After two weeks off thanks to other news, the Reds versus The Strikezone series is back. This week we are going to look at another outfielder, newcomer Yasiel Puig. In the 2018 season he hit .267/.327/.494 for the Los Angeles Dodgers, good for a 120 OPS+. That 120 mark in OPS+ would rate him behind Eugenio Suarez, and just behind the group of Joey Votto (125), Jesse Winker (124), and Scooter Gennett (124).

Let’s take a look at how Yasiel Puig performed on pitches that would have been balls, or strikes, had he not swung at them. In 2018 the outfielder swung at pitches outside of the strikezone 31.1% of the time. Of the 243 players in 2018 with at least 400 plate appearances that ranked 104th. Not great, but not terrible. That’s pretty much league average, which was 30.9% during the year. When Puig did decide to swing at non-strikes he made contact on them 59.1% of the time. That was slightly below-average, which in 2018 was 62.8%.

When it comes to the pitches thrown in the strikezone to Yasiel Puig he swung 71.5% of the time. That’s better than the league average of 67.3%. When he swung at strikes, the new Reds outfielder made contact 89.8% of the time. That was also better than the league average, which was 85.5% in 2018.

Pitchers that threw Yasiel Puig strikes didn’t fare well. He hit .328 on strikes and he slugged a whopping .640 against them when he made contact. The slugging was more impressive than the average, though. Among the Reds “every day 10” of guys returning from last year, and the two Dodgers, the .328 average on strikes would rank 5th. But his .640 slugging would rank second behind only Eugenio Suarez, who had a .645 mark. His Isolated Power of .312 would have ranked 1st. And that, of course, was done mostly out west in large ballparks.

Like most every other hitter, though, Yasiel Puig wasn’t good on non-strikes. He hit just .202 when he made contact on pitches outside of the strikezone. That also would have ranked 5th on the team. His Isolated Power of .111 on pitches out of the zone would have ranked 3rd behind Scooter Gennett (.146) and Suarez (.139).

As it has been for every other player thus far, Yasiel Puig was far better on strikes than non-strikes. That’s always the case. With league average rates of swinging at non-strikes, and his production on strikes, if he could tighten up what he’s swinging at just a little bit, there could be some improvements to be had. But, the move from the cavernous National League West ballparks to the much more hitter friendly National League Central ballparks could also play a good role in seeing the numbers on the chart improve across the board, too.

Data on average and slugging percentage in and out of the strikezone is from Brooks Baseball. The data was manually tabulated based on their raw numbers provided.

19 Responses

  1. RedsFan11

    Puig will be very motivated this year with it being a contract year. His flair reminds me of BP. That can be good and bad at times, but I think his energy will overall help this team especially if they are winning.

    I think the Reds really need to clear up this outfield situation. Barring injury and with discussions about Senzel playing center they have 5 solid players (Puig, Senzel, Kemp, Winker, Schebler). Senzel may have the highest ceiling but I think all 5 of these guys can be everyday players for any team.

    -It seems (especially with the recent announcement of another bobblehead….) that Puig is going nowhere.
    -Senzel is the prized prospect and it doesn’t seem like the Reds want to move him.
    -Winker imo is very undervalued, defense is easier to improve than an eye at the plate. If Dunn played LF for a decade, Winker could easily as well, but he does lack the power at this point. Hopefully his repaired shoulder will help bring some back.
    -Schebler is injury prone but a good all around player. I think he has the lowest ceiling but at least the same floor as the others.
    -My thoughts are that everyone has been quiet on Kemp and I think he has that veteran leadership this team could use. He has had solid mostly consistent numbers throughout his career as well. But no one is talking about him at all, Reds FO included which makes me think they are trying to move him anyway they can.

    • Reaganspad

      Yet Schebler has already hit 30 hrs at the ML level, and can hit for a decent average when healthy. Also, did a real good job in the lead off role last year.

      I am not sold that Schebler has peeked. And when he goes to left field, he is as dangerous as anyone including Gennett as it smooths out his swing.

      I could not see Gennett as a lead off hitter because his strike zone is probably the worst on the team. I am just fine with Schebler as a lead off option.

      He stays healthy and the reds will be trading an OF at the All Star Break if not before

  2. Tom

    I love that this outfield creates competition for Winker. I think he’ll thrive in that environment. Puig should thrive in the NL central ballparks. Hopefully a reduced workload helps Schebler stay fresh and on the field. And Kemp needs to play 3-4 days a way and bash away.

  3. Matthew


    Have you heard any rumors about the Reds talking to LA about Joc Pederson? So you think he could slot in at center nicely or should we have faith that Senzel may be our guy?

    • Michael Smith

      The defensive numbers on Pederson are rough and I do not think he is a capable center fielder.

  4. Mondo Duke

    This time of year the tree limbs can be weak. Don’t climb out there too far regarding Puig. If he can hit 30 HR, I”ll be surprised. Very surprised.
    Don’t get me wrong, at seasons end, I would love for Gomer Pyle to get all up in my face and yell “surprise, surprise, surprise”. But isn’t Gomer dead? Gomer, not Homer.

