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Yagyu+
05-25-2010, 02:38 AM
The Baseball Analysts like Soriano's Fly Balls (http://baseballanalysts.com/):


Alfonso Soriano is having a resurgent year after his forgettable 2009. On the strength of his seven HRs (and a total of 23 extra-base hits) and a 0.386 OBP, Soriano has an amazing 0.432 wOBA, putting him in the top ten in the league.

Soriano is blasting everything skyward, as his GB% is second lowest in the league at 25%. He has always has always been a fly-ball hitter, but this ground-ball rate is well below his career average of 32%. Ground-ball rate is tied to pitch height, so l looked at Soriano's swing rate by pitch height to see whether there was anything going on.

{Soriano's swing rate by pitch height}

Nope, it looks like Soriano is swinging at about the same height of pitches, though he is swinging at fewer pitches this year compared to the others in the pitchf/x era. Instead it looks like no matter the pitch height Soriano has, so far this year, hit a lower rate of balls in play on the ground compared to previously. It looks like this is particularly true for pitches up in the zone.

{Ground ball rate by pitch height}

What is making Soriano so successful this year is not that those fly balls are leaving the park at a rate higher than his career average (actually his HR/FB this year is a tad lower than his career average), rather they are dropping in for hits more often. Since 2002 Soriano has a 0.146 BABIP on fly balls (as classified by BIS and courtesy of FanGraphs), but so far this year his BABIP on fly balls has been has been 0.341.

Soriano has 44 non-HR fly balls in 2010 and 15 non-HR fly-ball hits. Had he gotten fly-ball hits at his career rate he would have just six or seven non-HR fly-ball hits. If we take away eight of his singles he ends up with a OBP of 0.331 and a wOBA of 0.389. If we took those eight hits away as five singles and three doubles his wOBA would drop to 0.383. Both still very good, but no longer in the top ten in the league.

Obviously what is done is done and those 15 fly-ball hits are money in the bank for Soriano and the Cubs. But unless you think Soriano can continue to get a hit on a third of his non-HR flyballs, don't think he is going to keep up this torrid pace (and probably not one though he would to begin with). Just another reminder of the fickleness of BABIP. After being on the short-end of the BABIP-luck stick last year Soriano has seen his fortunes flip this year.

Vandelay16
05-25-2010, 02:53 AM
I attribute his success to hugs.

But seriously I am so happy for Sori that he is having a good year.

Milnertime
05-25-2010, 03:55 AM
Maybe some of the fly balls will turn into line drives....


I hope....

majestic
05-25-2010, 05:10 AM
thank you rudy

kingbrentg
05-25-2010, 05:13 AM
Amazing thread title.

AllStar44
05-25-2010, 08:43 AM
I know its way too early in the year to tell, but if Sori can keep hitting like he has throughout this year, do you think he's clearly the comback player of the year?

poodski
05-25-2010, 09:07 AM
Maybe some of the fly balls will turn into line drives....


I hope....

The thing is, is his LD rate is the highest its ever been.

His FB rate really isnt up all that much. The last two years his FB rates were 48% and 48.2% and now its up to 51.4% so its up a bit, but only about 3.2%

He is turning some GBs into LD's.

I think in the end his peripherals are going to look very very similar to his 2008 line. His FB rate is going to come down a little bit and his GB rate is going to come up a little bit, and hopefully his LD rate stays constant.

Ron!n
05-25-2010, 09:35 AM
I know its way too early in the year to tell, but if Sori can keep hitting like he has throughout this year, do you think he's clearly the comback player of the year?
It is early but him and Silva are making good cases. :)

PostingMachine
05-25-2010, 09:58 AM
Soriano has impressed me a lot so far this year. I don't think he's really changed the way he bats, but he has gotten a lot more patient at the plate, and that's all that he really had to do last season to have the same kind of success. He can hit the ball with power, there's no doubt about that, all he has to do is wait for the pitch to come to him, and then take it, rather than chasing pitches out of the zone. Definitely great to see Fonsi having a good year for a change.

ggross
05-25-2010, 10:06 AM
Soriano has impressed me a lot so far this year. I don't think he's really changed the way he bats, but he has gotten a lot more patient at the plate, and that's all that he really had to do last season to have the same kind of success. He can hit the ball with power, there's no doubt about that, all he has to do is wait for the pitch to come to him, and then take it, rather than chasing pitches out of the zone. Definitely great to see Fonsi having a good year for a change.

Yeah, I think the key is that he's swinging at fewer pitches. Laying off some of the really bad ones that he couldn't lay off last year.

Diehardcub
05-25-2010, 12:12 PM
Yea, he's definitely been more selective this year. And while I agree with the analysis that he won't sustain these kind of numbers, I feel good about him having a 2007 or 2008 year. Most surprisingly, he hasn't gone into one of his famous slumps, nor has he gone on an absolute HR tear like he used to. He's seeing the ball really well. In essence, he's been very consistent all year. Soriano is a beast when he's not swinging at pitcher's pitches.

Doogolas
05-25-2010, 02:47 PM
I think for a change is kinda funny. He's only had not great year for us really. :D

More important than anything though is how good he looks in the field IMO.

JSK
05-25-2010, 10:19 PM
He seems to be biting less on that on those low and away pitches which have just killed him in the past two seasons.

Its nice to see him turn his game around so far. Hopefully Lee and Aram can do it as well.

mwoodri
05-26-2010, 12:29 AM
Good read.

3Fingers
05-26-2010, 12:28 PM
Interesting read and analysis on pitch height.

The thing about Soriano is that he's always been a dead low-ball hitter, which is sort of odd for a right-handed batter (but not surprising, given the huge bat he uses). His penchant for wanting to blast low fastballs onto Waveland Avenue has gotten him into trouble with sliders down and away. But for whatever reason this year, he's laying off the low-and-away slider. Don't know if he's seeing the ball better or just plain FEELING better physically, which is sharpening everything about him.

As for Soriano's fielding, I've been one of his harshest critics. Given his own recent statements to the media about not having worked on his fielding before, I think that criticism (by me and others) has been warranted. It's hard to fault a guy for his limitations (like a big, slow Adam Dunn type), but I do hold any player's lack of effort against him.

However, that being said ... the hard work Soriano has put in on his defense is beginning to pay some dividends. He truly looks better out there. Good for him.

cheerio
05-26-2010, 02:45 PM
Just glad he is doing better than last year