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Weekend Diamond Wrap-Up

Weekend Diamond Wrap-Up

Lance Roffers
The Miami Hurricanes played their annual series with in-state rival the Florida Gators this weekend. While the series didn’t go quite as well as hoped, Miami did manage to win the Sunday game and get a big win for the rest of their season. Here is the recap of the weekend complete with key moments, stats, and where Miami can improve upon as we move forward with the season.

Game One-
The series could not have started off any better for Miami than it did on Friday night, with Jeb Bargfeldt retiring the Gators after allowing a harmless two-out single. In the bottom half Miami jumped on potential number-one overall MLB draft pick, Brady Singer, with a leadoff double by Burns followed by a HR by Michael Perez- the first of his Miami career. A one-out double and two-out single by Michael Amditis plated Danny Reyes and the Canes led the game 3-0. From there, things would go south quickly for the Canes.

Key plays:
The second inning started with a problem that has plagued Miami too often in recent years; walking a hitter immediately after the offense has given you a lead. The Canes were able to catch the hitter stealing, but the mere fact it happened shows one of the issues that the Canes have had in winning big games lately.

In the same inning, Miami makes another mistake with a ground ball to 1B that should’ve been an easy out, but Toral is too far away from 1B to beat the runner to the bad and Bargfeldt fails to cover quickly enough. The announcer indicated it was Escala’s fault, but he is not responsible for covering 1B, he is responsible for backing up the play behind Toral first in case he lets it go and covers. That play was on the Senior, Bargfeldt and it cost the Canes. On a 1-2 pitch Horvath hits a two-out, two-run HR and the lead was down to 3-2. This sequence was a huge moment in the game and is something that has happened too often thus far in the season.

The fourth inning saw Florida take the lead for good. A single up-the-middle followed by a pair of doubles made it 4-3 and the game was essentially over.

Game Two-
In this game Miami truly didn’t give themselves a chance. The leadoff hitter makes an out, but then the next man singles. Where they hurt themselves is by throwing a wild pitch to get him into scoring position. Schwarz walks with a base open, and that’s not a killer yet. Things got bad from there. Florida hits a ground ball to 2B and Escala makes a throwing error allowing him to reach base and load the bases. The next batter walks and forces in a run. In that situation you just cannot walk the hitter. A strikeout would’ve ended the inning without any runs scoring without the error, but then the next batter is hit with an 0-2 pitch to force in another run. Those are the types of mistakes that prevent any chance at winning.

Key Plays-
After getting back into the game and tying it at two apiece, Michael Perez grounds into an inning-ending double play to keep the game tied. Getting a lead in that situation could’ve potentially changed the entire game. Perez had to protect the plate with the count 1-2, but that was a tough ending to the inning when it looked like the team had life.

Passed ball by Amditis in the sixth inning is the third run of the game that was given to the Gators without having to earn it. In a game that was close at the time, this changed the course of the feel of the game. Instead of one swing being able to tie it, now the pitcher has margin for error.

In the eighth the game was put away by mistakes from the Canes. An error leading off the inning made things tough, then another 0-2 mistake allowed for a single to center. Jeremy Cook came in and did not have his control as he proceeded to walk two batters and hit another to allow two runs to score.

Game Three-
The series finale was a game that felt like an important game to the Canes season. Coming into this game Miami had lost nine of their last eleven games with the Gators and had a Baseball American writer indicating on Twitter that “there is no shame in losing to the Gators, but I think it goes far beyond a rebuild.” The same writer also indicated that, “Miami’s true freshmen have been overmatched by UF’s true freshmen.”

Enter Evan McKendry to make everything seem a bit better in the world. McKendry dazzled the reported 3,388 fans in attendance, not giving up his first hit until the fifth inning (a cringe-worthy play involving a pop-up landing directly on the mound in a tie game for a double.” Using an outside corner that was being called off the plate for both sides all day, McKendry consistently kept Gators hitters off-balance with a fastball in the low-90’s and a changeup that was a true swing-and-miss pitch. The sophomore righty is showing the makings of a true ace for this staff.

