Series Preview: Jays vs Rangers

Frustrated. That’s how I felt at the start of this weeks series against the Chicago White Sox. And nothing has changed.

The awesome data that ESPN True Media provides this site illuminates, ever so lightly, an opposing pitchers tendencies. Undoubtedly the Jays have similar, likely more advanced tools; and it doesn’t seem to matter.

The current crop of ‘toolsy’ Jays during the White Sox series:

Davis/McCoy/Escobar/Gose/Hechavarria: 50 AB, 8 hits, 3 doubles, 0 HR.  10K, 5 BB

At some point this group, and the team in general, will turn things around. In the meantime it’s difficult to watch the Jays make fringe starters like Iwamura, Garcia, Nova, Liriano, etc look like staff aces.

Previewing Opposing Batters

Let’s change things up heading into this weekends series against the Texas Rangers, forgoing opposing pitcher previews and instead focussing on the Rangers five best hitters, how to get them out, and/or at least minimize damage.

The format:

  • Players Name
  • vs RHP or LHP
  • Heatmap or strike zone breakdown
  • Optimal Success Path(s)

Note: all breakdowns assume Jays pitchers will (attempt to) avoid throwing anything right down the middle of the plate.

Ian Kinsler

RHP

  • Avoid: Fastballs Away (.328/.420/.466) wOBA .392
  • Throw him: Anything inside (.134/.301/.209) wOBA .260

LHP

  • Avoid: Upper Half (.490/.581/.902), insane wOBA .609
  • Throw Him: Slider (wOBA .142), Change (wOBA .194) Lower Half

Elvis Andrus

RHP

  • Avoid: Fastballs (.333/.419/.462) .381 wOBA
  • Throw him: Curves (.304/.333/.304) .270 wOBA

LHP

  • Avoid: Fastballs (.357/.444/.543) .419 wOBA
  • Throw him: Anything off-speed. Change: .222 wOBA, Curve: .225 wOBA, Slider: .105 wOBA

Josh Hamilton

RHP

  • Avoid: Bottom Third Strike Zone (.433/.419/.917), wOBA .540, 13.3% HR Rate
  • Throw Him: Top Third Strike Zone Fastballs (.222/222/.556), 33.3% K-Rate, 5.6% HR Rate

LHP

  • Avoid: Inner Half (.341/.392/.773), 13.6% HR Rate
  • Throw Him: Outer Half (.255/287/.394), 3.2% HR Rate

Adrian Beltre

RHP

  • Avoid: Strike Zone. Really, Beltre has a crazy split. In Zone: .345/.344/594, wOBA .391
  • Throw him: Out of Zone. He will expand, with a 34.8% swing rate at balls. (.219/.331).260), wOBA .277

LHP

  • Avoid: Horizontal Middle Location (.435/.435/.696), wOBA .483, 8.7% HR Rate
  • Throw Him: Horizontal Outside or Inside Location (.220/.273/.290), wOBA .250, 1% HR Rate

Nelson Cruz

RHP

  • Avoid: Lower Half Fastballs (.289/.337/.605) wOBA .391
  • Throw Him: Curves (.231/.268/.282) wOBA .249
LHP
  • Avoid: Outside Fastballs (.333/407/667) wOBA .450
  • Throw Him: Inside Fastballs (.118/.348/.118), wOBA .266

Sources: Heatmaps & statistical data via ESPN True Media, Texas Rangers logo via Google Images

has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +