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Nick Gordon, Lamonte Wade and Infield Fly Balls

Posted by jorgenswest , 06 July 2018 · 1,495 views

I am curious about the vast difference in infield fly ball percentage in Nick Gordon and Lamonte Wade and wonder how much it matters projecting their bats as major league hitters. I was able to find a few articles on IFFB% but those authors leave wondering also.

One claim is that players with a lower IFFB rate tend to post higher BABIPs.

Another claim is that minor league IFFB rates are greater than major league rates. A wonder is whether this is selection bias and those with greater IFFB rates don’t tend to make it in the majors.

Here is what I noticed...

Nick Gordon had a 2.3% IFFB rate this year in AA and AAA. He consistently is among the lowest in his league.

Lamonte Wade has posted among the greater rates of 34.6% in AA and 28.6% in AAA.

For context, Todd Frazier had the greatest IFFB% in 2017 at 18.9% and Freddie Freeman was 0%. Joey Votto is always low and last year he was at 0.5%.

And I wonder...

What does this mean projecting forward?

I don’t have answers but it is something I want to study and blog further. I would appreciate any thoughts.

  • Sconnie and nclahammer like this



It's a good topic that hasn't been fully explored. Here's a fairly recent FG article on the relatively high IFFB rates in the minors compared to MLB. Might give you some more food for thought.

 

I've thought that hitters who pop up have a hard time laying off high fastballs and an uppercut swing, but that's just conjecture on my part. I hope you keep looking at the issue.

 

By the way, Joe Mauer is the king of not hitting IFFB - 2.2% of FB for his entire career!

    • jorgenswest likes this
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Kelly Vance
Jul 07 2018 04:00 PM

For most people, popping up means that you were late on the swing by just a whisker. Most batters use an uppercut swing,

 

To hit a ball squarely, you are really aiming at that middle inch, shown by the narrowest of seams on the baseball.  Hit the bottom of that inch and it is a (hopefully) long fly. Hit it on top of the inch and it is a screaming grounder. In between... dead solid perfect... .

 

So in a normal swing trajectory, if yo are under the ball, you are late.  Makes sense to me that minor leaguers would have a higher late swing rate. They are younger and still developing, and I think the hesitation of youth .... but is there any way to measure the speed of a swing? 

 

 

 

    • jorgenswest likes this
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jorgenswest
Jul 09 2018 03:31 PM

For most people, popping up means that you were late on the swing by just a whisker. Most batters use an uppercut swing,
 
To hit a ball squarely, you are really aiming at that middle inch, shown by the narrowest of seams on the baseball.  Hit the bottom of that inch and it is a (hopefully) long fly. Hit it on top of the inch and it is a screaming grounder. In between... dead solid perfect... .
 
So in a normal swing trajectory, if yo are under the ball, you are late.  Makes sense to me that minor leaguers would have a higher late swing rate. They are younger and still developing, and I think the hesitation of youth .... but is there any way to measure the speed of a swing?


There must also be some selection bias in there. Minor leaguers with very high rates are probably not spending a lot of time in the majors and get taken out of the group. Is Gordon’s low rate a reason to be encouraged?