Jamey Carroll was at the top of a sidebar from the Wall Street Journal yesterday, leading the "Least Aggressive" first-pitch strike takers this year. The article was all about the most aggressive hitters, and how they are "the most exciting and powerful (if not particularly efficient) players in the game." But then they got to the bottom five (no link):
Conversely, players on the other end of the spectrum are simply table-setters and slap hitters. The Dodgers' Jamey Carroll takes is the biggest culprit of them all. A light-hitting utility man, Carroll takes the first pitch he sees 56% of the time—and has not hit a home run since 2009.
The top five least aggressive hitters:
Player, team, % first pitch strikes taken, % first pitch balls put in play, batting average on first pitch
- Jamey Carroll, Dodgers: 55.8%, 2.2%, .400
- Martin Prado, Braves: 49.5%, 4.6%, .214
- Chris Getz, Royals: 48.1%, 8.3%, .316
- Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: 47.3%, 6.0%, .110
- Michael Brantley, Inidians: 47.1%, 5.2%, .300
What's interesting about this is that Carroll was the only one on that list to have an overall batting average on the first pitch that is over 100 points better than his overall batting average--Carroll bats .288 overall--so swinging at that first pitch, in the rare 2.2% of the times that a first-pitch swing happens, Carroll has a much better chance of being successful. Suzuki, on the other hand, has a .225 average overall, so his swinging on the first pitch is over 100 points less effective than just taking his time.
photo: Paul Beck / EPA