Key Plays-
In the second inning, the Gators’ leadoff hitter walked and stole second base. He then advanced to third on an aggressive base running play on a ground ball to shortstop. McKendry got the next Gator hitter to strike out on three pitches and then kept them off the scoreboard with a fly ball to right field.

In the third inning Miami missed a major opportunity. Zamora was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Escala followed with a ground ball single to left field on an 0-2 pitch. Fifth-year senior Michael Burns was sent up to bunt the runners over and was unable to get the bunt down, then struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. The Canes ended up not scoring in the inning and that inability to execute could’ve cost the Canes the game.

With two outs in the fifth, Escala doubled down the left field line and Bursn redeemed himself for his earlier mistake by getting double to score Escala and give the Canes the lead.

In the seventh, Cabezas ran into some self-inflicted trouble when he walked the bases loaded but was able to avoid damage by getting the Gator hitter to fly out.

In the seventh, Miami really did some things you want to see them do much more often. Escala battled for nine pitches before drawing a walk. This walk moved Zamora into scoring position and Burns made it count by driving a ground ball the other way for a single and RBI. If Miami can continue battling in key spots and drawing more walks and driving the ball the other way for hits in key situations, the pitching will help the Canes win a lot of games.

Series Statistics-
Batting Average on Balls in Play- A measure to indicate the batting average on balls that were in play by hitters (removes strikeouts and home runs and can help analyze luck and/or quality of contact).
Florida- .250
Miami- .282 (ACC average is .335)

wOBA- This uses linear weights to determine how each individual action contributes to scoring runs for that run environment.
Florida- .318
Miami- .277 (ACC average is .365)

BB% and K%- The percentage of walks or strikeouts per plate appearance for each team.
Florida- 11.9% walks, 20.3% strikeouts
Miami- 4.5% walks, 25.5% strikeouts
Freshmen hitters- Mainly, I wanted to check the stats for what the Baseball America writer indicated.
Florida- .000/.091/.000 batting line in 10 at bats for a .000 wOBA and two errors in the field.
Miami- .200/.304/.200 batting line in 40 at bats for a .275 wOBA and two errors in the field.
It is incredibly difficult to be a freshman hitter and compete at this level immediately.

Overall-
Miami made a lot of mistakes in this series and one area that Florida really made their mark was in their ability to take walks while Miami hitters were more aggressive at the plate and swung at pitches out of the strike zone in key situations. Florida had an 11.9% walk rate to Miami’s minuscule 4.5% rate. The key to winning baseball games is to get on-base and when you do make contact, make hard contact. The Florida Gators have a very good baseball team, and especially pitching staff, they will hold a lot of offenses down and with this many freshmen in the lineup, they were bound to struggle. As the season goes along there is a major opportunity to improve their run scoring chances by being less aggressive at the plate and taking more walks. Getting the win versus Florida on Sunday is an excellent springboard to the rest of the season and one that I am confident will be an excellent resume point when it comes tournament seeding time.
 

Comments (25)

Excellent analysis. Appreciate the work. I'm sure I won't be the only one on this board that says this but ... I'm not sure I agree with your assertion that these hitters need to be less aggressive at the plate. If there is one common theme on the baseball board (and by common "theme" I mean complaint), it is the approach at the plate. Other than JM being too old to drive himself to the park, let alone coach this team, the passive hitting approach is the most discussed thing on this board the last few years. Oh yeah, and the crappy base running, but I digress. Most people on here (myself included), have lost handfuls of hair (albeit pulling it out ourselves) as we watch these guys take pitch after pitch and then strike out with the bat on their shoulders. If there is a stat for striking out looking, I swear to God Miami has to lead ... by a lot. Maybe this series was different and I just didn't notice, but it feels like it's been that way forever.
What is your take on that? Are we all making more of that than really exists (crazy questions because I know Canes fans NEVER do that ... can you hear the laughter as I type that?) or is it just a recent trend that these freshman are finally putting to an end?
 
