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Article: Taking a Deeper Dive into Miguel Sano's Plate Discipline

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#41 wsnydes

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:01 AM

 

I'm pleased and flattered that you agreed with me. Let me return the favor by disagreeing with you. :)

 

I don't think it's useful to compare strikeouts with balls put in play. It confuses the certainty of one result, versus uncertainty on a partial result, when the comparison should be on the approach before the first ball is pitched.

 

What's missing when you say that a strikeout is wasted, is that there was not just the one opportunity, but (according to the umpire) three, namely the three strikes. Now, if the batter just stares at three pitches down the middle, that's certainly wasted. If he flails at three pitches outside of the strike one, that's wasted. If he takes cuts at strikes thrown but in a bad way (say, fooled by a change up or doesn't know how to read a curve), that's wasted. Even the kind of swing can be a bad idea, say an extreme launch angle when a gale is blowing in. But... a good approach and a good eye can still result in a strikeout, and in that case I don't necessarily have a quarrel with the outcome - it just didn't work, on that at bat.

 

Let me turn it around. I could say, "Double plays are a completely wasted at bat. Nothing good can come from it. Nothing. Striking out at least meant you had a chance for a home run." You see how I'm reversing the comparison, one being the final result and the other incorporating the chances that a particular plate appearance had?

 

None of this is to defend Sano's recent trips to the plate, which have been pretty brutal. It's the eye test that he's flunking, not simply the strikeout accumulation. He looks lost.

I understand your angle (I think), but I can't agree. I can handle a strikeout in certain situations, but they still have no chance at being positive. While double plays aren't exactly a positive result, they are at least the result of a ball put in play. It still forces the defense to field the ball and then execute the play. I can deal with that because contact was at least made and it forced the defense to make the play. A run will never score as the result of a strikeout. A runner will never advance as the result of a strikeout. A batter will never reach base because of a strikeout. When they reach on a WP/PB, that's a result of the WP or PB not the strikeout. Failing to put the ball in play can never result in a positive. When the ball is put in play, there's at least a chance it finds a hole or an error is committed. Those cannot happen due to a strikeout. Therefore, it's a wasted at bat.

 

I'm not following the "striking out at least meant that you had a chance at a home run." Usually, contact must be made in order to hit a home run! :) You could ground into a double play on the 1st pitch or the 37th.

 

I do agree that Sano looks lost. He doesn't really seem to have a plan and I imagine that his chasing pitches out of the zone is a result of guessing and potentially lack of prep (pure conjecture on my part). Something needs to change there.

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#42 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:03 AM

 

What plate discipline?

 

Like Ash, I'm more concerned about the stuff that he misses inside the zone because if he was actually hitting more of the pitches that he should obliterate, I'd be able to tolerate swinging out of the zone. 

 

Strikeouts are a completely wasted at bat. Nothing good can come from it. Nothing. Putting the ball in play at the very least has marginal chance at becoming positive and forces the defense to execute the out. 

 

Putting the ball in play also has a marginal chance of becoming negative.Double plays, lead runners being thrown out, guys getting cut down at the plate; none of which can happen on a strikeout.On the whole, I agree that strikeouts are worse than ball-in-play outs, but the difference is not quite so large as a number of posters on this site want to believe.

 

Additionally, if strikeouts are the price you pay for higher home run rates, than you can argue strikeouts are a good thing.After all, which inning would you rather have; a lead-off single, and three straight ball-in-play outs, or a leadoff homer and three straight strikeouts?

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#43 wsnydes

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:05 AM

 

I don't understand why some fans continue to dismiss this problem of his. Why is it a bad thing to comment about his bad plate discipline and high K rate, and want him to improve that aspect of his game?

Exactly. When his OPS is over 1.000 I can still acknowledge that his approach is working, but the additional potential in those wasted ABs could amount to so much more. 

 

In this case, you can have it both ways. I'll obviously take that 1.000+ OPS, but could it be even better if he'd simply reduce his K rate?

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#44 wsnydes

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:13 AM

 

Putting the ball in play also has a marginal chance of becoming negative.Double plays, lead runners being thrown out, guys getting cut down at the plate; none of which can happen on a strikeout.On the whole, I agree that strikeouts are worse than ball-in-play outs, but the difference is not quite so large as a number of posters on this site want to believe.

