|Photo courtesy of Les Treagus / Norfolk Tides.|
And so my impressions of Trey Mancini are less positive than perhaps they should be, based on his statistical line. I remember several close games, in which the Tides were tied or trailing by one run, when Mancini - who usually batted third - came to the plate with runners in scoring position. And, based on his earlier performance in similar situations, I expected him to swing-and-miss at the first pitch and subsequently make an out, failing to drive in a run or even advance the runners.
But was this perception accurate? During the season, did Mancini swing at the first pitch? When he did swing, how often did he miss? How many pitches did he see during his at-bats? I could review my scoresheets (yes, I have to keep scoresheets on paper during my games and yes, I keep them - I have four binders with eleven years' worth of Norfolk Tides scoresheets) and spot the specific instances I remember. But that would be so few plate appearances as to have little value. Instead, I looked at all of Mancini's plate appearances in games I scored. Over the season, I have records of 44 of Mancini's games, encompassing 188 plate appearances.
Did Trey Mancini tend to swing at the first pitch?
Not in the games I scored, no.. He took the first pitch 123 times and swung at the first pitch 65 times. He put the ball in play 15 times, and was hit by the first pitch once.
How did he do when he saw only one pitch in an at-bat?
Not terribly well in the games I saw. He had only four hits in the fifteen at-bats - but three of those hits were home runs. Adding his HBP, that gave him a slash line of .267/.313/.867 when he saw only one pitch in a plate appearance. The slugging percentage is nice, but the on-base percentage and (especially) the batting average are lower than usual for a one-pitch plate appearance.
How many pitches did he see in a typical plate appearance?
Just under four in the games I saw - 3.99 to be precise to the hundredths place. A complete breakdown follows:
1 pitch: 16 PA
2 pitches: 26 PA
3 pitches: 43 PA
4 pitches: 28 PA
5 pitches: 33 PA
6 pitches: 25 PA
7 pitches: 12 PA
8 pitches: 4 PA
10 pitches: 1 PA
What did he do with all these pitches?
Called Balls: 268
Called Strikes: 114
Swinging Strikes: 114
Foul Balls: 123
Put in Play: 117
It's noteworthy that 37.78% of his plate appearances ended without the ball being put in play. At first glance, that seemed high. And it is a little bit high for Mancini; overall with the Tides he put the ball in play in 32.65% of his plate appearances. For comparison, 28.16% of the Norfolk Tides plate appearances ended without the ball being put in play; for the International League as a whole, the figure is 28.92%.
The main takeaway from this review is that my impression of Mancini as an overaggressive hitter was wrong. He didn't swing at the first pitch an inordinate amount of time; he did see a reasonable number of pitches per plate appearance. There isn't any reason for me to be concerned that Mancini is too aggressive and that aggressiveness will be a flaw exposed at the major league level.