Obviously O-Swing% isn’t the end all, be all when it comes to an ability to hit for a strong average. That said, it’s fair to question someone who chases an excessive number of pitches outside the strike zone. Can they possibly make consistently hard contact? Can their aggressiveness lead towards significant strikeout totals? Does it take them out of the running for a strong average? Let’s take a look at the qualified hitters who were among the Top 10 last season and take a look:
1. Adam Jones – 44.8% 2. Salvador Perez – 44.2% 3. Corey Dickerson – 44.0% 4. Jonathan Schoop – 43.0% 5. Yasmany Tomas – 42.4% 6. Rougned Odor – 41.8% 7. Brandon Phillips – 41.7% 8. Matt Kemp – 40.7% 9. Freddy Galvis – 40.4% 10. Did Gregorius – 40.1%
We recently posted our 2017 projection for Rougned Odor, who is obviously going to be a hot name come draft day (click here to view it). This number is one of the key reasons why we are skeptical, though, as you would think opposing pitchers are going to start using his aggressiveness against him with a steady diet of offspeed pitches and breaking balls. Can he make the adjustment? How much will his power suffer (as we noted in the projection, the bulk of his power came against fourseam fastballs and other fastball variations)? They are questions that are going to have to be answered quickly.
Salvador Perez’ approach at the plate has always been an issue, as he’s now posted an O-Swing% of 42.5% or higher for three straight seasons. Of course there were added concerns last season as it appeared he began selling out for more power (47.1% fly ball rate, 11.5% SwStr%), and with his propensity to chase pitches the once promising average is a significant concern. He hit .247 last season and without speed his upside may no longer be much higher than that.
The concerns hovering over Corey Dickerson entering the season were centered around taking him out of Coors Field. Of course there was also the risk of strikeouts, and with this O-Swing% (41.7% in ’15) and a 14.9% SwStr% (13.1% in ’15), he did little to ease concerns in that regard. Throw in the fact that he was clearly trying to continue to hit for power (45.0% fly ball rate), coming at the expense of line drives (17.5%) and it’s no surprise he hit just .245. Unless something changes, there also is little reason to think that an improvement is coming.
The power of Jonathan Schoop helps him to not destroy your average (he hit .267 last season). That said, his approach leaves a lot to be desired (16.2% SwStr%) and without an adjustment his strikeout rate will rise (21.2% last season) and the average will plummet. Keep that in mind, as he quickly could be a power only option.
We’ve taken in-depth looks at Freddy Galvis (click here to view) and Did Gregorius (click here to view), so make sure to check those out.
Source – Fangraphs
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