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  #1  
Old 10-10-2018, 11:50 AM
Frater Perdurabo Frater Perdurabo is offline
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Default A Modest Moncada Proposal: Learn to Foul Off Borderline Strikes

We all agree Yoan Moncada strikes out too much. We also know that he's among the league leaders in called strikeouts.


Those who hate stats other than the traditional numbers might want to skip ahead to the "old school" conclusion that the advance stats seem to support.



FanGraphs has some interesting metrics that can help up analyze the strengths and weaknesses in his hitting, particularly when compared to league averages:



Swinging strike percentage: 12.2% Moncada; 9.5% league average
Swing percentage: 41% Moncada; 46% league

Contact percentage in the strike zone: 80% Moncada; 87% league

Contact percentage outside the strike zone: 45% Moncada; 60% league
Swing percentage in the strike zone: 62% Moncada; 65% league
Swing percentage outside the strike zone: 22% Moncada; 30% league


As we can see, Moncada swings and misses more than the league average, particularly on pitches outside of the zone (which is bad), but he swings at pitches outside of the zone less than the league (which is good and points to his superior batting eye). In fact, he swings less often than most hitters - he's more selective, but more of that selectivity is on pitches outside of the zone.


This leads me to conclude Moncada does not need to work on his batting eye/selectivity, but he does need to make more contact on pitches in the strike zone.


Among other fixes Moncada could strive to make, I think he needs to develop and refine the skill to foul off "borderline" strikes when he has two strikes against him: those pitches that he's taking for called strikes now, likely because he doesn't think he can do much with them. Looking at the heatmaps, this could most benefit him as a left-handed batter with pitches up and inside, and as a right-handed batter anywhere at the top of the zone.



This would allow him to see more pitches, not get rung up on called strikes as often, and potentially see better pitches to hit.


Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2018, 12:30 PM
soxfanatlanta soxfanatlanta is offline
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I'd like to see the variance for the league averages; is he off by a little, or a lot?

It also looks like he needs to swing, and make contact with pitches close to the strike zone.
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2018, 01:29 PM
asindc asindc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frater Perdurabo View Post
We all agree Yoan Moncada strikes out too much. We also know that he's among the league leaders in called strikeouts.


Those who hate stats other than the traditional numbers might want to skip ahead to the "old school" conclusion that the advance stats seem to support.



FanGraphs has some interesting metrics that can help up analyze the strengths and weaknesses in his hitting, particularly when compared to league averages:



Swinging strike percentage: 12.2% Moncada; 9.5% league average
Swing percentage: 41% Moncada; 46% league

Contact percentage in the strike zone: 80% Moncada; 87% league

Contact percentage outside the strike zone: 45% Moncada; 60% league
Swing percentage in the strike zone: 62% Moncada; 65% league
Swing percentage outside the strike zone: 22% Moncada; 30% league


As we can see, Moncada swings and misses more than the league average, particularly on pitches outside of the zone (which is bad), but he swings at pitches outside of the zone less than the league (which is good and points to his superior batting eye). In fact, he swings less often than most hitters - he's more selective, but more of that selectivity is on pitches outside of the zone.


This leads me to conclude Moncada does not need to work on his batting eye/selectivity, but he does need to make more contact on pitches in the strike zone.


Among other fixes Moncada could strive to make, I think he needs to develop and refine the skill to foul off "borderline" strikes when he has two strikes against him: those pitches that he's taking for called strikes now, likely because he doesn't think he can do much with them. Looking at the heatmaps, this could most benefit him as a left-handed batter with pitches up and inside, and as a right-handed batter anywhere at the top of the zone.



This would allow him to see more pitches, not get rung up on called strikes as often, and potentially see better pitches to hit.