 

Additionally, if strikeouts are the price you pay for higher home run rates, than you can argue strikeouts are a good thing.After all, which inning would you rather have; a lead-off single, and three straight ball-in-play outs, or a leadoff homer and three straight strikeouts?

I don't necessarily disagree with anything that you said here. There's obviously circumstances where a strikeout could potentially be less negative than a double play. Generally speaking though, I'll take that double play over a strikeout. Make the defense earn the out.

 

Obviously i'll take the HR scenario in your example, however that inning was largely wasted. Follow up that leadoff HR with balls put in play increases odds of a big inning. There are also scenarios where simply putting the ball in play is all that is needed. Replace your HR with a triple. Way too many close, late game situations are wasted because batters repeatedly strike out versus simply putting the ball in play. If I only need one run, swinging for the fences doesn't make a lot of sense. Watching Cruz hit is a pretty good example of a veteran hitter knowing what the situation calls for.

 

Furthermore, if a guy strikes out 10 times for every HR he hits I'm not sure that's a positive. There's clearly a limit to that approach.

Edited by wsnydes, 20 June 2019 - 10:15 AM.

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#45 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:15 AM

 

I thought his strikeouts weren't a problem! That's what I was told maybe a week ago in another article.

 

Strikeouts aren't a problem in and of themselves.Consider this thought experiment;

 

Imagine a player who gets 600 PA's in a season, and strikes out 70% of the time (420 strikeouts, almost 200 more than the all-time record).However, in the other 180 PA's, the player hits a homerun every time.That players line would be .300/.300/1.200/1.500.That would be, by OPS, the greatest offensive season in baseball history.In fact, the slugging percentage alone would be the 21st greatest OPS season in baseball history.It would be a wOBA of .630, which is almost 100 points higher than Barry Bonds 2004 season.

 

The problem is not the strikeouts (after all, every hitter's out rate will be somewhere in the 55% to 60% range).The problem is what happens in all the plate appearances that aren't strikeouts.

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#46 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:21 AM

 

Astudillo's chase rate is an issue. That's why he was sent down to Rochester.

Sano striking out in 24 of 56 PAs in June is totally fine because his OPS is still good? I don't get it, I really don't.

 

Striking out in 24 of 56 PA in June is an issue in the sense that his OPS is only .724 in June.He's not doing enough in his non-k PA's to justify his k rate.If that continues, I'll be all in favor of sending him down to clean it up.However, if he hits like he did in May, when he struck out in 18 of 50 PA's, but put up a .936 OPS, I'm perfectly happy with penciling him into the 6/7 slot every day.After all, in May, Sano was 41% better than the average hitter.

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#47 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:29 AM

 

I understand your angle (I think), but I can't agree. I can handle a strikeout in certain situations, but they still have no chance at being positive. While double plays aren't exactly a positive result, they are at least the result of a ball put in play. It still forces the defense to field the ball and then execute the play. I can deal with that because contact was at least made and it forced the defense to make the play. A run will never score as the result of a strikeout. A runner will never advance as the result of a strikeout. A batter will never reach base because of a strikeout. When they reach on a WP/PB, that's a result of the WP or PB not the strikeout. Failing to put the ball in play can never result in a positive. When the ball is put in play, there's at least a chance it finds a hole or an error is committed. Those cannot happen due to a strikeout. Therefore, it's a wasted at bat.

 

I'm not following the "striking out at least meant that you had a chance at a home run." Usually, contact must be made in order to hit a home run! :) You could ground into a double play on the 1st pitch or the 37th.

 

I do agree that Sano looks lost. He doesn't really seem to have a plan and I imagine that his chasing pitches out of the zone is a result of guessing and potentially lack of prep (pure conjecture on my part). Something needs to change there.

 

Except that a strikeout allows for the possibility of a wild pitch/passed ball, or for that matter, a stolen base.A ball in play means none of those things can happen.If you're going to say putting a ball in play is positive because it can result in an error, than you have to say not putting a ball in play can be positive because it can result in a WP/PB.Using your logic, a batter reaching/runner advancing due to an error, is the result of the error, not the ball put in play.

 

Also, batters seldomly, but regularly reach base on strikeouts when the third strike gets away.Runners often advance on those as well.And while those instances are less frequent than runners advancing on balls-in-play, it is plainly false to say no good can possible come from a strikeout.


#48 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:33 AM

 

The check swings aren't inherently bad. It's often a product of the YES-YES-NO approach in the box (getting the swing started early then shutting it down late when you don't like the pitch). 

