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Luis Robert : Batting Stance or Impatience ?


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First I thought I would throw a couple of things out there to look at. 1st is 2021 highlights of Luis . For fun you could look at his batting stance at the beginning of the video and then skip to the last minute  and look at it. Vast difference and at various points you can see his stance opening up little by little.

There's also this Fangraph's article after the season last year breaking down his stances and results: https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-closer-look-at-luis-roberts-post-injury-breakout/

Clearly his work with Menechino during his injury paid off, but Symborski brought up an interesting point:

"Robert’s O-Swing% showed minor improvement but was still too high and could hold him back if pitchers tease him out of the strike zone more than they do now. He actually saw more pitches in the zone (Zone%) as the season went on (and saw a roughly league-average Zone% last season), which seems like a mistake the league won’t make next season. What will happen when pitchers start treating him closer to the likes of Javier Báez and he starts seeing a Zone% more befitting his aggressiveness? That’s where he needs to continue to grow and adjust, and I imagine pitchers will force the issue on him next season. "

Maybe Robert went a little overboard when he just kept opening his stance more and more but the fundamental problem is that he still isn't selective on what to swing at.

I'm no expert on how to analyze his swing rates from this year so I'm asking for some help. Have the pitchers adjusted and is he getting more pitches out of the zone ? Have pitchers forced the issue on him taking advantage of Robert aggressiveness like Symborski said they would ?

I know none of us would like to see him end up like Baez.

 

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He's turned himself into an opposite field singles hitter with this stance, that needs a bit time mistake to make good contact.  Its awful.  How they haven't tried to close him up a bit is beyond me.  

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2 minutes ago, ChiSox59 said:

He's turned himself into an opposite field singles hitter with this stance, that needs a bit time mistake to make good contact.  Its awful.  How they haven't tried to close him up a bit is beyond me.  

Presuming of course the new stance isn't thier doing. 

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26 minutes ago, Tnetennba said:

Both?

 

19 minutes ago, Texsox said:

Both plus Tony. 

Ok but how do you explain how much better he was after his injury with the new stance. I know the article said he was pitched league average in zone so when that was happening he was a monster with the new stance.  It's also hard to say since he kept opening his stance more and more which stance was the best, slightly open, a little more open or what it was at the end of last year and into this year.

If the pitcher have adjusted then it seems to me it's his aggressiveness causing the problem.

But again maybe @Balta1701 or some of our experts can take a look and actually not just guess .

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1 minute ago, Bob Sacamano said:

Who was the hitting coach prior? I feel like some guys had good years in 2019 and 2020 and then poof, the hitting coach was let go.

Menechino was the 2020 hitting coach. Before him was Todd Steverson.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Tnetennba said:

Presuming of course the new stance isn't thier doing. 

Did you even read the article ? Frankly it's disturbing when someone comments when they don't educate themselves 1st. Plus I told you he worked with Menechino on that stance.

Edited by CaliSoxFanViaSWside
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He's swinging at more stuff outside the zone and he's making more contact on it. But a lot of that contact is weak grounders, so while that helps cut down his K rate, it also doesn't really give you anything productive results-wise. He's getting about 5% less pitches in the zone, which is something the FanGraphs article kind of predicted the league would do. Why throw Robert strikes when he swings at balls for weak contact? He's getting himself out. 

A striking contrast between 2021 and 2022 is just how bad he's been vs. the fastball. He had a .429 wOBA on the fastball last year. This year, it's .218 and it's been the best pitch to use against him. 

One big difference in fastball usage this year vs. last year is that pitchers tended to attack Robert high and away with the fastball. The change to his stance helped him attack those fastballs he had issues with down the stretch in 2020. And Menechino deserves a ton of credit for it. 

This is the fastball heatmap in 2021:

bJhCngA.jpg

So the league adjusted in 2022. They decided to throw more waist high inside fastballs and fastballs low and away. 

