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Thread: Article: Aaron Hicks and Rebounding

  1. #61
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Last year seems to be an aberration. Given what he did through his AA season as a 22 year old, a 350 OBP is likely. Only those who focus exclusively on 2013 would say it is "hardly likely".
    Well, no. Those who understand that MiLB performance can't be used to translate directly to MLB performance would say it is "hardly likely", although certain within the realm of "possible".

    Hicks could become that >.350 OBP hitter, but do you think the odds of that are significantly greater than 50% (aka, likely)?

  2. #62
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
    Hicks was among the most passive hitters in baseball last year. He swung less than 40% of the time. He struckout looking 1 out of every 10 times he came to the plate. He has to become more aggressive, not more passive. The pitching is too good at this level to take a lot of strikes
    I would add that the strike zone was different, which affected him most in the first 10 days. I'd like to analyze all of his at bats with Pitch FX and see how many called thirds he got that were outside the strikezone. My faulty memory says it was a lot. Welcome to the majors, Mr. Hicks. Don't let the ump take the bat out of your hands.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  3. This user likes cmathewson's post and wants to buy him/her a steak dinner:

    ashburyjohn (02-03-2014)

  4. #63
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    Well, no. Those who understand that MiLB performance can't be used to translate directly to MLB performance would say it is "hardly likely", although certain within the realm of "possible".

    Hicks could become that >.350 OBP hitter, but do you think the odds of that are significantly greater than 50% (aka, likely)?
    Sorry, meant to quote it. Yes, it is better than 50/50 considering age and level. BTW, "likely" means better than 50/50. "Highly likely" means "significantly greater than 50%." I wouldn't say it's highly likely, just likely.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  5. #64
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Sorry, meant to quote it. Yes, it is better than 50/50 considering age and level. BTW, "likely" means better than 50/50. "Highly likely" means "significantly greater than 50%." I wouldn't say it's highly likely, just likely.
    23 guys accomplished that in the AL last year. Only 3 of them had a K rate >20% (as Aaron has throughout his career) -- Chris Davis, Napoli, and Kipnis. Kipnis is the only one even close to similar. He was closer to a 17% K rate in MiLB and has more power.

    Point being, I think Aaron will strike out too much in MLB to consistently reach a .350 OBP. I'd be happy to be wrong.

  6. #65
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    23 guys accomplished that in the AL last year. Only 3 of them had a K rate >20% (as Aaron has throughout his career) -- Chris Davis, Napoli, and Kipnis. Kipnis is the only one even close to similar. He was closer to a 17% K rate in MiLB and has more power.

    Point being, I think Aaron will strike out too much in MLB to consistently reach a .350 OBP. I'd be happy to be wrong.
    I don't tend to look at K rates when assessing potential OBP. I look at BB rates. Guys who walk a lot tend to strike out a lot. It's part of the discipline of taking pitches that you get called out on strikes more than the average player.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  7. #66
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    I don't tend to look at K rates when assessing potential OBP. I look at BB rates. Guys who walk a lot tend to strike out a lot. It's part of the discipline of taking pitches that you get called out on strikes more than the average player.
    Absolutely, BB rate is extremely important. I don't think you can ignore K rate though. You have to do increasingly well on the balls that are put in play the higher the K rate goes.

    We can set a few minimal parameters to find comparisons to Aaron's profile if he's a .350 OBP regular:
    At least 1000 PAs over the 2011-2013 seasons, total SB > 10 (to eliminate pure sluggers), BB% > 9%, K% > 20%.

    Here's the full list of who qualifies with a .350 or greater OBP:
    Mike Trout
    Shin-Soo Choo
    Paul Goldschmidt
    Matt Kemp
    Dexter Fowler
    Jayson Werth
    Carlos Gonzalez
    Chase Headley
    Giancarlo Stanton
    Justin Upton
    Alex Rodriguez
    Brandon Belt

    Those guys do pretty well on the balls they put in play. I'd say that's pretty lofty territory, no? Jonny Gomes and Austin Jackson are the only other players over .340.
    Last edited by jay; 02-03-2014 at 02:38 PM. Reason: fix table

  8. #67
    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
    Absolutely, BB rate is extremely important. I don't think you can ignore K rate though. You have to do increasingly well on the balls that are put in play the higher the K rate goes.

    We can set a few minimal parameters to find comparisons to Aaron's profile if he's a .350 OBP regular:
    At least 1000 PAs over the 2011-2013 seasons, total SB > 10 (to eliminate pure sluggers), BB% > 9%, K% > 20%.

    Here's the full list of who qualifies with a .350 or greater OBP:
    Mike Trout
    Shin-Soo Choo
    Paul Goldschmidt
    Matt Kemp
    Dexter Fowler
    Jayson Werth
    Carlos Gonzalez
    Chase Headley
    Giancarlo Stanton
    Justin Upton
    Alex Rodriguez
    Brandon Belt

    Those guys do pretty well on the balls they put in play. I'd say that's pretty lofty territory, no? Jonny Gomes and Austin Jackson are the only other players over .340.
    I don't think you are looking at the right guys, except for Jackson, who doesn't walk as much as Hicks, but who strikes out about as much and has a similar ISO. Trout is not a good comp at all because he hits a lot of balls where they can't catch it. I wouldn't look at corner guys in general for the same reason. We're looking for center fielders, who get on base and use their legs. Power is a plus, but not a necessity.

    I look at Span, for example. He has a career OBP of .351. He doesn't strike out as much as Hicks, but he also has a higher GB rate, which leads to a lower BABIP. He had an OBP of .340 as a 22 year old in AA and .323 as a 23 year old in AAA. As he matured, he was able to develop a more selective eye at the plate. That's the kind of progression we can expect with Hicks, with a little higher power ceiling.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

  9. #68
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    I would add that the strike zone was different, which affected him most in the first 10 days. I'd like to analyze all of his at bats with Pitch FX and see how many called thirds he got that were outside the strikezone. My faulty memory says it was a lot. Welcome to the majors, Mr. Hicks. Don't let the ump take the bat out of your hands.
    Umpiring aside, the improvement to BB%, K%, and OPS all corresponded with 2 things: Moving down in the order, and swinging more.

    Through Apr 13, he OPSed .155 with 20 Ks against 3 walks in 46 PAs. His swing profile looked like this:


    From Apr 15 on, when Gardy moved him down in the lineup, he OPSed .597 with 21 walks and 64 Ks in 267 PAs, and his swings/pitch during this time was:

  10. #69
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    I don't think you are looking at the right guys, except for Jackson, who doesn't walk as much as Hicks, but who strikes out about as much and has a similar ISO.
    That was exactly the point. He doesn't match up with the guys on that list and therefore is going to have a hard time consistently reaching .350. If you want to believe he'll OBP .350 with a BB > 9% and K > 20%, those are the guys doing it today.

    Span has some similar tools, but K's at < 12% and can't be used as a comp for OBP.
    Last edited by jay; 02-04-2014 at 08:28 AM.

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