Do Diamondbacks’ batters receive a game plan before each series? The likely answer is a strong, “Yes!” I’ve not seen a plan, which allows me to speculate what it looks like without worrying about disclosing any proprietary secrets.
With the caveats that my baseball knowledge is most certainly less than the professionals who create game plans and this plan is my first effort, what follows is a hypothetical batting game plan against two Reds pitchers, Hunter Greene and Vladimir Gutierrez.
At the bottom of the article is a poll that will ask your opinion of the game plan: pretty good for a Diamondbacks fan, not all bad but not all good, or don’t quit your day job. Your feedback in the comments section is encouraged.
Batters’ Game Plan.
Diamondback Batting Philosophy.
First and foremost, we strive to be good hitters.
“We are known as good hitters who hit home runs.” —Torey Lovullo
“Our mindset is hard line drives in the middle of the diamond, 90 MPH or better. Good things will take off from there. Your misses get hit in the air.” — Torey Lovullo
We wear down starting pitchers by waiting for our pitch in the right location.
Game-time focus is on executing. Preparation-time focus is on practicing what we learn from our hitting coaches.
A foundation of success is to know and execute from your strengths. In the context of our game plan, continue executing from your strengths.
Batters Who Found Success.
None of the current Diamondbacks batters have faced either pitcher. So let’s look at a few batters on other teams who had success.
The following video shows batting successes against Hunter Green and Vladimir Gutierrez.
Against Hunter Greene:
- LHB Christian Yelich hit a homer to CF against a low 4-seam fastball.
- RHB Luis Urias hit a homer to LF against a high 4-seam fastball.
- LHB Christian Yelich hit a double to LF against a slider.
- RHB Luis Urias hit a homer to LF against a slider
- LHB Christian Yelich did not swing against an outside changeup. Sometimes success means not swinging!
Against Vladimir Gutierrez:
- LHB Christian Yelich hit a homer to LF against a 4-seam fastball.
- LHB Christian Yelich hit a single to CF against a slider.
- LHB Christian Yelich hit a double to right CF against a curve.
- LHB Christian Yelich did not swing against a low changeup. Sometimes success means not swinging.
- Hitting as a LHB, Ian Happ hit a homer against a changeup.
For deeper video investigation, insights might emerge from videos of Christian Yelich. He had great success against Hunter Greene and Vladimir Gutierrez. In 5 PAs against Hunter Green, his OPS was 2.100. In 16 PAs against Vladimir Gutierrez his OPS was 1.688.
Batting Against Hunter Greene.
Diamondback batters are expected to do well based on Hunter Greene’s 8.70 ERA (54 ERA+). RHBs have a 1.008 OPS, while LHBs have a .704 OPS.
His fastball is impressive. Its’ 98.5 MPH average velocity is at the 98th percentile. Its spin is at the 82nd percentile. Its’ his most frequent pitch at 53%.
Despite being impressive, batters have had success (.531wOBA) against his fastball. If you are a power hitter, note that batters have frequently hit homers against it (11 homers in 103 PAs per Baseball Savant). Looking at the 11 homers, 9 were in the strike zone. For LHB, all the homers were on the inside part of the strike zone. For RHB, all the homers except one homer were on the inside of the plate with two so far inside they would have been called balls per Gameday zones presented by Baseball Savant.
For RHB, looking at all pitches, batting against this pitcher may be a rare exception to our mindset of hitting line drives to the middle of the diamond. When RHBs received an inside pitch and pulled it, their .823 wOBA was better than middle of the diamond (wOBA of .362 per Baseball Savant).
LHB should continue to hit inside pitches to the middle of the diamond instead of pulling the ball (wOBA of .800 middle vs .684 pulling).
For some batters, it may be worthwhile to wait on a fastball because his slider had a wOBA of .244 and his changeup had a wOBA of .000.
Be aware that his tempo is faster than league average of median time between pitch releases. Without runners on base, 20% of his pitches happen quicker than 15 seconds, and his median time is 17.3 seconds per Baseball Reference. With runners on base, his median time increases to 23.0 seconds, which is faster than league average with runners on base.
His fast tempo is rarely interrupted. Without runners on base he takes more than 30 seconds between releases only 2.8% of his pitches. If he is in the zone and pitching well, perhaps stepping out of the box, or calling time could take him out of the zone and be an advantage to our batters.
Data for 2022 season through 26 May from Baseball Reference and Baseball Savant.
Batting Against Vladimir Gutierrez.
Diamondback batters are expected to do well based on Vladimir Gutierrez’s 5.89 ERA (79 ERA+). LHB have a 1.236 OPS while RHBs have a .869 OPS.
Like Hunter Green, his fastball is his most frequent pitch at 50%. Unlike Hunter Green, its’ 92.5 MPH velocity and spin at 35th percentile, while good, are not impressive. This season LHBs have hit 5 homers against his fastball in 40 PAs per Baseball Savant.
For LHB it may be worthwhile waiting for a fastball after his pitch count reaches 50. First, 6 of 7 homers allowed happened at pitch counts between 51 and 75. Second, the .587 wOBA against his fastball is better than the .474 wOBA against breaking balls (curve and slider) and .376 wOBA against off speed pitches. Third, by increasing his pitch count we chase him from the game: this season his maximum pitches was 88.
He very rarely throws an off speed pitch to RHBs (about 2%).
For RHBs, looking at all pitches, batting against this pitcher may be another rare exception to the mindset of hitting line drives to the middle of the diamond. RHB had a higher wOBA when they pulled inside pitches (.759 pull vs .000 middle) and hit outside pitches to the opposite field (.661 opposite vs .268 middle).
Be patient when runners are on base because his tempo changes from faster to slower (25 seconds) than league average of median time between pitch releases. He takes longer than 30 seconds for 17.1% of his pitches with runners on base.
In the context of the Diamondback hitting philosophy, with this plan batters are expected to have success against Hunter Greene and Vladimir Gutierrez. Although none of the Diamondbacks have faced these two pitchers, we looked at ten video clips of 3 batters who had success. We outlined specific approaches to increase batting success.
What is your opinion of the batting game plan?
This poll is closed
Pretty Good for a Diamondbacks Fan.
Not All bad, But Not All Good.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job.