Monday, June 15, 2009

S’up With J.J.?

While it’s never good to fall into an 0-28 slump, doesn’t J.J. Hardy do this basically every year? He’s always been streaky, and tends to have incredible hot streaks and terrible cold streaks as a matter of course.

A quick look at some of J.J.’s numbers makes luck seem like a potential contributor. His line drive rate is about the same as last year, and his BABIP should be about 50 points higher. This is driving his average down into Mendoza territory. His walks and strikeout are in line with historical norms (at least by my eyeball test). He will probably recover.

There’s some “strangeness,” for lack of a better term, in the numbers as well. Hardy’s groundball rate has dropped a bit from last year (though it’s still within historical norms), but his flyball data is simply odd. First, his home run percentage on flyballs is way down, from 14% last year to only 7% this year (Hardy is normally in the 12-14% range) but ironically, his infield fly percentage is way down as well, from between 14-16% to 9%. By the numbers, it looks like Hardy is consistently flying out to the outfield. That’s weird.
When I see a guy in a slump, I expect more strikeouts or fewer walks, more groundballs, etc. I do not expect him to be getting consistent loft into the outfield.

I’d be inclined to continue letting Hardy hit through this. It really does look like he’s been either unlucky, or just barely missing. Perhaps I’m missing something (and if I am, let me know), but my diagnosis on this is “normal J.J. Hardy.”


tracker said...

I'd sit him for a couple games. I think he has some durability issues and is subject to fatigue-type "injuries". His past slumps have often been reversed when followed by a couple days off.

E.S.K. said...

Hitting 8th today.

Eric said...

5 At Bats, 1 Hit, 1 Run.