When the Yankees swept the Indians within the Wild Card Collection, it felt like the beginning of an unstoppable run to the Fall Traditional. Their lineup, hamstrung by accidents to key contributors for a lot of the season, was lastly wholesome, absolutely intact, and clicking on all cylinders. They executed their sport plan completely in opposition to Cleveland, humbling the presumptive AL Cy Younger winner and delivering well timed huge blow after well timed huge blow.
Sport One of many ALDS carried over the promise from the earlier spherical, bolstering the assumption that this might lastly be the 12 months. Simply as they did in opposition to Shane Bieber, the Yankees stayed disciplined within the field in opposition to Blake Snell, punishing fastballs within the zone and spitting on break balls out of it. With this method, the lineup regarded able to steamrolling any pitcher the Rays threw out at them.
Aaron Boone’s offensive mantra since he took over as supervisor is basically unchanged: he needs his hitters to regulate the zone and do harm after they get their pitch. Inexplicably, the Yankees’ hitters determined to ditch that plan beginning in Sport Two. The place the earlier starters failed, Tyler Glasnow made mincemeat of the Bombers batting order, fanning ten in solely 5 innings. Don’t get me mistaken, his stuff was filthy, however the Yankees did him loads of favors by increasing the zone. This development carried by the remainder of the collection, such that once we look again, it seems the Rays beat the Yankees at their very own sport.
Widespread sense says that should you create extra site visitors on the bases whereas giving up fewer free outs, you’re going to place your self in a greater place to win. Due to this fact, a very good place to start our investigation into every staff’s self-discipline is with uncooked strikeout and stroll totals. “However Peter,” you would possibly say, “the Rays struck out as many occasions within the collection (49) because the Yankees, whereas drawing two fewer walks (19 to 21).” So, on the easiest stage, one can’t draw a conclusion as as to if the Rays outclassed the Yankees within the plate self-discipline division.
Nevertheless, taking a deeper dive into the underlying statistics, a rift between the 2 groups begins to emerge. Think about the “controlling the zone” facet of plate self-discipline. I’d argue that the staff who swings at fewer would-be balls displays higher management of the zone.
In response to Statcast, the Yankees truly did a a lot better job of this than the Rays. The Yankees’ hitters swung at about 24% of pitches thrown out of the zone whereas Rays hitters swung at about 31% of pitches thrown out of the zone. Which means the Rays swung at virtually 30% extra balls than did the Yankees. Moreover, Yankees batters held an virtually 100 level wOBA benefit (.324 vs. .237) over the Rays on balls out of the zone.
This would appear to counsel the Yankees displayed higher plate self-discipline than the Rays, nonetheless that is solely half the story. The subsequent element of plate self-discipline I’d prefer to dissect is “doing harm whenever you get your pitch.” Simply as necessary as shedding dangerous pitches is getting the barrel to the ball when the pitcher throws a mistake. Due to this fact, I in contrast how nicely every staff’s lineup did in opposition to pitches thrown over the center of the plate. That is the place the hole between the 2 groups actually shined by.
The outcomes are fairly stark, and reveal simply how a lot better the Rays have been at punishing errors. According to Statcast, on balls thrown over the center of the plate Yankees batters slugged .539 with a .345 wOBA and a median exit velocity of 91.8 mph. This pales compared to the Rays, who slugged .694 with a .409 wOBA and a median exit velocity of 96.9 mph on similar pitches.
This matches the attention check, because it appeared like each mistake the Yankees pitchers made obtained deposited into the seats, whereas the Yankees took quite a lot of pitches proper down Broadway. Clearly it is a biased commentary, as you have a tendency to recollect the failures extra vividly than the successes, however the message remains to be the identical.
Ultimately, whereas the Yankees could not have expanded the zone as a lot as their opponents, they didn’t do sufficient on hittable pitches to win the collection. This evaluation was extremely revealing from my viewpoint, because it seems to favor the slugging element of plate self-discipline over the on-base element. The Yankees managed the surface of the zone. The Rays managed the within of the zone and are actually up two video games to none within the ALCS.