Thursday, February 18, 2016

Was Xander's Breakout 2015 Due To Aggressive Hitting?

(AP Photo)
Maybe it's time to ditch the "grind-it-out", patient at-bat mantra so long revered by the Red Sox. An interesting analysis by Jesse Pantuosco of Yahoo! Sports suggests that Xander Bogaerts' breakout 2015 season was due to greater aggressiveness at the plate. Specifically, Bogie swung at 49.1% of the pitches he saw in 2015 (including 33.6% outside the strike zone). In his somewhat disappointing 2014 season, he swung at only 44.8% of pitches (and 28.5% outside the strike zone). Interestingly, his contact rate was about the same in both years (81.4% in 2015; 78.1% in 2014), so it's really more his willingness to swing away more that made the difference. Makes you wonder.