

Meatball %
2019 – 6.2%
2020 – 7.2%
2021 – 9.8%

Meatball swing %
2019 – 78.0%
2020 – 80.3%
2021 – 74.4%

He is getting more meatballs but swinging at them less. This caused me to look at the type of pitch he was seeing…

2019
Pitch % seen % whiff
Fastball 65.7 30.9
Breaking 26.9 46.4
Offspeed 7.4 46.3

2020
Pitch % seen % whiff
Fastball 60.6 41.0
Breaking 28.9 43.0
Offspeed 10.5 50.0

2021
Pitch % seen % whiff
Fastball 53.6 47.6
Breaking 35.3 54.7
Offspeed 11.0 24.0


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#3

Posted: May 28, 2021, 11:12 AM Post
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So Huira was sitting fastball in his rookie year and pounding them. Pitchers realized this, started throwing more breaking and offspeed pitches, and Huira has been completely confused and guessing wrong far too often??


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#4

Posted: May 28, 2021, 11:15 AM Post
Posts: 836
monty57 said:
So Huira was sitting fastball in his rookie year and pounding them. Pitchers realized this, started throwing more breaking and offspeed pitches, and Huira has been completely confused and guessing wrong far too often??


His K% on fastballs is pretty telling too...

2019 - 28.1%
2020 - 40.3%
2021 - 52.9%

His K% on breaking and offspeed has remained relatively unchanged over the years but its the fastball K-rate that is really killing him.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#5

Posted: May 28, 2021, 11:42 AM Post
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Plate discipline numbers stabilize relatively quickly, but it's also important to note that 2020/21 Yelich is only 317 PAs so far compared to 1231 PAs for 2018/19, so we are still talking about samples that are magnitudes apart in size.

Now, there is no doubt that Yelich has been more passive since he busted his knee cap fouling a pitch off of it, but you can already see that he is getting more aggressive this year than he was last year & as he gets more comfortable in the box & with his spine I'd imagine his approach will continue to likewise evolve.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#6

Posted: May 28, 2021, 11:51 AM Post
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
I miss Braun. At least when he struggled he wasn't garbage.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#7

Posted: May 28, 2021, 12:40 PM Post
Posts: 836
sveumrules said:
Plate discipline numbers stabilize relatively quickly, but it's also important to note that 2020/21 Yelich is only 317 PAs so far compared to 1231 PAs for 2018/19, so we are still talking about samples that are magnitudes apart in size.

Now, there is no doubt that Yelich has been more passive since he busted his knee cap fouling a pitch off of it, but you can already see that he is getting more aggressive this year than he was last year & as he gets more comfortable in the box & with his spine I'd imagine his approach will continue to likewise evolve.


Yep that is obviously the caveat here. You kind of have to put an asterisk on the whole 2020 season and Yelich and Hiura definitely haven't had the ABs this season to justify a trend but it is still interesting to see the numbers. Really enjoy digging into the stuff Baseball Savant has.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#8

Posted: May 28, 2021, 12:49 PM Post
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jonescm128 said:
sveumrules said:
Plate discipline numbers stabilize relatively quickly, but it's also important to note that 2020/21 Yelich is only 317 PAs so far compared to 1231 PAs for 2018/19, so we are still talking about samples that are magnitudes apart in size.

Now, there is no doubt that Yelich has been more passive since he busted his knee cap fouling a pitch off of it, but you can already see that he is getting more aggressive this year than he was last year & as he gets more comfortable in the box & with his spine I'd imagine his approach will continue to likewise evolve.


Yep that is obviously the caveat here. You kind of have to put an asterisk on the whole 2020 season and Yelich and Hiura definitely haven't had the ABs this season to justify a trend but it is still interesting to see the numbers. Really enjoy digging into the stuff Baseball Savant has.


Does Savant have heat maps for swing frequency/wOBA within different sections of the strike zone?

My personal, totally unsubstantiated theory is that during his breakout Yelich was doing a lot of damage jumping on pitches inside/down, but post-injury he has been laying off those pitches for fear of drilling another one off of his knee.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#9

Posted: May 28, 2021, 12:55 PM Post
Posts: 836
sveumrules said:
jonescm128 said:
sveumrules said:
Plate discipline numbers stabilize relatively quickly, but it's also important to note that 2020/21 Yelich is only 317 PAs so far compared to 1231 PAs for 2018/19, so we are still talking about samples that are magnitudes apart in size.

Now, there is no doubt that Yelich has been more passive since he busted his knee cap fouling a pitch off of it, but you can already see that he is getting more aggressive this year than he was last year & as he gets more comfortable in the box & with his spine I'd imagine his approach will continue to likewise evolve.


Yep that is obviously the caveat here. You kind of have to put an asterisk on the whole 2020 season and Yelich and Hiura definitely haven't had the ABs this season to justify a trend but it is still interesting to see the numbers. Really enjoy digging into the stuff Baseball Savant has.


Does Savant have heat maps for swing frequency/wOBA within different sections of the strike zone?

