One of the things that come in my yearly Prospect Guide is spray charts for the hitters that rank among the Cincinnati Reds Top 40 prospects. It’s one of my favorite things to look at and it’s really the only place you can find the information with as much detail as I provide. While there are some hitters who can find plenty of success being dead pull hitters (looking at you Devin Mesoraco and Jose Bautista), most of the best hitters in the game utilize the entire field. It makes it harder to position defenders and harder to pitch both inside and outside to hitters as they can take advantage of pitches on both sides of the plate.
Today we are going to take a look at a few of the Top 40 Cincinnati Reds prospects and which of them use the entire field, who is the most pull happy and who goes the other way more than the rest.
Using the entire field
For this category I looked at which player had the least amount of change between their pull, up the middle, and opposite field balls put in play to outfielders. The player who was most consistent to all three spots was outfielder Jesse Winker. That doesn’t come as a surprise to me as he’s one of the best hitters in the system and is well known for his ability to use the entire field. Winker pulled the ball 21.6% of the time. His rate to both center and right fields was 18.8%. That is a grand total of 2.8% between his pull side and both of the other outfield spots.
For this category I looked at the largest difference between how often a guy pulled the ball versus how often a guy went the other way with the ball. I did not factor in how often he hit the ball to center field. The player who was the most pull happy outfielder Junior Arias, sort of. Arias missed most of the 2014 season with an injury, so I chose to look at his 2013 season for this article. Arias had a 20.6% to 7.4% advantage in the 2013 season. If we are only looking at 2014 then the player that tops the list is Chad Tromp who had a 23.5% to 10.6% advantage.
Going the Other Way
This is the exact opposite from the Pull Happy category. I didn’t consider center field, only looking at how much more often a player went the opposite way compared to how often they pulled the ball. The other two categories were somewhat close at the top. This one wasn’t remotely close. Shortstop Carlton Daal went the other way 21% of the time. He pulled the ball just 6.2% of the time. He’s the extreme other way hitter. That is a 14.8% difference. The next closest guy on the list was Yorman Rodriguez at 8.3%.
What does it mean?
Well, as noted at the top of the article, players can be successful with different approaches, so on it’s own, this information doesn’t tell us much about the hitters and how they project moving forward. It’s just another piece to the puzzle of trying to figure out what kind of player a guy will be in the future. On Monday at my site I looked at how much power guys hit for when they pulled the ball. Over the rest of the week I will also look at how guys did when they go to the other parts of the park, so if that is something that interests you, be sure to swing by.