 

 

I don't know if I would call it regularly -- it's just 18 swing/misses on pitches 94 mph and lower -- however, and I've pointed this out over the years, Sano's swing isn't conducive to fastballs up in the zone. That's where the majority of his swing/misses are on those, regardless of velo. Boston picked him apart up there this series. 

I noticed Boston was pitching him high... kind of makes sense. So what kind of adjustments do you think he should make without destroying his ability to hit home runs?


#49 wsnydes

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:44 AM

 

Except that a strikeout allows for the possibility of a wild pitch/passed ball, or for that matter, a stolen base.A ball in play means none of those things can happen.If you're going to say putting a ball in play is positive because it can result in an error, than you have to say not putting a ball in play can be positive because it can result in a WP/PB.Using your logic, a batter reaching/runner advancing due to an error, is the result of the error, not the ball put in play.

 

Also, batters seldomly, but regularly reach base on strikeouts when the third strike gets away.Runners often advance on those as well.And while those instances are less frequent than runners advancing on balls-in-play, it is plainly false to say no good can possible come from a strikeout.

I never claimed that not putting the ball in play can't be a positive, only that a strikeout is always a negative. As previously stated in my original post, a batter that reaches via WP/PB on a strikeout reaches not because of the strikeout but because of the WP/PB. 

 

I don't see a stolen base as being a result of anything that the batter does aside from not making contact. That's on the baserunner and really doesn't involve the batter. If a baserunner steals on a 2-strike count, the hope is a hit and run scenario since the batter has to protect the plate. And in that case, you have the potential for a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play. I'll take my chances with the ball put in play there too.

 

We can scenario this discussion to death based on generalized statements that I made or any of the counter arguments that are made.

Edited by wsnydes, 20 June 2019 - 10:47 AM.

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#50 chpettit19

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:57 AM

Strikeouts verse ball in play outs matter based on situation. Nobody on and 2 outs swing away and see if we can't score that inning cuz you hit it 400 feet. If you strike out, oh well, chances were very small we'd score that inning anyways. Extra innings against the defending champs with the winning run in scoring position put the ball in play and see what happens. There is a difference between a strikeout and a ball in play out, but it depends on the situation. Lead off triple can't be followed by 3 straight strikeouts. Or even 2. One of the next 2 guys has to put the ball in play and give you the chance to score that run. That is what frustrates me most about Sano. Well that and watching him miss 91 MPH fastbals down the middle by a foot. It's nice when he hits them 450, but sometimes when you get to 2 strikes you have to cut down and just get the job done. The "do damage all the time" approach is a good one in that 3 run homers make it much more likely you'll win a game, but in the playoffs, and against good teams in general, you still need those single runs on a sac fly or a blooper to the opposite field. The Twins won Tuesday night, but at the expense of their entire bullpen when Sano (and to be fair a couple other guys) simply putting the ball in play wins them the game numerous times before Kep finally did it in the 17th.

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#51 Harrison Greeley III

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 10:57 AM

The Red Sox very obviously had a plan of attack to throw fastballs upper third or above. You can look at the pitch sequences on the mlb.com recaps. He is absolutely helpless up there. The only contact he made in the series was on pitches middle or lower third. 

I'm not saying he can't adjust, but there are more high fastballs coming his way until he does. 

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#52 wsnydes

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 11:05 AM

 

Strikeouts aren't a problem in and of themselves.Consider this thought experiment;

 

Imagine a player who gets 600 PA's in a season, and strikes out 70% of the time (420 strikeouts, almost 200 more than the all-time record).However, in the other 180 PA's, the player hits a homerun every time.That players line would be .300/.300/1.200/1.500.That would be, by OPS, the greatest offensive season in baseball history.In fact, the slugging percentage alone would be the 21st greatest OPS season in baseball history.It would be a wOBA of .630, which is almost 100 points higher than Barry Bonds 2004 season.

 

The problem is not the strikeouts (after all, every hitter's out rate will be somewhere in the 55% to 60% range).The problem is what happens in all the plate appearances that aren't strikeouts.

You're correct that they aren't problem in and of themselves, but they are part of the problem. They do limit the damage that can be done. I think that's the point some posters are trying to make. Why settle for high K's when it could be improved upon and the stat line becoming even better. It's one thing if the batter strikes out a lot from pitches in the zone, it's quite another if they chase like Sano is. A guy can have plate discipline and still hit HRs.