Excellent analysis. Appreciate the work. I'm sure I won't be the only one on this board that says this but ... I'm not sure I agree with your assertion that these hitters need to be less aggressive at the plate. If there is one common theme on the baseball board (and by common "theme" I mean complaint), it is the approach at the plate. Other than JM being too old to drive himself to the park, let alone coach this team, the passive hitting approach is the most discussed thing on this board the last few years. Oh yeah, and the crappy base running, but I digress. Most people on here (myself included), have lost handfuls of hair (albeit pulling it out ourselves) as we watch these guys take pitch after pitch and then strike out with the bat on their shoulders. If there is a stat for striking out looking, I swear to God Miami has to lead ... by a lot. Maybe this series was different and I just didn't notice, but it feels like it's been that way forever.
What is your take on that? Are we all making more of that than really exists (crazy questions because I know Canes fans NEVER do that ... can you hear the laughter as I type that?) or is it just a recent trend that these freshman are finally putting to an end?

What you're saying here is a good discussion piece. Taking called third strikes is not a case of being patient, that's just something you shouldn't do. I can include that number in my upcoming data post that talks about where the Canes are after one month into the season.

My point is the approach is lacking. The walk percentage of our team is dead last in the ACC. It is 7.4% and the next closest is 8.3% from Georgia Tech. Having that be the team that is next is a perfect thing for my point; they are also third in the ACC in OBP and first in wOBA. Some of that is because they have been fairly fortunate (.361 BABIP), but mostly because when they do swing the bat they are hitting the ball hard. You don't have to just stand there to walk, or to get on-base, but it's the approach that is such a problem.

Miami is last in BB percentage, last in OBP, 10th in slugging, 6th in BABIP. In all honesty, we've been a tad lucky with the bats given our overall hitting profile.

When I say more patient, I am referring to the 3-1 count where we swing at a ball just out of the strike zone and fly out or foul it off. Take that pitch! Get the walk! If you are ever going to be swinging the bat on a 2-0 or 3-1 count it had better be a pitch that is in the place you want it to be to hammer the ball. Right now, these kids are wanting to hit bombs and are pulling off of everything. How often do you see us put up a nine or ten pitch at-bat and make the pitcher continue to throw strikes with all of their pitches? It's rare. We need to be fouling off pitches just off the plate rather than pulling off of those pitches and swinging and missing.

There wasn't a major issue with us watching third strikes other than game three in the first inning, but that was because the ump was calling the ball 6" off the outside corner a strike. We pretty much adjusted after that first inning and swung at that pitch moving forward.
 
Welcome - good stuff. I think you and Hurricane 818 (as well as many others on this board, as he indicated) are saying some of the same things, i.e. we all want to see BETTER/SMARTER at bats - whether we characterize it as more aggressive, or a better approach, etc.

What's your take on the pitching thus far? Outside of McKendry, I have been mostly disappointed. Far too many walks and 3 ball counts, and except for Cabezas and McKendry, most of our guys don't have over-powering stuff to avoid 2 - 3 run innings after all the free passes and hitters counts. And is McMahon going to be back soon enough to help this year?
 
Nice write-up, but I disagree completely that the Canes hitters were too aggressive because of their high strike out rate. It is completely the opposite. This is a case where the stats can fool you.

The reason the strikeout rate is so high is because the Canes hitters were letting hittable pitches go by for strikes in early counts. Once behind with 2 strikes in the count, the hitters were either swinging at bad pitches trying to protect or letting borderline pitches go bye for called 3rd strikes. It is as though a majority of Miami hitters are takining a "leadoff man approach." That is to take a lot of pitches even if they're strikes to run the pitcher's count up hoping the pitcher is not accurate leaving them in favorable hitting counts. That approach is not working. Nor did it work last year. Whst were seeing is a hogh rate of called 3rd strikes especially with base runners in scoring position. That is completely unacceptable.

I agree it's going to take time for the freshman to adjust to college pitching. Most of the freshman looks overwhelmed hitting at times.