  5. CFD3000

    I’ve come around on Realmuto after doing more digging on his production. If it takes India and Tucker to bring him to Cincinnati that’s fine with me. But I wouldn’t give up any of Senzel, Trammell, Greene or Santillan to land Realmuto. But I don’t understand the fascination with Inciarte (or even worse, Jackie Bradley, Jr.). At this point Inciarte would be a clear step backwards offensively. He’d be the 4th or 5th best hitting outfielder (depending on if you include Senzel) on the Reds. To me that’s not worth it, especially given what the asking price would likely be. I’d rather see them acquire a defensive specialist to use for spot starts in big ballparks and the occasional late inning defensive upgrade. But he should be cheap, and he shouldn’t start even most days at the expense of a Puig, Winker, Senzel, Kemp or Schebler bat in the lineup. No thanks on Ender.

    • Hanawi

      While in general I agree, I think defensive WAR and baserunning WAR are both weighted too much in the overall valuation of players. They are both much more subjective than offensive measures.

    • CFD3000

      C13J – You’re not wrong, but I don’t buy it for three reasons. First, I agree with Hanawi. I simply don’t buy that defensive WAR and offensive WAR are equally valuable. Second, even if they were, do you expect Inciarte to produce higher WAR than Puig or Senzel or even Schebler if they each are healthy and get the same number of at bats and innings? I don’t (okay maybe Schebler. Maybe). Third, even if you think defensive WAR is just as good as offensive WAR, AND you think Inciarte will provide, say, 1 WAR more than Puig or Senzel (I don’t accept either premise) why would you be willing to pay such a high price (India and more?) for that small upgrade. I’m not trying to prove that you’re wrong – just explain that I don’t see the value in a trade for Inciarte given his skill set, who he would displace, and what it would cost.

  6. David

    If Matt Kemp stays with Cincy, I think he plays most days in Left Field, which costs Winker AB’s this year. They are NOT going to sit him while he is getting paid $21MM a year. And Kemp is a veteran ML outfielder, and will be a problem in the clubhouse/dugout if he does not play. I personally would like to see him traded earlier rather than later, because I don’t think he is the player the Reds want to be out there “everyday”.
    Schebler in right, Puig in center. Senzel can play all over (and will); 2nd base and 3rd base too. He’s a good athlete, and can be plugged in a lot of places for 2019. In 2020, he will likely be the regular 2nd baseman.
    Not really interested in Inciarte.

    • Big Ed

      The Reds are only on the hook for a net of $14 million to Kemp. I do tend to agree that the Reds should move him and beaucoup $$$ before the end of spring training.

      He would probably fit better in the AL as a DH, I am not really sure who actually needs him.

      His paycheck really should be irrelevant to the Reds, when it comes to playing time. They have to pay him if he is on the field or on the bench, and they aren’t going to re-sign him. I could see where light playing time could make him hard to trade, but that is what spring training is for.

      • David

        Yes, we did receive money from the Dodgers, which was assumed to be an offset for Kemp’s salary (roughly $7MM). And I would assume that goes with him, should he be traded. The Reds have a bunch of potential outfielders THIS YEAR. I would rather see some platooning of Senzel and Winker (if Winker’s shoulder is not ready for everyday) or Phil Ervin, than have Kemp getting the lion’s share of the starts.

    • Big Ed

      I think Winker needs to be playing against most lefties, too. People tend to forget just how good he is, especially at getting on base, and he needs all the ABs he can get against lefties as he develops.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Kemp will be a fourth outfielder, and probably start against at least some lefthanders. With the new emphasis on analytics, David Bell will know which lefties Kemp hits particularly well. Kemp would make a good trade chip, but his salary will dissuade teams that want a DH. I don’t see the Reds offering to pay a large portion of his salary, which is what any acquiring team would almost certainly want. There’s nothing at all wrong with having great depth.

      I’m trying to avoid drinking the Kool-Aid, because a lot really has to go right for this team to contend. But I believe there is a chance for that if the acquired starting pitchers even revert to their career norms.

  7. SteveLV

    Just to put it out there, I think there is a pretty good chance that Senzel becomes an average defensive center fielder by the second half of this year. He has the tools, and it sounds like he has the work ethic. I think that outcome is more likely than him being a liability there by the second half.
    If I had to choose between finding that out or bringing in a center fielder (that won’t be cheap), I’d choose find out.

  8. The Duke

    I’d hit Puig 5th

    Schebler, LH
    Votto, LH (but is pretty even against both)
    Suarez, RH
    Gennett, LH
    Puig, RH
    Winker, LH
    Peraza, RH
    Barnhart, SH

  9. Tom Mitsoff

    Puig is visiting Cincinnati today, and making many, many stops that are being captured in Twitter posts. If you haven’t seen this already, you should do a Twitter search for Puig. Whether he’ll be a true star or not for the Reds remains to be seen, but he certainly is displaying star qualities. I can’t wait to see how he does.

  10. Big Ed

    This series of stories shows how crucial strike zone judgment is. EVERYBODY hits strikes much better than balls. Maybe THE key difference in hitters is that skill.

    Whichever team that can figure out how to teach/develop that skill, or identify who can learn it, is going to win a lot of games.

  11. scotly50

    I am as well. Our fan base could use a player like Puig. I follow him on twitter, and he is a personality.

    I am going to enjoy watching him this year.