20 January 2010

Garrett Atkins Power

A few weeks back, Daniel Moroz over at Camden Crazies posted the observation that Garrett Atkins home runs have been whittled down to pull shots. He mentions that Atkins use to have more of an "all fields" power, which I do not think is very debatable. I think Moroz' point was not to say that Atkins utilizes all fields, but that there were home runs to right. As in, it was not a true talent assessment. It was a descriptive observation.

Atkins has always been a pull power hitter. It was just that sometimes he managed to hit a couple in right center. In my opinion a true power to all fields type of hitter would have more of a spread distribution. Such a hitter is also typically more of a level plane hitter as an uppercut swing is more difficult to alter timing on for outside pitches. It seems this sort of hitter more often comes early (grounders) or late (infield and short outfield popups) than getting meaningful contact.

After the jump, I'll go into my analysis of Atkins.

Here are two charts of Atkins hit performance. First is his 2008 season and second is his 2009 season. What you will notice is a general power depression. His hit dispersal is still roughly the same rate. It is just the average flight distance has dropped about 10 feet. This follows suit with the numbers. He still delivers a flyball rate just past 40% and his HR/Fly rate decreased from 9.9% to 7.3%. If you look at Moroz' graphs, you will get a similar conclusion just by looking at the proportion of balls leaving the park and traveling 400 ft. Atkins just does not have the power anymore.

I think it is fairly safe to assume two things:

1. Atkins will not reach back to his mid-aughts power days.
2. He perform slightly better than he did last year now that he has moved to a smaller park.

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