Hidden Vigorish

Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

Why Did Pedro Not Bust Out Offensively?

It might not look like it, but Pedro Alvarez really did become a better hitter in 2014. He made huge strides in his plate discipline. Pedro took more walks and cut down on his strikeouts. He posted a career best 10.1 BB% and 25.4 K%. So why didn’t these improvements result in Pedro having a career year? The answer lies mostly with a decrease in his home run per fly ball rate. After two straight seasons of having an HR/FB rate over 25%, Pedro’s HR/FB dropped to 16.2% in 2014. Had he maintained an HR/FB rate of 25% he would have blasted 10 more home runs this season. What is interesting about Pedro’s dip in home run rate is that it came entirely from balls he pulled. His HR/FB on balls hit to CF and LF actually increased. In fact, they were the highest rates of his career. But fly balls that he pulled only left the yard 22.7% of the time this season. That was down from 66.7% in 2013 and 70.8% in 2012. In his career over 52.2% of the fly balls he has pulled have gone for home runs. So what we have is a player that had better plate discipline this season and got more out of the balls he hit to the opposite field, but couldn’t yank a ball into the right field seats. That just seems like an anomaly that is bound to correct itself. If Pedro’s improved plate discipline can hold next season that offensive explosion could still happen.

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