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  1. #1
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    TT: JJ Hardy's strange first half (Case for moving him out of the two hole)

    The first 81-games for JJ Hardy has been pretty strange statistically speaking. Defensively, he's been as steady as ever committing just three errors in 79 games at SS. He's second in the AL with a .992 FLD PCT behind Seattle's Brenden Ryan (.993 in 71 games) and 2nd in Range Factor per nine innings with a 4.87. He's on pace to be a 3.2 dWAR player this year which give him tremendous value to the team, especially since he's the shortstop.

    Offensively though, Hardy is becoming a wreck at the plate. I've been beating the drum for sometime now that he's not a number two hitter, but right now he's one of the least effective players in the AL in getting on base. Hardy's .269 OBP is tied for the second worse in the AL amongst qualifiers and his .665 OPS is tied for 16th worse in the AL. Not to mention he's grounded into double plays 23% of the time (runner at 1st with less than two outs) this year compared to 11% major league average. He's not only bad and getting on base, but he's a rally killer as well.

    I talked a little bit about this in a thread about a week ago, but looking at the data, it appears right-handers are pitching effectively away from him but lefties are busting him inside. It also appears that Hardy is not swinging much different than he did last year having very similar takes, swings, and whiff percentages to last year.

    The one thing he has going for him is his current BAbip which is a career low .245, and .031 off his career mark of .276. His LD% is up from 2011 (18.7%-16.4%) so he's hitting the ball just as hard.

    Basically the only thing that's down a bit is his walk percentage which is down to a career low 4.5%. Pressing could be a cause of the drop off from his career 7.3% rate.

    Overall, JJ needs to be more patient at the plate and start making adjustments better on how pitchers are pitching him. If his BAbip returns to his normal range he should have more productive second half, but then again, it's hard to imagine him being worse.

    Regardless, Buck needs to drop him in the order and take a little pressure off him by batting him 6th or lower. There is no reason to give extra at bats to one of the leagues worse OBP players in front of the team's run producers.


  2. #2
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    Brendan25 is offline Plus Member since 10/11 All-Star Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation
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    It is really beyond me as to why Hardy is STILL hitting second.

    He is not a #2 hitter.

  3. #3
    wildcard is offline Plus Member since 11/03 Hall of Fame Reputation Reputation
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    Maybe after the break when Markakis returns.

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    The good news is he'll probably hit a lot better in the second half of the season.

  5. #5
    clapdiddy is online now Plus Member Since 02/03 Hall of Fame Reputation
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcard View Post
    Maybe after the break when Markakis returns.
    Yes when Markakis is back the lineup should begin with Avery, Markakis, Jones.

  6. #6
    Frobby is online now Hangout Blogger Hall of Fame Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation
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    Can't disagree with anything you say here. I'd just note that Hardy wasn't exactly a model of consistency last year -- his OPS by month was .694, .686, 1.095, .625, .890, .701. His OBP after the all-star break last season was .285, but that was overlooked because he was hitting the long ball so regularly and because he had a very good OBP in the first half so his overall OBP never slipped under .300. At this point, he's been well under .300 OBP over his last 162 games. I don't expect the current slump to last forever but he seems to have become more unselective at the plate, and it's costing him.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-OH View Post
    The first 81-games for JJ Hardy has been pretty strange statistically speaking. Defensively, he's been as steady as ever committing just three errors in 79 games at SS. He's second in the AL with a .992 FLD PCT behind Seattle's Brenden Ryan (.993 in 71 games) and 2nd in Range Factor per nine innings with a 4.87. He's on pace to be a 3.2 dWAR player this year which give him tremendous value to the team, especially since he's the shortstop.

    Offensively though, Hardy is becoming a wreck at the plate. I've been beating the drum for sometime now that he's not a number two hitter, but right now he's one of the least effective players in the AL in getting on base. Hardy's .269 OBP is tied for the second worse in the AL amongst qualifiers and his .665 OPS is tied for 16th worse in the AL. Not to mention he's grounded into double plays 23% of the time (runner at 1st with less than two outs) this year compared to 11% major league average. He's not only bad and getting on base, but he's a rally killer as well.

    I talked a little bit about this in a thread about a week ago, but looking at the data, it appears right-handers are pitching effectively away from him but lefties are busting him inside. It also appears that Hardy is not swinging much different than he did last year having very similar takes, swings, and whiff percentages to last year.