My personal, totally unsubstantiated theory is that during his breakout Yelich was doing a lot of damage jumping on pitches inside/down, but post-injury he has been laying off those pitches for fear of drilling another one off of his knee.


Yes they do. I dont know how to paste pictures but here is the link of all the zone charts. You can filter by year.

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-p ... -zones-mlb


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#10

Posted: May 28, 2021, 1:14 PM Post
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jonescm128 said:
sveumrules said:
Does Savant have heat maps for swing frequency/wOBA within different sections of the strike zone?

My personal, totally unsubstantiated theory is that during his breakout Yelich was doing a lot of damage jumping on pitches inside/down, but post-injury he has been laying off those pitches for fear of drilling another one off of his knee.


Yes they do. I dont know how to paste pictures but here is the link of all the zone charts. You can filter by year.

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-p ... -zones-mlb


Thanks for the link, looks like my theory has some degree of teeth...

Middle/Middle: Swing % / wOBA

2018: 81 / 649
2019: 81 / 625
2020: 66 / 416
2021: 75 / 524

Middle/In: Swing % / wOBA

2018: 75 / 393
2019: 76 / 439
2020: 66 / 427
2021: 69 / 221

Middle/Down: Swing % / wOBA

2018: 60 / 467
2019: 63 / 532
2020: 57 / 260
2021: 63 / 098

Down/In: Swing % / wOBA

2018: 67 / 500
2019: 64 / 323
2020: 59 / 264
2021: 61 / 000


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#11

Posted: May 28, 2021, 1:33 PM Post
Posts: 16234
I am guessing Hiura's struggles between 2019 and 2020/2021 can be better explained by where he is getting pitched, not necessarily just what is being pitched to him. Even 2019 Hiura swung a bat with a hole in it. That really isn't a new thing.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#12

Posted: May 28, 2021, 2:43 PM Post
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What’s defined as a “meatball” pitch?


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#13

Posted: May 28, 2021, 3:22 PM Post
Posts: 836
mtrebs said:
What’s defined as a “meatball” pitch?


pitches thrown middle/middle of the plate


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#14

Posted: May 28, 2021, 10:26 PM Post
Posts: 9602
mtrebs said:
What’s defined as a “meatball” pitch?


Any pitch Hiura swings at like wet spaghetti.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#15

Posted: June 02, 2021, 7:06 AM Post
Posts: 836
Sounds like patience is running thin with Hiura based on CCs comments last night. Not sure how much longer you can keep rolling him out there.


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Online  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#16

Posted: June 02, 2021, 7:14 AM Post
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Hiura is looking like prime candidate for out of the organization within a year and then regains all-star form with some other team.

Meanwhile, Yelich is looking like a far, far worse contract than Braun's.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#17

Posted: June 02, 2021, 7:35 AM Post
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Guessing when Hiura goes down we quite likely won't see him again until September. Maybe he would get one more shot in early/mid July to convince them not to trade for a 1B, but he has been so pathetic that may not be worth the false hope it may give. The only reason Hiura is even on this team right now is because Vogelbach and Shaw are so dang putrid.

Yelich...that guy is just depressing to watch. Like Hiura, you are wondering how he will let you down over and over and over.


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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#18

Posted: June 02, 2021, 7:36 AM Post
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Hiura’s slump has been one of the saddest displays I can recall. He’s a mess at the plate. Nothing good is happening. He misses strikes, seems to have no pitch recognition, chases bad balls, etc. The hitting coach seems to have zero plan for him because you see nothing in his approach improving. The K numbers are astronomical. Mentally, he’s confused.

He needs something positive to cling to so he can relax and get his confidence back. If his approach can improve, there’s a lot of talent in his bat. He just looks like he has no plan and no idea what to expect up there.

If he can just string together some hits, it might do wonders. I’d take a bloop, a swinging bunt that dribbles to the right spot, a check swing down the line, anything. Like a shooter in basketball, get him a couple of layups and he can build back up from here.

Obviously his strikeouts are a problem and nothing is getting better. Maybe get his double A and triple a coaches involved to develop a plan. If he could get his strikeout ratio down, it would do wonders. Honestly if he could get his rate to just bad instead of insane, that would help, poor guy.

Does anyone know, is he missing strikes because the pitcher is changing speeds on him and he’s early or late with the swing?

No way would I give up on him, though, this entire year.


Last edited by Austin Tatious on June 02, 2021, 7:39 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Offline  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#19

Posted: June 02, 2021, 7:37 AM Post
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jonescm128 said:
Sounds like patience is running thin with Hiura based on CCs comments last night. Not sure how much longer you can keep rolling him out there.


Doesn't help his case when Taylor returns from a handful of days raking at AAA and immediately breaks out of his pre-demotion funk with two bombs off pitchers that baffled Hiura.


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Online  Re: The struggles of Yelich and Hiura - Let the numbers talk!
#20

Posted: June 02, 2021, 7:40 AM Post
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Don't know that working on his Ks is realistic. He's always been a K machine. He just used to make it count when he did hit the ball.


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