Reviewing Willy Ding Dongs and Yunel Escobar

Continuing into the final part of this series we’re going to look at the dynamic rookie season of Wil Myers and imported shortstop Yunel Escobar. You can find the entire team and Ben Zobrist HERE, Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria HERE, and Matt Joyce and James Loney HERE. Let’s start off with The Future:

Overall, Myers was a better hitter against righties in 2013 seeing more strikes and swinging slightly more. That isn’t to say he was a slug against lefties because other than the breaking ball he hit well above average against them. He rarely saw the change up, but when he did he was hyper aggressive seeing very good results, while the fastball was his weakest pitch. I’m surprised to see how well he handled the same-handed breaking ball taking balls and hitting strikes. Let’s take a look at each pitch starting with the breaking ball from lefties:

Wil was never above average against the pitch and started off the season swinging about as often as he was seeing a pitch in the zone. He became a little more patient as the year went on seeing a slight increase in success, but still not getting above average at any point. On to the change up:

He didn’t see a ton of this pitch, but he was above-average the entirety of the season up until the last 10-20 pitches. He swung more often than he saw strikes, but his aggressiveness was rewarded with some success. It’s hard to see this as sustainable, but at least in 2013 it worked. Here’s the fastball:

Starting with the swing rate it’s really interesting to see how he took more and more pitches as the season went on until a spike towards the end of the season. Whether taking or swinging he still mashed this pitch with Run Values well above-average, for several prolonged stretches after making the adjustment to not swing so much. There was a stretch in the middle where he was below average as pitchers feasted in the strike zone with the knowledge that Wil was being very selective. As he re-adjusted to this mindset he was back to clubbing the pitch. Let’s shift gears and look at the right-handed breaking ball:

He saw some success in the first and third sections of the season, while being a little below average in the middle. His success seemed to come when he was being a little more selective, though after the first third he didn’t show wide gaps between strikes and swings. His ability to handle the secondary pitch from same-handers bodes very well for the future, because it takes a major weapon away from pitchers. They rarely throw the change so we’ll skip over that and move on to the fastball:

Overall, he was above-average against the fastball, but you can see stretches where he struggled mixed in with periods of sustained success. Like all batters Myers struggled at times with all of the pitches offered, but his approach and ability to adjust on the fly to what pitchers are trying to do allowed him to dig out of his holes relatively quickly and should allow him to have even more success going forward. Let’s flip over to Yunel Escobar:

Against lefties, Yunel was basically an average hitter, overall, with much of his success coming against the breaking ball via a patient approach and doing damage when pitchers got to zone-happy. The change up baffled him as he saw a ton of strikes and became over-aggressive. Righties had more success with all three pitches, but especially the breaking ball. While they didn’t throw the change a whole lot, as we’ve seen with nearly all righty-righty matchups, they didn’t really need to get cute because of their success with the two-pitch approach. Let’s start with the good:

Nearly the entire season saw him above-average against the southpaw breaking ball with a very wide gap between strikes and swings. As he got more aggressive towards the end of the year, however, he did start to show some of his worst run values. How about the change:

Here we see the opposite side of the coin as he was nearly always below average. He did exercise more patience as the year went on, though when pitchers came in the zone more it really hurt him. This is a pitch that he struggles with, though not egregiously. Let’s check out the fastball:

The middle of the season showcased his most success with a couple of very weak dips to close out the year and near the beginning of the season. For the most part, we see very tight gaps between swings and strikes which allows us to infer that he’s up there hunting fastballs and looking to damage when he gets one. As a shortstop the bar is pretty low for success, but Yunel had stretches where he made it very difficult for pitchers to get by with their number one offering making him a very tough out. He didn’t have nearly the success against righties so let’s start off with the breaking ball:

There was one solid, sustained peak later in the season, but he was generally below-average against the pitch and quite a bit below the average for stretches. He does seem to show a willingness to take the pitch so while he might be thought of as an aggressive hitter he does show selectivity on anything with a wrinkle, to an extent. How about the heater:

Somewhat surprisingly we see that he struggled with the fastball for long stretches throughout the year. He did show some success at times, but the failures stand out much more especially with how deep some of those troughs extend and how long they stayed down. Again, the bar is pretty low for a shortstop so it’s encouraging to see him have success against lefties, and it’s probably asking a lot to see that extended against righties. With only fringe alternate options available to play the position, and with his incredible defense in tow, it is unlikely that he will see more time off against the very tough righties, but it should be up for discussion.




About Jason Hanselman

Rays fan.
This entry was posted in 2014 Offseason, Batter Analysis. Bookmark the permalink.

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