Thoughts?
My initial thought is that any knowledgeable person who watched him regularly this past season didn't need the numbers to see that is exactly what he was doing: Not swinging enough at pitches in the zone and swinging and missing too often when he did swing. Mind you, I'm not criticizing the numbers or your analysis, just saying classic scouting skills can produce the same conclusion in this case.
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2018, 02:07 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asindc View Post
My initial thought is that any knowledgeable person who watched him regularly this past season didn't need the numbers to see that is exactly what he was doing: Not swinging enough at pitches in the zone and swinging and missing too often when he did swing. Mind you, I'm not criticizing the numbers or your analysis, just saying classic scouting skills can produce the same conclusion in this case.

I was going to write that a statistical analysis shouldn't be necessary. I could tell when I saw him up with the Red Sox in August 2016 (12 strikeouts and one walk in 20 plate appearances before being sent down to the Arizona Fall League in September), he didn't have a good batter's eye. He doesn't seem to have improved much.


Complain about the bad umpiring, but no one struck out more than Moncada this season, and no one has ever hit so few home runs to show for anywhere near his strikeout pace.



He needs to learn the strike zone and work to stay alive with two strikes.
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2018, 02:31 PM
Domeshot17 Domeshot17 is offline
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I disagree that he lacks a good eye. If anything, it is his one best tool right now.

He needs to be more aggressive. He is approaching at bats as he did the minors, thinking pitchers will miss the black and he will get something over the heart. But in the bigs they are not missing the black. He also hasn't earned a call yet, so he is getting nothing borderline.

I would echo most that are saying I would like him to start hitting good pitches and stop waiting for the perfect one. Be aggressive early when it is called for.
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2018, 03:18 PM
WhiteSox5187 WhiteSox5187 is offline
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The passivity is a problem, SoxMachine had a piece in August that Moncada got a first pitch strike 65% of the time and he just looks at a good chunk of those.

Another problem Moncada has is handling certain pitches in the zone. The Athletic's Eno Sarris had a piece about how often Moncada struggles with sliders, especially sliders down in the zone. He just can't hit them for some reason, and of course that is what pitchers are attacking him with.

Now, I don't know how often pitchers are starting him with a first pitch slider as opposed to a fastball, but if he can start attacking those pitches in the zone maybe that helps him. If the problem is there's just a huge swath of the zone that he can't cover, I don't know if anything can help that.
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2018, 04:15 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Domeshot17 View Post
I disagree that he lacks a good eye. If anything, it is his one best tool right now.

He needs to be more aggressive. He is approaching at bats as he did the minors, thinking pitchers will miss the black and he will get something over the heart. But in the bigs they are not missing the black. He also hasn't earned a call yet, so he is getting nothing borderline.

I would echo most that are saying I would like him to start hitting good pitches and stop waiting for the perfect one. Be aggressive early when it is called for.

He swings at so many bad pitches, while taking enough strikes, especially third strikes, that I don't see how he can be said to have a good eye for the strike zone. He swings at enough first pitches (I don't know where to find how many first pitches he offered at without putting the ball in play, however, but they show up in game logs) that I don't think he is waiting for the perfect pitch. If anything, his brutal time with the Red Sox should have shown him he can't do that in the majors.



Hitters who care about not striking out expand their zone and with two strikes swing at pitches that are too close to take. Maybe "too close to take" is an antiquated notion.


But if you don't hold hitters accountable for striking out, maybe they feel they have no reason not to.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2018, 07:34 PM
Tragg Tragg is offline
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Moncada has a good eye and great patience. Work with those as assets not liabilities.
I agree with Mr Swift and his "Modest Proposal"
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  #9  
Old 10-11-2018, 11:37 AM
jshanahanjr jshanahanjr is offline
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Default Moncado

Moncada has a better eye than the umpires, but they make the call on strike 3. He just needs to attack more on first pitch, and foul off the borderline pitches with 2 strikes. Easier said than done, but that's how I saw it last season. Nobody is hitting good sliders on a regular basis.
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  #10  
Old 10-11-2018, 04:26 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshanahanjr View Post
Moncada has a better eye than the umpires, but they make the call on strike 3. He just needs to attack more on first pitch, and foul off the borderline pitches with 2 strikes. Easier said than done, but that's how I saw it last season. Nobody is hitting good sliders on a regular basis.