If you read any of my comments on Canes baseball, my opinion is that the hitters are not aggressive enough and don't have the right approach at the plate.

First of all, the hitters need to be more aggressive early in the count. Just about every team scouts Miami because nearly all their games are on tv. Every opposing team throws strikes early in the count because the know the Canes batters will NOT swing. That has to change.

Secondly, our hitters look to only hit fastballs rather than look for location. You saw most of the Florida pitchers throwing 1st pitch curve balls for strikes where the hitters are taking all the way. I feel like pulling my hair out watching these fat "lollipop" 1st pitch curve balls being thrown right over the middle of the plate. It is the easiest pitch to hit. It is nothing more than a batting practice fastball with a little curve to it. If you are looking location (middle of the plate-in), you will naturally adjust to the curve ball as you pick up the spin of the ball do your timing will match up. Instead most guys are looking or guessing fastball.

Lastly, with 2 strikes, our hitters have got to hit the ball to right field. A lot of guys are "pull" hitters that strike out on the outside pitch because their shoulder flys out pulling off the ball or they let it go hoping it's a ball because they can't reach the pitch. The exception was the Michael Burns 2 out, 2 strike hit to right field that was executed perfectly. He kept his shoulder and hips closed and drove the ball to the right sid to give tje Canes tje 2-0 lead on the Gators Sunday. Every hitter should look to hit the ball to the opposite field eith 2 strikes because 9/10 times the pitcher is going to throw a curverball or slider outside expanding the strike zone.

Please check out my hitting comments in the Wizards Den where I explain my hitting approach and drills hitters can do to improve.

It's early. The freshman will get better at the plate as the season goes on. Hopefully, all the Canes hitters will improve their approach at the plate moving forward.

A great win on Sunday. Hopefully, that will give confidence and momentum to the team.

G9 CANES!!!
 
What's everyone's take on Romy Gonzalez? Everyone talks about him as if he is so good but imo he is extremely over rated
 
What you're saying here is a good discussion piece. Taking called third strikes is not a case of being patient, that's just something you shouldn't do. I can include that number in my upcoming data post that talks about where the Canes are after one month into the season.

My point is the approach is lacking. The walk percentage of our team is dead last in the ACC. It is 7.4% and the next closest is 8.3% from Georgia Tech. Having that be the team that is next is a perfect thing for my point; they are also third in the ACC in OBP and first in wOBA. Some of that is because they have been fairly fortunate (.361 BABIP), but mostly because when they do swing the bat they are hitting the ball hard. You don't have to just stand there to walk, or to get on-base, but it's the approach that is such a problem.

Miami is last in BB percentage, last in OBP, 10th in slugging, 6th in BABIP. In all honesty, we've been a tad lucky with the bats given our overall hitting profile.

When I say more patient, I am referring to the 3-1 count where we swing at a ball just out of the strike zone and fly out or foul it off. Take that pitch! Get the walk! If you are ever going to be swinging the bat on a 2-0 or 3-1 count it had better be a pitch that is in the place you want it to be to hammer the ball. Right now, these kids are wanting to hit bombs and are pulling off of everything. How often do you see us put up a nine or ten pitch at-bat and make the pitcher continue to throw strikes with all of their pitches? It's rare. We need to be fouling off pitches just off the plate rather than pulling off of those pitches and swinging and missing.

There wasn't a major issue with us watching third strikes other than game three in the first inning, but that was because the ump was calling the ball 6" off the outside corner a strike. We pretty much adjusted after that first inning and swung at that pitch moving forward.

I disagree. Not swinging on 2-0, 2-1, and 3-1, has been a problem since the 1st game of the season and last year.

First of all, the hitters are rarely getting to those favorable counts because all the opposing team's have scouted the Canes and know they don't swing at the 1st pitch. The opposing pitchers are throwing strikes early. Most of the hitters are acting like they're the the leadoff hitter in the first inning. They are taking way too many pitches. The game commentators say that and that's what I see.

