Plate Discipline — Player Analysis
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Stat of the Week
by Peter Liubicich
Plate Discipline — Player Analysis
This post was written by Peter Liubicich on November 16, 2012
Posted Under: Stat of the Week

This week we’re looking at Plate Discipline and the statistics:

O-Swing%

O-Contact%

Z-Swing%

Z-Contact%

Swing%

Contact%

The O-Plate Discipline statistics keep track of pitches Outside of the strike zone, while the Z-Plate Discipline track the pitches inside the strike zone.  The MLB Averages for each statistic are:

O-Swing% 30%
O-Contact% 68%
Z-Swing% 65%
Z-Contact% 88%
Swing% 46%
Contact% 81%

Now let’s look at Vladimir Guerrero’s career stats since he was known to swing at pitches way out of the strike zone and still make contact with them at a high clip (courtesy of FanGraphs):

Season Team

O-Swing%

Z-Swing%

Swing%

O-Contact%

Z-Contact%

Contact%

2002 Expos

32.6 %

86.1 %

57.5 %

53.2 %

86.2 %

76.2 %

2003 Expos

34.8 %

83.4 %

55.1 %

58.3 %

87.3 %

76.6 %

2004 Angels

29.9 %

90.2 %

61.4 %

59.2 %

88.6 %

81.8 %

2005 Angels

32.2 %

84.2 %

55.7 %

66.5 %

91.0 %

83.3 %

2006 Angels

40.3 %

86.6 %

61.6 %

68.2 %

91.4 %

83.2 %

2007 Angels

45.3 %

82.3 %

57.4 %

71.3 %

90.1 %

80.1 %

2008 Angels

45.5 %

81.7 %

60.3 %

69.7 %

91.4 %

81.7 %

2009 Angels

44.0 %

82.6 %

60.7 %

72.5 %

87.2 %

81.1 %

2010 Rangers

47.0 %

80.8 %

60.6 %

71.1 %

88.3 %

80.3 %

2011 Orioles

47.4 %

80.6 %

60.4 %

73.6 %

89.7 %

82.1 %

Total - - -

40.3 %

84.3 %

59.1 %

67.4 %

89.1 %

80.7 %

From these numbers we can see that from 2006 to 2011, the tail end of Vlad’s career, that his pitch selection fell off incredibly and his O-Swing% or the percentage of pitches he swung at outside the strike zone increased tremendously.  What is interesting though is that he gained this confidence in swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone because his contact percentage on balls outside the strike zone, O-Contact%, also increased during this time compared to his numbers from 2002-2005.  All of Vlad’s career contact percentage numbers are league average but it is his swing percentage numbers that display how free a swinger he truly was.

Plate Discipline Stat Vlad Career MLB Average
O-Swing% 40.3% 30%
Z-Swing% 84.9% 65%
Swing% 59.1% 46%

Now one player who transformed his career by learning how to throw the knuckleball, R.A. Dickey, is another interesting case for plate discipline as he throws a pitch that is hard for batters to determine whether it will be in the strike zone or not (courtesy of FanGraphs)

Season Team

O-Swing%

Z-Swing%

Swing%

O-Contact%

Z-Contact%

Contact%

2003 Rangers

21.1 %

71.2 %

46.3 %

37.0 %

89.4 %

77.6 %

2004 Rangers

15.8 %

70.8 %

46.4 %

59.2 %

85.3 %

81.4 %

2005 Rangers

9.9 %

66.8 %

39.7 %

59.1 %

90.2 %

86.5 %

2006 Rangers

29.6 %

70.6 %

52.5 %

87.5 %

91.7 %

90.6 %

2008 Mariners

20.2 %

64.5 %

43.4 %

68.5 %

89.8 %

85.1 %

2009 Twins

20.1 %

62.5 %

42.4 %

70.2 %

88.0 %

84.0 %

2010 Mets

29.4 %

66.0 %

48.8 %

69.8 %

86.8 %

82.0 %

2011 Mets

29.0 %

65.1 %

48.2 %

74.9 %

86.8 %

83.4 %

2012 Mets

34.0 %

66.4 %

50.6 %

68.2 %

78.9 %

75.4 %

Total - - -

25.6 %

66.7 %

47.2 %

66.2 %

85.9 %

80.8 %

From Dickey’s numbers this past season you can tell from his Swing% that he is fooling more hitters than the average pitcher given a higher Swing% than league average, and holding hitters’ Z-Contact% to almost 10 percentage points lower than league average.

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Previous Post: November 16, 2012