I saw an interesting mention of Johnny Damon in a Fangraphs article yesterday, and was hoping to get some opinions on what the data may mean:
Two other interesting players are Johnny Damon and Garret Anderson. They have identical .161 ISOs over the last three years, but Anderson has seen the fewest fastballs of any hitter in the sample (48.9%) while Damon is up near the top (67.5%). Do pitchers perceived Damon as a slap hitter, due to his frame? Or perhaps Anderson just really struggles against breaking balls, and pitchers are exploiting this? Maybe both?
Damon always seemed like a bit of a slap hitter to me, which may be why his performance in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS was so shocking. When he came to the Yankees in 2006 and hit 24 homers, I’m fairly certain that he outstripped any expectations for him in that category. Damon’s swing looks like it should not generate much power, but he has a way of really getting into the balls that he pulls and actually hits some fairly long home runs. However, he certainly does not have a reputation for being a power hitter.
Do you think that the article’s explanation for the data is correct? Do major league pitchers throw that many fastballs to Damon because they are unaware of his stealthy power?
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