It seems as though they are being tought that way because I saw the same thing all year last year. They are trying to work the pichter to get to favorable hitters counts. That is not working against elite pitching. There is elite pitching on most of the ACC teams and they have scouted the Canes philosophy.

Too many guys not swinging with 2 strikes on borderline pitches. Especially with runners in scoring position. Unacceptable!!!
 
What's everyone's take on Romy Gonzalez? Everyone talks about him as if he is so good but imo he is extremely over rated

I think he's a good player, but this far it doesn't look like he's made any improvements as a hitter from his Sophomore to Junior season the way he improved from his Freshman to Sophmore year. I don't know if he's trying too hard because it's his junior and he wants to be drafted.

I wish guys wouldn't put pressure on themselves to be drafted high their junior year. Just play the game and let the chips fall where they may. If you perform well enough, you'll be drafted as a junior. Otherwise, you have your senior year. Look at JJ Swartz. He got drafted last year and wasn't happy with his draft position so he came back for his senior year. I wish more guys have that mindset. Especially, in football. Although football player have to declare first, but there's this mentality that they're supposed to leave after their junior year.

Right now, I don't wsee To my being drafted high enough to leave after this season, if at all.
 
I disagree. Not swinging on 2-0, 2-1, and 3-1, has been a problem since the 1st game of the season and last year.

First of all, the hitters are rarely getting to those favorable counts because all the opposing team's have scouted the Canes and know they don't swing at the 1st pitch. The opposing pitchers are throwing strikes early. Most of the hitters are acting like they're the the leadoff hitter in the first inning. They are taking way too many pitches. The game commentators say that and that's what I see.

It seems as though they are being tought that way because I saw the same thing all year last year. They are trying to work the pichter to get to favorable hitters counts. That is not working against elite pitching. There is elite pitching on most of the ACC teams and they have scouted the Canes philosophy.

Too many guys not swinging with 2 strikes on borderline pitches. Especially with runners in scoring position. Unacceptable!!!

I appreciate the counter perspective. Allow me to respond:

You want hitters swinging at balls out of the strike zone in favorable hitting counts? At first glance that seems counterproductive to scoring runs.

What I wrote was if you're going to swing the bat in those counts it needs to be a ball in a hitting zone that you can hit really hard. Otherwise you are giving away your advantage.

I have the data as far as first pitch swings go and Miami swung the bat 24 times on the first pitch of an at-bat, while Florida only swung the bat 21 times. This is with Florida having more at bats in the series as well. Here are the results of those swings:

Florida- 21 swings, 3-13 on balls in play, 1 foul ball, 7 swings and misses.

Miami- 24 swings, 2-7 on balls in play, 10 foul balls, 7 swings and misses.

In this case, the data (in a small sample) seems to support the notion that they are not hitting the ball hard when they are swinging at pitches in the zone. Miami fouled off an obscene 10 pitches, while Florida only fouled off one and put 13 of the 21 swings in play (62%), while Miami only put 29% in play.

Florida fouled off 4.8% of their swings while Miami fouled off 42% of their swings.

First pitch swinging is fine...as long as you hit the ball hard when you do decide to swing.
 
It's easy to say be more patient and draw walks, but Florida's pitching staff isn't going to show up and walk people. On Friday night, Florida's pitching went to a 3-ball count exactly three times all night. They walked one batter, and that came with two outs and no one on in the bottom of the ninth.

When you're facing draft picks, you have to look for your pitch early. Yeah, it would be nice if our guys would hit that pitch hard early in the count, but it would be suicide to sit back and let UF's pitchers dictate the at bat.
 
It's easy to say be more patient and draw walks, but Florida's pitching staff isn't going to show up and walk people. On Friday night, Florida's pitching went to a 3-ball count exactly three times all night. They walked one batter, and that came with two outs and no one on in the bottom of the ninth.

When you're facing draft picks, you have to look for your pitch early. Yeah, it would be nice if our guys would hit that pitch hard early in the count, but it would be suicide to sit back and let UF's pitchers dictate the at bat.
This - and this has been the problem. Just like Diaz's D makes QBs like Kurt Benkert look like Tom Brady, our batters can make run of the mill collegiate pitching look like front line MLB starters. Why? Because we don't attack the best pitches to hit for the sake of trying to be patient and wait for the pitcher to make mistakes.