This is the heatmap for 2022:

Y798087.jpg

So while the adjustments they made in 2021 helped with the high fastball, it also exposed him to inside fastballs and low and away fastballs. The low and away fastball tunnels perfectly with the low and away slider, which Luis already has issues against. The league has adjusted. Luis needs to adjust back. This isn't just about him swinging at more pitches, it's also about how the league has adjusted to Luis' adjustment. One of Menechino's most impressive feats as hitting coach was unlocking Robert last year vs. the fastball and now he needs to earn his money and do it again. 

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13 minutes ago, Quin said:

Menechino was the 2020 hitting coach. Before him was Todd Steverson.

Looking at Moncada (second full season in MLB) and Jimenez's (rookie year) 2019 seasons, wtf. 

Edit: still focusing on core guys, TA had a great year.

Edit 2: I do remember thinking at the time that it was weird timing to let the hitting coach go/walk.

Edited by Bob Sacamano
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2 minutes ago, chw42 said:

He's swinging at more stuff outside the zone and he's making more contact on it. But a lot of that contact is weak grounders, so while that helps cut down his K rate, it also doesn't really give you anything productive results-wise. He's getting about 5% less pitches in the zone, which is something the FanGraphs article kind of predicted the league would do. Why throw Robert strikes when he swings at balls for weak contact? He's getting himself out. 

A striking contrast between 2021 and 2022 is just how bad he's been vs. the fastball. He had a .429 wOBA on the fastball last year. This year, it's .218 and it's been the best pitch to use against him. 

One big difference in fastball usage this year vs. last year is that pitchers tended to attack Robert high and away with the fastball. The change to his stance helped him attack those fastballs he had issues with down the stretch in 2020. And Menechino deserves a ton of credit for it. 

This is the fastball heatmap in 2021:

bJhCngA.jpg

So the league adjusted in 2022. They decided to throw more waist high inside fastballs and fastballs low and away. 

This is the heatmap for 2022:

Y798087.jpg

So while the adjustments they made in 2021 helped with the high fastball, it also exposed him to inside fastballs and low and away fastballs. The low and away fastball tunnels perfectly with the low and away slider, which Luis already has issues against. The league has adjusted. Luis needs to adjust back. This isn't just about him swinging at more pitches, it's also about how the league has adjusted to Luis' adjustment. One of Menechino's most impressive feats as hitting coach was unlocking Robert last year vs. the fastball and now he needs to earn his money and do it again. 

Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for. So if he closed his stance a little more and perhaps he should put a little more effort into laying off the outside pitches and frankly off the plate inside too.  He just has to start taking more walks. If Abreu  could learn to do it at 35 perhaps he could get through to Robert  and teach him how to be more of a zone hitter. It's all between the ears now for Robert to curb his aggressiveness and really concentrate on pitch recognition. I know I make it sound simple when it isn't but would you agree in general ?

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12 minutes ago, southsider2k5 said:

We get it.

Tony is not creating a positive, confident attitude. It's tough to break out of a slump when your manager keeps putting the team in bad positions and you are losing.

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5 minutes ago, CaliSoxFanViaSWside said:

Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for. So if he closed his stance a little more and perhaps he should put a little more effort into laying off the outside pitches and frankly off the plate inside too.  He just has to start taking more walks. If Abreu  could learn to do it at 35 perhaps he could get through to Robert  and teach him how to be more of a zone hitter. It's all between the ears now for Robert to curb his aggressiveness and really concentrate on pitch recognition. I know I make it sound simple when it isn't but would you agree in general ?

I think solving fastball coverage is far more important than swinging less honestly (not to say this isn't important). I think the issue at heart here is that pitchers have found a hole in Luis' swing/approach. He has 0 hits so far on the low and away fastball that is in the zone. That's not a pitch you can just take, so patience alone won't solve that hole in his swing. Pitchers are using that pitch about 6% more against him this year. He's also getting a lot less hits out of the zone and low/away. He thrived on those last year.