    The one thing he has going for him is his current BAbip which is a career low .245, and .031 off his career mark of .276. His LD% is up from 2011 (18.7%-16.4%) so he's hitting the ball just as hard.

    Basically the only thing that's down a bit is his walk percentage which is down to a career low 4.5%. Pressing could be a cause of the drop off from his career 7.3% rate.

    Overall, JJ needs to be more patient at the plate and start making adjustments better on how pitchers are pitching him. If his BAbip returns to his normal range he should have more productive second half, but then again, it's hard to imagine him being worse.

    Regardless, Buck needs to drop him in the order and take a little pressure off him by batting him 6th or lower. There is no reason to give extra at bats to one of the leagues worse OBP players in front of the team's run producers.
    He needs to walk more, but his xBABIP is .292. Just converting all his missed hits into singles would turn him into a .760 OPS player and one of the better shortstops in the league. He's getting completely hosed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frobby View Post
    Can't disagree with anything you say here. I'd just note that Hardy wasn't exactly a model of consistency last year -- his OPS by month was .694, .686, 1.095, .625, .890, .701. His OBP after the all-star break last season was .285, but that was overlooked because he was hitting the long ball so regularly and because he had a vry good OBP in the first half so his overal OBP never slipped under .300. At this point, he's been well under .300 OBP over his last 162 games. I don't expect the current slump to last forever but he seems to have become more unselective at the plate, and it's costing him.
    Good points. I've been thinking for awhile that he's turning into a good defensive SS version of Tony Batista. I love JJ's glove and and I'm willing to live with the bat as long as it's lower in the lineup.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hallas View Post
    He needs to walk more, but his xBABIP is .292. Just converting all his missed hits into singles would turn him into a .760 OPS player and one of the better shortstops in the league. He's getting completely hosed.
    Did you read this? Does this change your conclusion that he could be a .760 OPS player with better luck?

  10. #10
    Frobby is online now Hangout Blogger Hall of Fame Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-OH View Post
    Good points. I've been thinking for awhile that he's turning into a good defensive SS version of Tony Batista. I love JJ's glove and and I'm willing to live with the bat as long as it's lower in the lineup.
    Any time you get dissatisfied with JJ's bat and think of him as just a glove man, just think back to the starting shortstop from 2009-10. I do think the "good defensive SS version of Tony Batista" description is pretty accurate, minus the weird batting stance.

  11. #11
    nate22 is offline Plus Member since 05/11 All-Star Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation Reputation
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    One issue I have with Hardy in the 2 hole is the fact that he's pretty much a pull hitter. He doesn't take advantage of the hole between 1st and 2nd (should the leadoff guy get on ahead of him and the firstbaseman covering the bag). It's also easier to turn a 6-4-3 DP than a 4-6-3 DP.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nate22 View Post
    One issue I have with Hardy in the 2 hole is the fact that he's pretty much a pull hitter. He doesn't take advantage of the hole between 1st and 2nd (should the leadoff guy get on ahead of him and the firstbaseman covering the bag). It's also easier to turn a 6-4-3 DP than a 4-6-3 DP.
    Which is a one of the reasons why I prerfer a left-handed hitting 2nd hitter if possible. Markakis is the best #2 guy we have on the team but Betemit is probably the second best option.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-OH View Post
    Did you read this? Does this change your conclusion that he could be a .760 OPS player with better luck?
    I re-ran the numbers using the new xBABIP numbers and he's still getting hosed, just not as badly. xBABIP is still .270, which makes him a .720-.730 OPS player, or a league-average hitter in a premium position. That probably fits more in line with what I've seen out of him. He certainly hasn't looked as bad as his numbers have shown.

  14. #14
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    His .321 average and .361 OBP vs. lefties suggests he could be a #2 hitter in those situations, actually.

  15. #15
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    How Bad Is JJ Hardy Hurting This Team

    Part of it you can blame on Buck for keeping his horrible bat right now in the #2 slot.

    However, we need JJ to start hitting better then his .224/.262/.380 number right now. He has hit 2 homeruns since June begun. He hit .193/.200 in June and is hitting .097/.176 in July.

    Just horrific, would be sent down if you were 21 year old kind of numbers. In my opinion, a huge reason why our offense is slumping is the production from Hardy.

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