Flip it around the other way...if you're pitching against our guys, and you know that they're not going to hit a fastball down the middle on 3-0 or 3-1, or even earlier in the count when you've fallen behind 1-0 or 2-0...you are going to throw that pitch with confidence and get it over. Then the AB turns in your favor because all of your pitches are back on the table to work with around the zone. It is nobody's fault but the hitter's if they decide to stare down a fastball over the heart of the plate...regardless of the count.

If/when our guys start jumping onto those pitches, then we'll have some more success. At that point, it's just a matter of putting a good swing on the ball and hitting it where they ain't. Bad luck with line drives right at somebody are OK - the law of averages will work out and we'll put one up the line or in a gap eventually. Good swings on pitches that the pitcher doesn't want you to go after...that's the goal.
 
It's obvious that I have a lot of work to do here. At this point, I am not sure if we are ignoring the data or if have some people simply have their minds made up already.

The first concern is that we need to swing more. I showed that we actually swung at first pitches more often than our opponent. I've indicated that we are fouling first pitches at an obscene rate. The belief is that we still need to swing more.

The next concern talks about hitting into bad luck, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Our BABIP is just fine. A little low, but you'd expect that with weaker contact against great clubs.

Now I'll show data for the next concern regarding the counts our hitters are seeing and choosing to swing at. Once again the data shows that we were once again more aggressive than our opponent.

2-0 Counts:
Florida- 2 swings, 0-2 on those swings, so they put the ball in play each time they swung
Miami- 4 swings, 0-2 on those swings, 1 foul. 1 swing and miss

2-1 Counts:
Florida- 6 swings, 1-2 on those swings, 2 fouls, 2 misses (33% balls in play)
Miami- 10 swings, 1-2 on those swings, 6 fouls, 2 misses (20% balls in play)

3-0 Count:
Florida- 0 swings
Miami- 1 swing, it was a swing and miss (0% balls in play)

3-1 Count:
Florida- 9 swings, 0-2 on those swings, 3 fouls, 4 misses (0% balls in play)
Miami- 1 swing, it was a foul (0% balls in play)

Why did Florida get the chance to swing the bat in such a hitters count as 3-1? Because they didn't swing nearly as often early in the count as Miami did. Miami was swinging away in earlier counts, but the problem is they were not putting the ball in play. Swinging 15 times on 2-0, 2-1, 3-0 counts and putting the ball in play 4 times is a very bad percentage.

Once again the data shows that the problem is not that the hitters are being too passive. The problem is when they are deciding to swing, they are not hitting the ball hard. The most likely reason is that they're swinging at pitches in those counts they should not be, while a secondary reason is that they could be overmatched by the pitches they are swinging at (which often results in pitches being fouled off).

I'm enjoying the discussion, let's continue to hear concerns and beliefs as to the problems at the plate and we can continue to analyze.
 
While I'm not an anti-sabermetrics guy, that post is a great example of how people over-rely on "data" without context.

It's obvious that I have a lot of work to do here. At this point, I am not sure if we are ignoring the data or if have some people simply have their minds made up already.

I think the first step might be to lose the idea that you have it figured out and that it's going to take work to convince the rest of us. You're not talking to marginal fans here. People here know our baseball.

The first concern is that we need to swing more. I showed that we actually swung at first pitches more often than our opponent. I've indicated that we are fouling first pitches at an obscene rate. The belief is that we still need to swing more.

We were facing probably the best rotation in college baseball. Of course we're not going to square it up against those guys on a consistent basis. If a bunch of freshmen could barrel them up, they wouldn't be pitching at Florida. The idea that we need to be more patient and watch Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar pound the zone is, I'm sorry, quite absurd. Those guys know we can't hit. You think they're going to screw around and go deep in counts?

