Sexson Sexson Sexson
Building off Dave’s Sexson post yesterday, I just wanted to throw today’s pitches up for contrast, using stills of MLB’s fine Gameday tracking to demonstrate something.
“Mystical Fork of Supreme Flatness” by qnr, creative commons licensed
I mean, uhhhh…. let’s take a look at Sexson’s at-bats today, and see if there’s anything they can tell us.
First, a disclaimer: I don’t have any idea how pitchfx is classifying these. Pitches with identical breaks and speeds are sometimes down as different types. I don’t know.
This is the weird one of the day. Ibanez is on second.
1: Watches an 87mph pitch a little up and in
2: Takes way inside
3: Takes right down the middle, takes. With a runner on second, Sexson lets an 88mph flat fastball down the middle of the plate go. It’s called a ball.
4: Swings and misses at something off the plate
5: Takes way inside
6: Fouls off an 80 mph slider on the up-out corner.
7: Takes a faster version of that same pitch for the walk.
Here’s the odd stuff: that 3rd pitch. You’d think he’d crush that.
Then, 6-7: he’s fouling off an 80mph pitch without a ton of break on it? Okay, so maybe he just didn’t have the timing right — but then served the same pitch again, but faster, he didn’t even offer.
I don’t get it. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. He’s a free-swinging power-hitting masher, both of those should have been delicious. If he’s swinging at 80mph breaking stuff in that spot but passing on 88mph breaking stuff in the same location, I’m worried.
Swings at the first pitch, a pretty nice thigh-high 85mph slider. He grounds to third.
You would think your #4 hitter would crush that pitch.
Sexson’s up against Jennings, who is being cuffed around and just walked Ibanez. Sexson swings at and misses an 80mph slider that looks pretty meaty, lets two pretty obvious balls go by, and then given a second 80mph slider in almost exactly the same place, pops out to short.
Even when given slow breaking pitches without much break, Sexson’s grounding to the left side of the infield. Ugh. If Sexson can’t hit those, I don’t know what we can expect him to hit. Jennings repeatedly gave him chances to hit weak breaking stuff and Sexson did nothing with them.
Now it’s not as if the other right-handers handled that pitch much better. Beltre, given the same pitch in the 4th, grounded out to third. Lopez repeatedly swung at similar pitches even farther up in the zone. But Jennings threw a lot of weird stuff at Sexson — only two fastballs in three plate appearances — and it worked.
Jamey Wright puts up a pretty weak fastball, which Sexson watches for a strike. Sexson then swings at a second fastball in, up, and off the plate, managing to pull it to third base.
Ugh. If these are serious gaps in Sexson’s game, every team with an advanced scout is going to hang golden sombreros on him by feeding him breaking pitches on the outside corners and letting him get himself out swinging or weakly grounding out. They don’t even need to challenge his bat speed right now.
Update: Look at Sexon’s pitch f/x data for last year if you want to be even more worried. Josh Kalk built a sweet tool for this.