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#53 joefish

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:01 PM

Sano is running out of leash. And that is too bad.

#54 joefish

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:03 PM

I believe that strike outs are more worthless than other types of outs. Hit the ball, Miguel
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#55 twinsnorth49

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:19 PM

 

Sano is running out of leash. And that is too bad.

Where did you hear that? 

 

I hardly think so. 


#56 twinsnorth49

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:20 PM

 

I don't like the Joey Gallo comparison because Gallo is super athletic, can play center field, isn't a liability on the basepaths, etc. while Sano is not exactly a gold glove in the field. Gallo is legitimately an MVP candidate right now. Sano is not. Sano hasn't even played one full mlb season because of injury issues either. 

 

They are only comparable because both are 3 true outcome hitters. Yoan Moncada is another.

Which is the only comparison he was making. 


#57 brightside

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:34 PM

My vote is to ship Sano and some mid level prospects out for SP/RP out of the AL. We don't need his bat or defense for 2019.

 

Gonzalez

Adrianza

Tortuga

 

Can all slot into 3rd any given day. Start shopping Sano now and pull the trigger once we get our guys off the IL.

 


#58 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:47 PM

 

I don't necessarily disagree with anything that you said here. There's obviously circumstances where a strikeout could potentially be less negative than a double play. Generally speaking though, I'll take that double play over a strikeout. Make the defense earn the out.

 

Obviously i'll take the HR scenario in your example, however that inning was largely wasted. Follow up that leadoff HR with balls put in play increases odds of a big inning. There are also scenarios where simply putting the ball in play is all that is needed. Replace your HR with a triple. Way too many close, late game situations are wasted because batters repeatedly strike out versus simply putting the ball in play. If I only need one run, swinging for the fences doesn't make a lot of sense. Watching Cruz hit is a pretty good example of a veteran hitter knowing what the situation calls for.

 

Furthermore, if a guy strikes out 10 times for every HR he hits I'm not sure that's a positive. There's clearly a limit to that approach.

 

The HR scenario was not a wasted inning.Re-produce that inning every inning, of every game, and that team will have far and away the greatest offense of all time.That team will in all likelihood win something like 140 games, shattering the all-time win record.

 

I also don't understand why you would rather have a double play than a strikeout.There are 14 states in which a double play can occur; runner at first, runner at second, runner at third, runners at first and second, runners at first and third, runners at second and third, bases loaded (either with 0 outs or 1 out).Based on run expectancy, the only times a double play is less damaging than a strikeout is if there are multiple runners on base, one of whom is at third, and that runner manages to score before the second out of the double play is recorded.The best-case scenario for a double play is on average .2 runs worse of an outcome than a strikeout, whereas the worst-case scenario is .6 runs worse of an outcome.


#59 Cap'n Piranha

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 01:00 PM

 

I never claimed that not putting the ball in play can't be a positive, only that a strikeout is always a negative. As previously stated in my original post, a batter that reaches via WP/PB on a strikeout reaches not because of the strikeout but because of the WP/PB. 

 

I don't see a stolen base as being a result of anything that the batter does aside from not making contact. That's on the baserunner and really doesn't involve the batter. If a baserunner steals on a 2-strike count, the hope is a hit and run scenario since the batter has to protect the plate. And in that case, you have the potential for a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play. I'll take my chances with the ball put in play there too.

 

We can scenario this discussion to death based on generalized statements that I made or any of the counter arguments that are made.

 

You did claim that not putting the ball in play can't be positive.From your post at 9:01 AM, 4th to last sentence in your first paragraph: "Failing to put the ball in play can never result in a positive."

 

I agree that a batter reaching on a WP/PB reaches because of the WP/PB, not the strikeout; however, that also means a batter that reaches on an error on a ball put in play reaches on the error, not the ball put in play.Insofar as reaching on a WP/PB or an error is dependent on a strikeout or ball in play, respectively, you can't dismiss either case without also dismissing the other.

 

A stolen base is also dependent on the ball not being put in play.Therefore, if stealing a base is a positive, not putting the ball in play is imperative.


#60 BattleYourTailOff

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 01:02 PM

What plate discipline? I love Miguel’s potential and power but he’s absolutely brutal and I’m convinced he’ll never be worth anything against above average pitching. Package him in a trade.

Edited by BattleYourTailOff, 20 June 2019 - 01:03 PM.




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