Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Matt Kemp and the dangers of painting the outside corner

This is Matt Kemp's spray chart. This is also absolutely unbelievable. By my un-precise count done basically by looking at the chart and counting the dots, Matt Kemp has 14 hits to the opposite field, right field in this case, and eight of those hits ended up over the fence. It seems like this leaves pitchers with two options: throw the ball inside and risk him turning on it or throw it outside, letting him wait and crank it out anyways. His PITCHf/x chart for takes from Texasleaguers.com shows that pitchers are going with the latter option, and he's making them pay. While this spray chart actually provides an illustration of the objective of that strategy - making Kemp pull grounders to the left side of the infield - it also shows that when Kemp stays back on the ball, the results are invariably catastrophic. Clearly, the man's seeing the ball incredibly well, so if he can make adjustments to pitching strategies such as this, he could put together a truly historical season.

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