Yesterday, I used one of Jacob Peterson’s innovative new plate discipline statistics to measure each Indians hitter’s passiveness at the plate. Today, we’ll take a look at the Tribe’s approach to hitting in another light: Aggressiveness.
Peterson’s formula for calculating a hitter’s Aggressiveness is:
"Aggressiveness = O-Swing% * (1 – Zone%)"
Or, in other words, it’s the frequency with which a batter swings at bad pitches times the proportion of pitches he sees that are out of the strike zone. In less abstract terms, it’s the number of would-be balls the batter swings at per 100 pitches.
I crunched the numbers for each Cleveland position player’s Aggressiveness. Note that these will differ somewhat from Peterson’s—my plate discipline data come from FanGraphs, while Peterson’s, which were based on numbers from Baseball Prospectus.
Before we dig too deeply into these numbers, keep in mind that a high Aggressiveness score isn’t inherently good or bad. Swinging at a bad pitch usually doesn’t help the team, but it’s not a problem if the batter can do something with it (see “Guerrero, Vladimir”). That being said, it is less ambiguous in its negative connotations than Passiveness.
Wondering why Lonnie Chisenhall and Matt LaPorta’s bats were relatively underwhelming this year? Their team-leading Aggressiveness scores are a big part of why. Luis Valbuena, Cord Phelps, and Orlando Cabrera’s struggles can also be attributed largely to their impatience at the plate.
Also towards the top, we see two big names who have noticeably changed their approaches recently: Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore. Cabrera started swinging for the fences this season, while Sizemore’s plate discipline has deteriorated in the last two years. After his down year, Shin-Soo Choo sort of falls into this category too.
The names at the bottom of the list definitely look right. Jack Hannahan and Austin Kearns quietly displayed solid plate discipline this year, and Jim Thome and Travis Hafner did their respective things. Michael Brantley’s placing makes sense given his team-leading Passiveness, as do Carlos Santana’s and Lou Marson’s, though I would have guessed Marson would place higher.
These results don’t really tell us much that we didn’t already know, but I still think they’re still interesting. Tomorrow, we’ll put combine these scores with the Passiveness numbers to get an idea of each Tribe hitter’s strike zone judgment.