Monday, June 30, 2008

By Eric Notti - Contributor

June 30, 2008

Behind every problem is a reason. There seems to be a simple way to quantify relationships between Vladimir Guerrero’s plate approach and his power number drop off and a statistical indicator for this decline can be found in Bill James book Baseball Goldmine 2008.

Let's first look at the basics that is his power numbers as viewed through his slugging percentage and home runs totals are decreasing every year since 2004.

2004 HR 39 Slg % .598

2005 HR 32 Slg % .565

2006 HR 33 Slg % .552

2007 HR 27 Slg % .547

Now it is not as those are unacceptable numbers but anyone can see a drop off but no one has pin pointed the reason for this steady decrease in productivity.

For years we've been happily saying Vlad is the best bad ball hitter they've ever seen but that is precisely why his numbers are on the downward spiral. His passion for hitting anything pitched to him has become increasingly noticeable that he has lost his plate discipline. The AL has adjusted and he no longer is getting anything reasonable to swing at, and yet he still does. From Bill James recent book entitled Baseball Goldmine 2008 are these very telling statistics.

2004 TS 112 SOZ 281

2005 TS 131 SOZ 303

2006 TS 121 SOZ 428

2007 TS 139 SOZ 604

The TS stands for taken strikes, the amount of times Vlad stared at pitch called a strike. The SOZ simply stands for swinging outside the zone. What is it that stands out is that the TS has only risen by about 15% while the TOZ has progressed 214% of his first year in the AL.

Vlad saw a total of 2,037 pitches last year and swung at 57% of them. Of those he missed 20%, fouled off 35% and put in play 45%.

His increase in swinging at pitches out of the zone results in a loss of power, instead of home runs he is hitting fewer triples and more singles. It is not that he isn't productive, he is just no longer as much of a threat to opposing pitchers because he has expanded his zone for each at bat to the point the odds are against him to make solid contact.

I love watching Vlad but I hate watching Vlad reach so far out of the zone to hit a weak grounder that may or may not squeak through the infield rather than the rockets he was hitting his first couple years. I think if someone can convince him to stay within the boundaries of the plate you will see two things happen. At first his walk totals will increase as pitchers try to bait him with junk and then the power numbers will increase as the league adjusts and goes back to challenging him rather than giving away free bases.

I think Bill James missed the boat on calling him the best bad ball hitter ever and that no kids coming up are being labeled as the next Vlad. I don't think any hitters are allowed the leniency with the strike zone Vlad has so there will never be a comparison. And soon, if he does not change his approach, he will no longer be a bad ball hitter, but just a bad hitter.
Love to hear what you think!

Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

AngelsWin Media

We Recommend

 photo 8fbce79f-4964-43ef-a13d-ff1832b5e9a4_zpsd3c2ece7.jpg
Click on the picture above to pick up a copy of Rob Goldman's latest on Angels' great, Nolan Ryan. A Must Read for every fan of the Angels! Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to become the ownership of for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.