This thinking seems both delusional and irrelevant.


I've yet to see any evidence that calls against Moncada were consistently worse than calls against hitters who struck out at half his rate. If Moncada has a great batting eye, and he isn't using it to keep from striking out. There are martyrs who stand up for what they believe in. Some of them are revered as saints. Hitters who are called out on strikes consistently because out of some sort of belief in the sanctity of the true strike zone aren't saints. They are offensive holes in your lineup.


There is more to having a great batter's eye than knowing whether a pitch is a strike when it crosses the plate. The other major element is pitch recognition. Knowing whether a pitch is a strike has to be combine with knowing what you can do with it when it is still in front of the plate.


It's easy to take pitches, to look patient at the plate. If you're striking out three times more than you are walking, your patience is not a virtue but problematic. And if you jump on that first-pitch fastball that turns out to be a slider, your best case scenario might be that you are down in the count.


Maybe Moncada is close to breaking out. There is no evidence of this in his 2018 performance. It's possible, though, that he got great coaching this year, working on the holes in his offensive game, and will put together that things he has learned. I haven't seen anything about him playing winter ball.



With Moncada, there is more reason for hope than optimism.
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  #11  
Old 10-11-2018, 04:58 PM
jshanahanjr jshanahanjr is offline
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Default Moncada

Pitch track showed them as balls, so that's where I formed my opinion. The ump can't see the outside corner from the other side of the catcher.
Nobody is making a living on hitting nasty sliders or a pitchers pitch. You get a first pitch fast ball you like crush it! Kirby Puckett made the hall of fame in part with that approach.
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  #12  
Old 10-11-2018, 05:27 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshanahanjr View Post
Pitch track showed them as balls, so that's where I formed my opinion. The ump can't see the outside corner from the other side of the catcher.
Nobody is making a living on hitting nasty sliders or a pitchers pitch. You get a first pitch fast ball you like crush it! Kirby Puckett made the hall of fame in part with that approach.

Still, no one in 2018, probably going back to 2016, compensated for the umpire's strike zone more poorly than Moncada. And a big part of dealing with good sliders at the plate is recognizing they're sliders.
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  #13  
Old 10-11-2018, 06:30 PM
Paulwny Paulwny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jshanahanjr View Post
Pitch track showed them as balls, so that's where I formed my opinion. The ump can't see the outside corner from the other side of the catcher. .
And neither can the batter from the opposite batter's box.
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  #14  
Old 10-11-2018, 07:27 PM
Frater Perdurabo Frater Perdurabo is offline
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Moncada led the league in called third strikes on borderline pitches.

Hes not chasing sliders in the dirt. Hes swinging at pitches out of the zone LESS than other players.

Hes also swinging in the zone less.

Yes, swinging at borderline high strikes early in the count ought to get him more hits.

And learning to foul off pitches, particularly borderline high pitches that may be (and have been) called strikes, will help him stay alive and see more pitches, some of which hell be able to drive.
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2018, 12:57 PM
Lip Man 1 Lip Man 1 is offline
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By the way don't know if anybody saw this yesterday. Bruce Levine is claiming that Moncada has ADD and the Sox are going to move him to third base.

Said that on a radio show apparently after a caller brought it up.

OK then...

That brought this interesting response:


Brian Bilek
@BrianBilek_
Bruce Levine - A sports media professional who can’t turn his ringer off during a press conference or use the Twitter app is now assessing people’s mental health on the radio. That’s gold.

11:45 AM - Oct 13, 2018
41
See Brian Bilek's other Tweets

Personally I'll wait for confirmation from better sources before accepting this as gospel.
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