A little over 2 yrs ago, shortly before I joined FanGraphs, Yoenis Cespedes faced Tyler Robertson, who's a pitcher, and got ahead in the count Emmett Cleary Jersey 3-and-0. There is no more favorable count than 3-and-0, which meant Cespedes was at the position of power, and then he went and completed what for my money is probably the most memorable plate appearances in recent baseball history. Memorable to me, if to nobody.
3-and-0, awful whiff, awful whiff, awful whiff. I found out afterwards that areas of the Oakland organization were just as amazed as I was. Each individual pitch is somewhat understandable, but when you put everything together, its incredible, and it all began using the 3-and-0 chase.
You understand what 3-and-0 means. You know what a green light is, and you have opinions on its strategic legitimacy. Teams are careful with their green lights, more often than not, as well as in to OK a 3-and-0 swing, you have to have faith the hitter will easily notice a good pitch to hit from the bad pitch to hit. You certainly have to have faith the hitter will easily notice a strike from a ball, because theres never a good reason to swing at a 3-and-0 pitch out of the zone. You want the walk. You always want the walk. This is among those rare cases where we can actually declare something right or wrong: it's wrong to swing at a 3-and-0 pitch from the zone. It is wrong to swing at any 3-and-0 pitch you cant hit hard, but it is especially wrong to chase. Hitters do get fooled, and thats understandable, however that doesnt mean they werent wrong. It simply means players are wrong sometimes.
So lets watch hitters be wrong. Now that the standard seasons officially over, you need to prepare yourself for a run of MostOf The Season posts. In here, the most wild swings in 3-and-0 counts, five of them in all. They are five cases of hitters being fooled when theyre supposed to be completely locked in on only the pitch they want to see, so jeers towards the hitters in these specific instances, and also cheers towards the pitchers for managing to befuddle them regardle s of the lopsided circumstances. A wild 3-and-0 swing requires a village. Youll observe that they are pretty good hitters. Swinging wildly a few of the time doesnt cause you to a bad hitter. Swinging wildly many of the time makes you a bad hitter. Swinging wildly many of the time enables you to Henderson Alvarez?
5Batter: Nolan ReimoldDate: September 1Location: 21.5 inches from center of zoneIll give Reimold this much: he was obviously attempting to unload on your ball. He was looking fastball, and that he was swinging fastball, and when he had gotten the fastball that he expected, the Diamondbacks wouldve taken charge. Somewhere on the way Im sure Reimold realized he wasnt actually getting the fastball of his dreams, but something within Reimolds brain prevented him from doing that weird mid-swing adjustment that causes individuals Julian Talley Jersey to alter their swing paths and make lousy contact sometimes. So while Reimold mi sed the baseball by a mile, thats a lot better than softly tapping the ball somewhere, because at least by doing this it leaves Reimold ahead 3-and-1 and that he gets to keep feeling like a man afterward. He took a shot. What did he have to lose? Hes Nolan Reimold, on the 2014 Diamondbacks.
Tyson Ro s threw 38 3-and-0 pitches. Four were sliders. Batters swung at three of those 3-and-0 pitches, and something lucky devil knocked a Ryan Nassib Jersey heater out of the yard. One flew out, and one was Nolan Reimold.
4Batter: Mike NapoliDate: August 24Location: 23.9 inches from center of zoneNapoli, like Reimold, was looking fastball. Each one of these guys were looking fastball. Thats the whole thing about swinging 3-and-0. That much is okay, and Napoli didnt get a fastball, so he mi sed a running cutter. But, what kind of fastball was he looking for? Mike Zunino wasnt even setup on the plate. The pitch that Danny Farquhar threw, whether it hadnt have been a cutter, wouldve been a fastball low and away. Napolis sweet spot has tended to be elevated, and much more round the middle. Hes even demonstrated an ability to show on the pitch high and tight. I recieve the pitch type that Napoli wanted, but I dont obtain the location, and maybe it had been the shadows, and it was po sibly the shadows. Do you know about the severe shadows? Offense is down due to increasing shadows. Something about carbon dioxide within the atmosphere. We did this to baseball. Big busine s did this to baseball, but we enabled it.
3Batter: George SpringerDate: July 4Location: 24.4 inches from center of zoneDid you will know, earlier this season, George Springer was 20 runs much better than average against fastballs, and eight runs worse than average against anything else? I bet you did not realize that, specifically, but I bet you probably did know that, basically. Heres just a little peek into how you can run a 61% contact rate and still be a reasonably productive hitter at the end of the day. Time your craziest swings when ever mi sing with them will hurt minimal. Springer mi sed this pitch with a foot, however he immediately drew a stroll anyway, so, who really cares, right? His getting hurt allowed us to forget about how fascinating he is, but come 2015, Springer will fascinate again.
2Batter: Hunter PenceDate: June 10Location: 26.0 inches from center of zoneThe .gif makes it seem justifiable, doesnt it? And thus will the Brad Wing Jersey screenshot. It looks like Pence were built with a shot here to yank an internal fastball in to the left-field seats. But, see how the ball was really in his own box? Based on PITCHf/x, this pitch was more than two feet inside from the center of the plate. The edge from the strike zone is all about three-quarters of one foot inside from the center of the plate. Doug Fister threw a two-seamer that didnt stop running in, and Pence couldnt do anything but get the slightest piece of the ball and check out again. I dont know what he thinks a Doug Fister fastball appears like. Thats the things they're doing. Pence got what he wanted, but for the part where doing anything with the pitch wouldve been genuinely impo sible.
The context causes it to be all the better:
No thanks, said Pence towards the first close pitch. No thanks, said Pence to the second close pitch. No thanks, said Pence to the third close pitch. Hell yeah! said Pence to the fourth pitch, way in. As well as for his efforts he was rewarded with a pitch literally all the way down the middle. Hunter Pence flailed, and Hunter Pence reached.
1Batter: Marcell OzunaDate: August 6Location: 29.2 " from center of zoneOzunas whole game is turn on the interior half, and hes efficient at destroying the low pitch, so when this thing left Jeff Lockes hand, his eyes illuminated, like he was getting precisely what he wanted. He swung like he was getting exactly what he wanted, and that he followed through like he had gotten exactly what he wanted. But what they got was another thing, and as Ozuna walks in to the opposite batters box, you get the sense he doesnt quite understand what kind of sorcery Locke had just stopped. The pitch Ozuna wanted just vanished. It had to be magic.
So Locke figured hed double down on the cruelty:
Marcell Ozuna was well worth the same WAR Paul Perkins Jersey this year as Jacoby Ellsbury, and he had the same wRC+ as Adam Jones and Christian Yelich. You cant be a good hitter by swinging hard with no clue. But if you swing with enough contentration, you dont need all the clue to be there, and Ozunas probably the most entertaining and electric outfielders you pretty much never think about.
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