Plate Discipline Doesn’t Mean “Don’t Swing.”

An article by posted on May 5, 2012

Last night, we had a fan post on here in reaction to Bobby Ojeda’s mini rant on SNY.

I have to say, I view it differently than how Ojeda made it sound, or at least how it was viewed by the fan post. Just because the Mets are looking to be disciplined at the plate, doesn’t mean they are refusing to swing the bat. The “philosophy” is meant to force pitchers to throw strikes, thus giving hitters a better chance at being successful.

With any strategy, there will be failure. Every time a Mets hitter is at bat, they are not going to be successful. It’s impossible. That doesn’t mean the philosophy to be more disciplined is flawed. It just means the players didn’t execute the strategy.

Consider this:

It’s worth noting out of 184 qualified hitters, there are 65 of them who have swung and missed at balls outside of the strikezone before any Met player.

That is a pretty significant number in my eyes. That tells me the Mets ARE being disciplined at the plate.

Murphy leads the Mets in swings and misses outside the strikezone.

I think people confuse the idea of being disciplined with not wanting to swing at a good pitch. Here are the Mets percentage and rankings in MLB with regards to swinging and missing outside the strike zone.

Murphy 31.2% – 66th
Ike 29.5% – 77th
Kirk 26% – 119th
Duda 22.1% – 158th
Tejada 22% – 160th
Wright 19.3% – 175th
Thole 18% – 177th

Now, the Mets are making mistakes. No doubt about it. Here is the percentage of pitches a batter swings at inside the strike zone.

Kirk 54.2% – 171st
Tejada 60.5% – 131st
Ike 64.1 – 92nd
Duda 63.6 – 97th
Murphy 66.9 % – 63rd
Thole 65.1 – 78th
Wright 68.5 – 47th

These numbers tell me the problem is not the philosophy, but merely the execution. The idea is to recognize the strike zone and recognize when there is a pitch to hit, you should swing at it. If they aren’t swinging at it, that doesn’t mean they want a walk. It could mean their approach is not working.

All the Mets want is better strike zone recognition. When you recognize a pitch is in the zone, and you swing, your odds of being successful are better than if you swing at a pitch out of the zone (unless you’re Vlad Guerrero). That is the whole idea. It’s not a bad idea either.

I’m not going to pound my fist and blame Sandy Alderson for the fact that Tejada is not swinging the bat enough.

It’s up to Tejada to swing at the pitches that he can hit. He needs to start recognizing that he can do more damage with the bat if he swings at the strikes thrown to him.

If he doesn’t, that is not the fault of a philosophy designed to focus on plate discipline. It’s the players fault for not executing the strategy better.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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