I think I'm starting to understand why he's been flailing and just trying to make contact on outside pitches. Menechino must be telling him that making contact there is better than taking it or striking out on it. While that's probably true when you have 2 strikes on you, it seems like he's doing that when he doesn't have any strikes on him, which seems problematic. 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, chw42 said:

I think solving fastball coverage is far more important than swinging less honestly (not to say this isn't important). I think the issue at heart here is that pitchers have found a hole in Luis' swing/approach. He has 0 hits so far on the low and away fastball that is in the zone. That's not a pitch you can just take, so patience alone won't solve that hole in his swing. Pitchers are using that pitch about 6% more against him this year. He's also getting a lot less hits out of the zone and low/away. He thrived on those last year.

I think I'm starting to understand why he's been flailing and just trying to make contact on outside pitches. Menechino must be telling him that making contact there is better than taking it or striking out on it. While that's probably true when you have 2 strikes on you, it seems like he's doing that when he doesn't have any strikes on him, which seems problematic. 

I know he was scorching hot when he 1st came back from injury in August and September 2021 and his stance wasn't nearly as exaggerated as it is now but it was getting there around the middle of Sept when you look at the pictures in the Fangraphs article. He wasn't taking many walks in August and Sept. so perhaps he was taking more pitches per plate appearance than he is now ? Or maybe just got a lot more pitches in the zone to swing at?

I think i like the stances from August 14 and 27th best. I really have no idea why it continued to get more open to the exaggerated way he looks now. He does have that leg kick as a timing mechanism and that gets pointed out when guys with leg kicks are slumping like Trout that their timing is messed up. With the legs so far apart he's making his timing mechanism bigger/longer which could explain why he's so bad on fastballs now. Get back to that mid/late August stance, make the timing mechanism a little shorter. That could solve the fastball coverage you brought up.

Edited by CaliSoxFanViaSWside
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2 minutes ago, CaliSoxFanViaSWside said:

I know he was scorching hot when he 1st came back from injury in August and September 2021 and his stance wasn't nearly as exaggerated as it is now but it was getting there around the middle of Sept when you look at the pictures in the Fangraphs article. He wasn't taking many walks in August and Sept. so perhaps he was taking more pitches per plate appearance than he is now ? Or maybe just got a lot more pitches in the zone to swing at?

I think i like the stances from August 14 and 27th best. I really have no idea why it continued to get more open to the exaggerated way he looks now. He does have that leg kick as a timing mechanism and that gets pointed out when guys with leg kicks are slumping like Trout that their timing is messed up. With the legs so far apart he's making his timing mechanism bigger/longer which could explain why he's so bad on fastballs now. Get back to that mid/late August stance, make the timing mechanism a little shorter. That could solve the fastball coverage you brought up.

This is a good point. He's definitely a little more open now than he was last year. I think I said a few times that he looked like Tony Bautista up there with how open his stance was. I'm still not really sure what the point of opening up more was. Maybe to get him to stop swinging at outside pitches? That doesn't really seem to be working. 

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10 minutes ago, chw42 said:

This is a good point. He's definitely a little more open now than he was last year. I think I said a few times that he looked like Tony Bautista up there with how open his stance was. I'm still not really sure what the point of opening up more was. Maybe to get him to stop swinging at outside pitches? That doesn't really seem to be working. 

I know Robert cannot produce for his career like he did in August and September last year but something where he could still demolish mistakes in the zone and get that slugging percent back to where it belongs at .500 rather than .400 would be a huge step. Now he's starting to remind me of Eloy with that crazy stance that's forcing more oppo hitting , increasing GB rate and zapping pull power. Cutting down on K's isn't the answer if your OPS is .700 and your slugging is .400.

Right now Robert is so open that when he takes his practice swings in the box his barrel barely reaches the inner half of the plate and he's late on way too many fastballs. it's almost like he has to lunge to reach anything on the outer half when he used to be able to drive those pitches and smash them to CF.

I just looked on Baseball Savant and his chase rate is near the worst in the majors , in the 1st percentile, so he does seem to be way too aggressive and impatient. His Launch angle is down to 8.1 which is way below the 13.8 from last year after the injury. His sweet spot % is down 7.6%

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