Why did Florida get the chance to swing the bat in such a hitters count as 3-1? Because they didn't swing nearly as often early in the count as Miami did.

No, Florida's hitters were able to run the count to 3-1 because our pitchers aren't very good. If Miami's hitters swung less in early counts, we would have struck out 15 times per game while draft picks filled it up.

Miami was swinging away in earlier counts, but the problem is they were not putting the ball in play. Swinging 15 times on 2-0, 2-1, 3-0 counts and putting the ball in play 4 times is a very bad percentage.

Which is a completely different argument. Those are hitters counts. Hitters pray for those counts. Telling them to "be patient" just gives the opponent a free chance to get back into the count. We want to swing in those counts. We're fouling them off because we're not very good.

Once again the data shows that the problem is not that the hitters are being too passive. The problem is when they are deciding to swing, they are not hitting the ball hard.

Those are two completely different things. Can't make that comparison. We need to be more aggressive AND make better contact when we swing.
 
While I'm not an anti-sabermetrics guy, that post is a great example of how people over-rely on "data" without context.



I think the first step might be to lose the idea that you have it figured out and that it's going to take work to convince the rest of us. You're not talking to marginal fans here. People here know our baseball.



We were facing probably the best rotation in college baseball. Of course we're not going to square it up against those guys on a consistent basis. If a bunch of freshmen could barrel them up, they wouldn't be pitching at Florida. The idea that we need to be more patient and watch Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar pound the zone is, I'm sorry, quite absurd. Those guys know we can't hit. You think they're going to screw around and go deep in counts?



No, Florida's hitters were able to run the count to 3-1 because our pitchers aren't very good. If Miami's hitters swung less in early counts, we would have struck out 15 times per game while draft picks filled it up.



Which is a completely different argument. Those are hitters counts. Hitters pray for those counts. Telling them to "be patient" just gives the opponent a free chance to get back into the count. We want to swing in those counts. We're fouling them off because we're not very good.



Those are two completely different things. Can't make that comparison. We need to be more aggressive AND make better contact when we swing.

The evidence has been presented. You do with it what you will.

Just keep in mind, the data supports the things I'm saying. Not just in our series, but across baseball, period.

What you're really saying, more than anything, is you want better hitters at Miami. What I'm presenting is the way to make them the best versions of themselves possible. If you disagree, we will agree to disagree. Just don't be upset if I present tangible evidence to dispute the things you're saying, while all that you have presented is "they're good, of course what we did didn't work."
 
I appreciate the counter perspective. Allow me to respond:

You want hitters swinging at balls out of the strike zone in favorable hitting counts? At first glance that seems counterproductive to scoring runs.

What I wrote was if you're going to swing the bat in those counts it needs to be a ball in a hitting zone that you can hit really hard. Otherwise you are giving away your advantage.

I have the data as far as first pitch swings go and Miami swung the bat 24 times on the first pitch of an at-bat, while Florida only swung the bat 21 times. This is with Florida having more at bats in the series as well. Here are the results of those swings:

Florida- 21 swings, 3-13 on balls in play, 1 foul ball, 7 swings and misses.

Miami- 24 swings, 2-7 on balls in play, 10 foul balls, 7 swings and misses.

In this case, the data (in a small sample) seems to support the notion that they are not hitting the ball hard when they are swinging at pitches in the zone. Miami fouled off an obscene 10 pitches, while Florida only fouled off one and put 13 of the 21 swings in play (62%), while Miami only put 29% in play.

Florida fouled off 4.8% of their swings while Miami fouled off 42% of their swings.

First pitch swinging is fine...as long as you hit the ball hard when you do decide to swing.

First of all, I never said I wanted hitters swing smart balls out of the strike zone. I said they need to swing at the borderline pitches when they have 2 strikes (ie. protect the plate).

Secondly, your swing stats are anadodle. Florida wasn't swinging early in the counts because the pitches were so so far out of the strike zone that they were easy takes.

