Dom Brown’s Hands

At the Baseball Analytics blog, I used heat maps to verify that Mitch Williams‘ analysis of Domonic Brown seems to be correct: he needs to lower his hands so that pitchers can’t simply throw him up-and-in all the time.

The heat maps indicate that, although he was swinging at up-and-in pitches frequently, he was not successful —  not only in terms of hitting for power, but simply making contact.

Brown finished 2010 with a .271 wOBA, which ranked all the way down in the eighth percentile of Major League hitters with at least 100 plate appearances. If Brown is to blossom into the offensively-potent player the Phillies organization has long thought he would be, he may need to take the advice of Mitch Williams and lower his hands.

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  1. CT

    December 23, 2010 11:23 AM

    who knew that Mitchy Poo was a closet hitting coach?

  2. Matty B.

    December 23, 2010 11:38 AM

    I don’t think this is a major concern. A lot of very good left-handed hitters struggle with that pitch. Every hitter has pitches they struggle with.

    And looking at Brown’s weakness on that map, the area in blue is quite small, and it’s right next to a big sea of red. If the pitcher aims for that blue spot and misses, he’s in trouble. There are a handful of pitchers who can consistently spot that pitch, and half of them play for Brown’s team.

    Is it something Brown can work to improve upon? Yes. But is it a glaring weakness he needs to fix, lest he be exposed? No.

  3. SABR

    December 23, 2010 12:01 PM

    Sample size: 70 ABs. Until you add another “0” to the sample size, enough said about this.

  4. FanSince09

    December 23, 2010 12:56 PM

    Should of kept Jason Worth and Brown should have been the one traded for Oswalt, not Happ. You can always get an outfield prospect but it’s very hard to find can’t miss future aces like Happ.

  5. Danny

    December 23, 2010 12:59 PM

    I totally agree with you FanSince09. Should have topped Washington’s offer for Werth for sure. Could have kept Happ, and you’d have five sure-fire aces. It’d be amazing. Happ would probably blossom into the Phillies’ staff ace, too.

  6. SABR

    December 23, 2010 01:27 PM

    Agreed – Hearing that Happ is the early favorite for NL Cy Young

  7. FanSince09

    December 23, 2010 03:25 PM

    Danny, I don’t know if they could of topped Washington’s offer but if they offered something in the ballpark, Jason would have signed out of loyalty like Lee did. Plus if he knew they were in on Lee, I’m sure he would of taken less money. He’s gonna be missed. Even with the three aces in our rotation, I dont know how our offense is going to be, Brown was really disappointing last season.

    Glad to see people agreeing about JA Happ, though. People on this blog sure know their baseball. I think he wins 15 despite a bad Astros offense backing him.

  8. Mr. Feeny

    December 23, 2010 03:41 PM


    It’s would have or would’ve not would of.

  9. bryan

    December 23, 2010 04:20 PM

    Werth’s agent reportedly didn’t even go to other teams to match washington’s offer because of how much they overpaid for him. He’s going to be making around 17 mil AAV until his age 38 season, we should be thankful the phillies didn’t take on that financial burden to go along with howard’s.

    Trading high on happ was a great idea, he seemed primed for a regression. In 2009 he has a .270 babip and an 85 LOB%, which seemed unsustainable for a pitcher of his makeup. Those numbers were actually similar this season as well but i still believe his ceiling is a 3/4 starter.

  10. KH

    December 23, 2010 04:56 PM

    J.A. Happ is a guy with fifth starter stuff that through dumb luck somehow has pitched like a 3 or 4 so far during his time in the major leagues. Trading him for Oswalt was a no brainer.

  11. Chris

    December 23, 2010 08:42 PM

    How is Brown’s difficulty with up-and-in pitches due to his high hand placement at the start of his swing? Also, I think it might be easier/more fruitful for him to try and just not swing at up-and-in pitches than to adjust his swing just so he could hit them. Regardless, it does seem Brown had difficulty with anything above his waist, judging by the ISO map. Just out of curiosity, is there any chance you could make similar heat maps of his AA and/or AAA ABs?

  12. Steve

    December 24, 2010 03:19 PM

    The Happ as an ace stuff was sarcasm right? Please tell me that was sarcasm.

  13. FanSince09

    December 25, 2010 09:08 PM

    All I want for christmas is Coal Hammel traded to LA for Matt Kemp.

  14. hk

    December 25, 2010 09:14 PM

    Only if the Dodgers throw in Rod Barajas.

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