Not many here need reminding, but I’m a huge Jorge Posada fan. After he retires, I’ll be at the front of the line, beating the drum for his Hall of Fame induction. That is a long shot at best, but it’s a cause I think is worth attempting to lead. Another point you don’t need to be reminded of is that Posada has had a ROUGH start to 2011 to say the least. He’s popped some homers, but that’s about it. He’s looked old as anything at the plate and it’s almost a little painful to see him play this badly. He even went to Joe Girardi to talk about his issues and got a vote of confidence from his manager. Subjectively, it has looked like Posada’s been making better contact lately, but he’s still struggled a lot and it’s hard to put those struggles aside. Let’s break down some numbers and see what’s going on here and if there’s anything that can/will correct it.
There are two good things we can start with. Not including yesterday’s 12-5 win vs. the Rangers, Jorge Posada has a walk rate of 11.0% and an IsoP of .208. So, even if he’s not making much contact overall (more on that later), he’s still at least not an automatic out. And, when he does, make contact, he’s hitting for power. In turn, his HR/FB% (home run per fly ball) is 20%, which would be the second highest of his career (2003, 22.2%).
In the neither good nor bad category, Jorge’s Three True Outcome (HR, BB, or SO) percentage is 41%; his career rate is 37% and change. I don’t think it means all that much, I just love the TTO% stuff.
But aside from homers and walks, not much has gone right for Posada this year. His triple slash sits at .146/.248/.354 with a meager .264 wOBA and a weak 62 wRC+. Jorge’s bound to rebound. I mean, he has to, right? It’s hard to imagine that he hits this poorly the rest of the way. Let’s see if there’s anything that can signal a rebound is coming.
Posada’s career BABIP is .315. Right now, it’s at an unbelievably low .127. If that doesn’t rebound, I’d be surprised. However, this horrific BABIP isn’t necessarily the fault of the Luck Dragons. All the homers and walks certainly haven’t helped Jorge’s BABIP, and neither have his batted balls. Posada’s line drive percentage is currently at 11.6%. Yikes. Unless he starts making more solid contact soon, he’s going to be stuck with a low BABIP and poor results.
Speaking of contact, let’s move on to Jorge’s plate discipline stats and see what we can find. A quick perusal there shows us that Jorge is swinging at more pitches out of the zone than normal, swinging at fewer pitches IN the zone (and overall), yet making contact with more out of zone pitches than normal (2010 and 2011 have been real outliers for Jorge in this category). The last of those three could explain Posada’s bad line-drive percentage; swinging at bad pitches is likely to lead to bad contact. Jorge’s contact rate is also down, leading to the highest swinging strike percentage of his career.
Normally strong against fastballs, Posada’s a -0.80 runs per 100 fastballs season this year (career rate: +1.56). That only compounds his problems against curveballs (-1.88 2011; -0.97 career).
It’s all looking pretty bad for Posada at this point. I’d like to say that a rebound is coming, but it’s hard to see where it would come from. He’s been weak against pitches he normally hits well, he hasn’t made strong contact, and is struggling to make consistent contact. Hopefully, he keeps walking and some of the non-HR hits start falling. If not, I’m not sure how much longer Joe Girardi can really run Posada out there as the designated hitter.
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