This from a blog at the Wall Street Journal, of all places. Hunter Pence has reached a 0-2 count in 27% of his plate appearances, compared to a major league average of 17%. Pence is among the five most 0-2 prone batters in the majors, and he makes an out 15 of 17 times with six K's, in the 0-2 count. The interesting thing which distinguishes him from the other players who were that prone to the 0-2 count is that Pence has shown good overall offensive success so far.
Pence has managed to compensate for his 0-2 struggles by dominating opposing pitchers the rest of the time: He has an OBP of .450 and is slugging .710 in those situations. And that may reflect the best reason for swinging freely: When Pence does make contact on the first pitch or on an 0-1 count, he’s 7 for 17. That’s his reward for all those high-risk swings.
What does this mean? Is Pence's current overall offensive success a mirage which will dissolve as his tendency to get behind in the count takes over? Or does this mean that Pence has only touched the surface of his potential, because an improvement in his patience will result in overall offensive stats which are even better than his current start (.910) to the season?
I hope the latter is the correct answer. But I can't say I am certain. This is a more complicated issue than just being patient. Pence needs to become selective.