by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We knew that there were going to be some growing pains for Javier Baez, especially in the average department, and that’s what’s been on display early on. Through his first 15 games he’s hitting .230, but with 5 HR, 9 RBI and 10 R. While it’s not a surprise, can we expect anything to change moving forward?
Thus far he owns a 39.1% strikeout rate, a number that’s higher than anyone likely expected. That said, it’s interesting on which pitches he’s struck out against:
- Fourseam – 14
- Change up – 1
- Slider – 4
- Curveball – 5
- Cutter – 1
For a player with immense power, and thus significant bat speed, you would think that he’s not having a problem catching up to fastballs. It appears opposing pitchers are simply taking advantage of his over aggressiveness, as he currently owns an O-Swing% of 43.8% overall.
That’s a major problem, and one that he needs to fix. Right now there’s no reason to throw him something in the strike zone, because he’s going up there and hacking at almost anything.
In fact, 3 of his 5 HR have come against sliders (and probably mistakes at that). Obviously teams aren’t just going to pepper him with fastballs out of the zone, but you also have to believe that they are going to be a lot more careful with how they work him.
Remember, he had 3 HR in his first three games, so he’s had 2 in his past 12. It’s not that it’s bad, but teams have already adjusted. Until Baez does the same, there’s simply no reason to risk making a mistake to him. Teams are going to continue showing him breaking balls outside the zone, before getting him to chase the heat (also outside the zone).
Can Baez adjust? Of course. Will he quick enough? We will have to wait and see.
Obviously he’s a must own option and there will be some power. That said, don’t be surprised if he continues to hover around .200 the rest of the way (barring a significant change of approach)
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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