Is Travis Shaw for real?

Travis Shaw has looked effective at first base, but is he really the answer, or has he mostly been lucky?

Travis Shaw hit preferences by pitch family

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Xander Bogaerts in 2015

Xander Bogaerts was a model of offensive consistency in 2015.

Xander Bogaerts: Rolling 10-game averages in 2015

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Jacke Bradley Jr has trouble with down-and-out pitches

Bradley adjusted his mechanics and started hitting the inside fastball. Pitchers counter-adjusted and have been pitching him down and out. Bradley will need to reach those pitches if he is to be a productive major-league hitter.

Fastballs to JBJ before, during, and after his breakout month

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Rusney Castillo is solid

Rusney Castillo understandably looked a little rusty at the start of the season, but is looking like an above-average batter and defender now.  I wrote about him at Rusney Castillo is Rounding Into Form.

Rusney Castillo batting against various pitch types

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Jacke Bradley Junior and the inside fastball

Jackie Bradley Junior has changed his batting mechanics and has started to crush the baseball in locations he couldn’t hit before.

A Jackie Bradley Jr Renaissance

Jackie Bradley Junior hit chart


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Blake Swihart’s debut year so far

Catcher Blake Swihart wasn’t supposed to be in the majors this year; he needed at least one more year, probably two, of minor-league seasoning first.  But injuries to the Red Sox catchers meant he was called up anyway, and though he hasn’t blown away the field, he has nothing to apologize for this season.  I wrote about him in “How is Rookie Catcher Blake Swihart Doing?

Blake Swihart: 10-game rolling average OPS

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Mike Napoli and the new strike zone

As a followup to my look at the new strike zone, I looked at one player who may be disproportionately affected by the changing size of the strike zone over the years.

Mike Napoli’s percentage of called strikes that would not have been strikes in previous years

In a later article, I looked at the same effect across baseball: The Effect of Additional Called Strikes with the Expanding Strike Zone.  Yunel Escobar was the player most affected by the expanded strike zone in 2014.

Yunel Escobar: Called strikes in 2014 that were not in the 2013 strike zone

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David Ortiz: Slump, or fallen off the cliff?

I looked at David Ortiz’s 2015 struggles at the plate (David Ortiz Struggles With Fastballs From Left Handers).  It looks as if he’s been hitting right-handers fine, and has also done reasonably well against breaking pitches and off-speed stuff from left-handers, but has had a terrible time against left-handers’ fastballs.  More charts and comparisons, and some guesswork at the rest of his year, at

David Ortiz hit charts, 2015

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Updating the strike zone

I wrote an update on “The Strike Zone in 2015” at

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