HOUSTON - AUGUST 30: Members of the Houston Astros celebrate a 8-2 win over the PIttsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park on August 30, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
I mentioned this in the comments of the game recap last night, but I'm planning on putting out a series of articles on the three rookie hitters and how they're being pitched through Pitch F/X. In doing some prep work on them, I came across some interesting stuff that I thought I'd put together before getting into the series.
First off, we can use FanGraphs to see some big picture stuff from these three. If we start out looking at their batting averages on balls in play, we see that J.D. Martinez has probably the most sustainable BABiP, Altuve looks like he can sustain his (though that's more unsure) and Jimmy Paredes looks like he's heading for a regression soon with his much higher BABiP than his career minor league numbers. However, Paredes has shown since coming over to the Houston organization a tendency to higher BABiPs, so we shall see once he gets more playing time.
Another interesting area is looking at how many first pitch strikes they've all seen. By far, Jose Altuve has seen the most fastballs and has seen almost 10 percent more than Paredes. Martinez lies a little higher than Paredes, but has shown much better results on the fastball, which jibes with what we've seen so far. Paredes has seen a very high number of breaking pitches, too, which is also not surprising, considering his rapid ascent to the majors.
Lastly, I was struck with their numbers on zone percentages and swinging strikes. Jose Altuve, fresh from Double-A, actually has a lower swinging strike rate than the league average. Say this for the little guy...he knows how to hit the ball. Judging by his outside the zone swing percentage, Altuve has been reaching quite a bit. He's 10 percent over the league average. Martinez and Paredes are both above the league average, too, but Martinez is at about 5 percent and Paredes is at 11 percent. Free swinging lot, eh?
Before looking at the Pitch F/X data, I'd surmise that Altuve is reaching a bit to maintain a success level. He's sure to see his walk rate rise and get more picky at the plate when he gains more experience. That'll affect his BABiP, but it will also increase his value.
Like I said, this is just a taste after going through their numbers preliminarily. Thursday, we'll have something on Altuve before rolling out the other two next week. In the meantime, is there anything here that jumps out at you as odd? Is it right in line with what you'd expect?