Knowledge Drop June 19, 2018 – Jacob deGrom Edition* (#37)
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*Happy Birthday to Mr. deGrom, who turns 30 today. Yes, 30. Which is why the Mets should trade him (the MLB ERA leader) and not Syndergaard, who is much younger. Get your haul for the older guy, Wilpons. But we digress. Happy Birthday Jacob deGrom!
TOP KNOWLEDGE — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
Marcell Ozuna is Having a Month (Finally)
Early this month we wrote about Marcel Ozuna “we see small things that indicate he will bust out of this slump any day now.” (We also told you that Nick Pivetta was a stud and Nicholas Castellanos would see his average decrease and power increase, but those are for another column.)
We like being right. But instead of crowing (more) about our prediction, let’s dive right into the data:
You could say Ozuna is having a good June. Of all the numbers above, the 180-degree shift in ground ball/fly ball distribution are the one that pop out to us. Very early in the season, we speculated on possible injury for Ozuna (and we stand by that). This sea change in lifting the ball, we believe, adds credence to the idea that Ozuna had at least a minor nagging injury. But, more strikingly, he is a career 47 percent ground ball/37 percent fly ball hitter, so we’re intrigued by this flip, and we’ll be curious to see if he can maintain it.
Let’s see the GB/FB rates visually, along with a couple of other elements:
Look at how the numbers shift on a dime in early June – look at the dark blue line of Swing percentage. Ozuna became more aggressive beginning on June 3 (the day of our column, but we don’t take all the credit). That’s when everything changed.
In our earlier column we commented that Ozuna has been swinging at pitches out of the zone more frequently – something we generally frown upon. However, knowing those numbers include pitches that are a millimeter off the plate as well as those in the dirt, we can’t always say a hitter is choosing terrible pitches at which to swing. And if a hitter is hot, the o-swing percentage is not as big an issue.
It’s rare to see a hitter thriving while making less contact than before. But, a dive on the O-contact percentage is driving the overall contact rate drop.
Marcell Ozuna is a different kind of hitter, we’ve seen this season and throughout his breakout. He’s a predominantly ground ball hitter who has made the most of his fly balls in the last couple of seasons. If this “new” fly ball rate holds, we like him to have a monster second half, but we think he will regress closer to his average.
If you suffered April and May with Ozuna, you deserve what you’re getting now. He’s a solid batting average hitter and we hope his fly ball rates stay up, or are at least higher than his career average. We’re excited for his change, but we know the difference between a slump and a tear is razor thin, so we’ll be vigilant.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Some people take extra batting practice; others spend time in the minors. But to raise his batting average, Bryce Harper went the good old fashioned route of shaving his beard. Luck comes in all forms and Harper is hoping that facial hair was his downfall early in this, his contract year. Hell, deGrom got even better after he cut his silly hair, so why not, right?
RIDDLE ME THIS
In 1990, a person is 15 years old. In 1995 that same person is 10 years old. How is this possible?
Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
Sunday’s Riddle: A man while looking at a photograph said, “Brothers and sisters have I none. That man’s father is my father’s son.” Who was the person in the photograph?
Frank Chambers, for the second “Knowledge Drop” in a row, nailed the riddle. The man was looking at his son in the picture.
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
What do you call a cow with no legs?
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