Thirdly, those hitting count stats won't tell you what pitches the hitters were swinging at and/or the quality of the pitches. What we could clearly see with our own eyes was that Florida pitchers had better command of their pitches in al 2/3 games. Miami's pitching was spotty in games 1 and 2 before Evan McKendry pitched that 6 inning game 3 gem followed by a solid perofemance from Andrew Cabezas.

As I have stated in my other comments, I think the Hurricanes hitters are putting themselves in bad hitting positions by taking early in the count. Then with 2 strikes, they are forced to expand the strike zone or get caught looking at strike 3.

You have to look at how opposing teams are pitching to Miami. The are throwing strikes early in the count. You are not going to get better pitches to hit in 0-2, 1-2, vs 1-0, 2-0, and 3-1 counts. When pitcher's are throwing early count strikes, it more difficult to get into favorable hitting counts. So, swing at early strikes!!!
 
The are throwing strikes early in the count. You are not going to get better pitches to hit in 0-2, 1-2, vs 1-0, 2-0, and 3-1 counts. When pitcher's are throwing early count strikes, it more difficult to get into favorable hitting counts. So, swing at early strikes!!!

Miami did exactly this. I have shown you the evidence. First pitch, more swings. Slightly ahead in the count, more swings.

The problem- as I've written multiple times now- is that they did not make hard contact when they did swing. If you're going to swing, you need to make hard contact. If a pitch is on the black, you should not be swinging unless you have to (I have no idea where you got this idea that they should not be swinging at strikes when they have two strikes on them, that was never written. The problem is they are swinging at pitches that are out of the strike zone when they have two strikes).

I truly enjoy engaging with commenters on my articles, but when you make a comment, then the exact situations you commented on (not me) are presented to you and the results are not what you expected, how is that to be taken?
 
The evidence has been presented. You do with it what you will.

Just keep in mind, the data supports the things I'm saying. Not just in our series, but across baseball, period.

What you're really saying, more than anything, is you want better hitters at Miami. What I'm presenting is the way to make them the best versions of themselves possible. If you disagree, we will agree to disagree. Just don't be upset if I present tangible evidence to dispute the things you're saying, while all that you have presented is "they're good, of course what we did didn't work."

It's not "evidence". If anything, it shows a misunderstanding of the evidence. You're trying really hard to be a sabermetrician, but your writing shows that you don't really understand what you're looking at.

The dead giveaway is that you're trying to apply what is happening "across baseball" to a three-game series in which we were woefully overmatched. Another dead giveaway is how badly you mangled the 3-1 comparison. Your theory is that if we would just stop swinging so much, Florida would walk us more. Again, I'm sorry to be that guy, but that's an embarrassing theory to put in writing.

You think you're providing "tangible evidence", but you couldn't even finish your previous post with a valid baseball comparison. And yes, we absolutely need better hitters at Miami. Telling mediocre hitters to take more pitches so that Brady Singer can throw whatever he wants at the end of a count is somehow worse than what we've seen on the field.
 
Miami did exactly this. I have shown you the evidence. First pitch, more swings. Slightly ahead in the count, more swings.

You are comparing hitters who faced completely different pitches from completely different pitchers. It's about as bad of a logical fallacy as you could come up with.

The problem- as I've written multiple times now- is that they did not make hard contact when they did swing. If you're going to swing, you need to make hard contact.

Then why does it matter if we swung at 2-1 pitches? You're arguing with yourself. If they are good pitches (which they are), then not barreling them up means we aren't very good at hitting. If we take those pitches, the count becomes 2-2.

If a pitch is on the black, you should not be swinging unless you have to

Great, we're watching strike two go by so that Jackson Kowar is in complete control of the at bat.

(I have no idea where you got this idea that they should not be swinging at strikes when they have two strikes on them, that was never written. The problem is they are swinging at pitches that are out of the strike zone when they have two strikes).

That's about the third different problem you've identified as being "the problem".

I truly enjoy engaging with commenters on my articles, but when you make a comment, then the exact situations you commented on (not me) are presented to you and the results are not what you expected, how is that to be taken?

He hasn't contradicted himself one time.
 
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