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javier baez featureBrett wrote yesterday about the pronounced day/night splits put up by Javier Baez this season, and how Jason Parks briefly pondered if there was something to that split that might explain his poor performance so far. I don’t quite buy that argument, personally. Baez clobbered baseballs in night games last season in Tennessee, and he clobbered baseballs last season in day games in Daytona. Had a second sun mysteriously appeared in the sky last summer, I don’t doubt that Baez would have still clobbered baseballs.  I’m not convinced that day or night has much to do with his struggles.

Baez is showing a similarly pronounced split this year in his road/home splits. At home his slash line is .182/.273/.377, but on the road that plummets to .125/.186/.125. That’s right, Baez has yet to hit an extra base hit on the road. But I don’t think that really explains very much either.

The split that I suspect tells the truest story on Baez is his line when he is ahead in the count as compared to behind in the count.

Ahead in the count: .250/.500/.500
Behind in the count: .150/.150/.300

Unfortunately he only has twenty four at bats in which he is ahead in the count this season, so his OPS of 1.000 in those at bats is having a limited impact on his overall line. And, like all these splits, drawing any firm conclusions from these numbers is hampered by the sample size issue.

With all that aside, though, I think the best takeaway from examining the splits is that Baez needs to do a better job getting himself ahead in the count. When he does that he is rewarded with pitches he can punish. When he doesn’t, he’s a fairly easy out. If you are looking for signs that he is turning the corner (and who isn’t?), there are some to be found. In addition to his current hitting streak, Baez is swinging at fewer pitches out of the strike zone in May (18.6%) than he was in April (23.1%). Progress.

Scores From Yesterday

Iowa - The Cubs took the early lead, but it didn’t stand up. Iowa lost 4-2.
Tennessee - Tennessee broke through in the fifth and never trailed in this 3-1 win.
Daytona - Daytona scored in the eighth to pull away for a 4-2 win.
Kane County - Kane County was rained out in Wisconsin.

Performances of Note

  • [Iowa] Javier Baez hit safely in his fourth straight game and finished 1 for 4 with a double (no strikeouts!). He is currently on his longest hitting streak of the 2014 season.
  • [Iowa] Josh Vitters finished 2 for 4 with a strikeout.
  • [Iowa] Jeffry Antigua allowed a hit and struck out one in his inning in relief of Chris Rusin. Rusin allowed 4 runs (3 earned) and struck out 5 in his 7 innings on the mound.
  • [Tennessee] John Andreoli had another good day, finishing 2 for 4 and stealing his 23rd base. Jae-Hoon Ha and Wes Darvill also had 2 hits apiece.
  • [Tennessee] Stephen Bruno hit his third triple of the season for his one hit.
  • [Tennessee] Kris Bryant did not start this game, but he came off the bench to drill a pinch hit double that drove in a pair. His OPS now sits at 1.019.
  • [Tennessee] Pierce Johnson pitched 4 innings of no-hit ball, walking 2 and striking out 2, before being lifted after 47 pitches. It’s presently unclear why he departed early.
  • [Daytona] The multi-hit streak continues as Albert Almora finished this one 2 for 5. After collecting at least two hits in each of his last six games, Almora’s May OPS is up to .807.
  • [Daytona] Pin-Chieh Chen doubled twice and walked as he finished 2 for 4.
  • [Daytona] Yao-Lin Wang allowed a lone hit in 5 innings while walking 3 and striking out 4.

Other News

  • Justin Ruggiano made his first rehab start for Iowa and finished 2 for 3.
  • Speaking of odd splits, take a look at Josh Vitters again. Against lefties he has an OPS of just .495, but against right handers that climbs to .752. That is exactly the opposite of what we would expect to see. Sample size warnings apply, of course, but it is an interesting reverse split nonetheless. And not one I have a readily available explanation for, either
  • Kane County is in Wisconsin right now, and that means you can watch them on MiLB.TV if you are a subscriber. I strongly recommend you take advantage of this. Kane County is a very good team that has a lot of very good pitchers (and some pretty interesting bats (particularly at catcher)), and they do not appear on MiLB.TV very often. Feast your eyes while there is feasting to be had.

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