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A Graph: Schumaker’s Plate Approach

July 10, 2010

Used as the Cardinals’ lead-off hitter the past two seasons, Skip Schumaker is finding himself in one of the worst funks of his career. His .292 wOBA combined with sub-par defense (-6 runs according to UZR) means that he’s been a replacement level second baseman so far on the season, not at all what we were hoping for out of Skippy this season, to say the least.

So what’s wrong? Looking at his plate discipline numbers, it doesn’t seem he’s seeing the ball very well. His strikeout rate is up 1% and his walk rate is down 1%. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but digging a little deeper we see that he has been hacky, so this trend of more K’s and less walks could continue to get worse. Schumaker is swinging at 33.1% pitches out of the zone so far this season, a 6% increase from the season earlier. What’s he swinging at?

By the looks of things, Skippy is having trouble discerning letting a few pitches that are wide outside and low outside. It’s particularly amusing to how low some of these pitches are that he’s swung at.

If Schumaker wants to go back to leading off, or for that matter keep his job as the every day second baseman when Freese returns, he’ll need to show a little better discipline than he has this year so far.

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