Going the Other Way

One of the themes I hear fairly frequently is the Cardinals ability and desire to go up the middle and the other way. I thought it would be worthwhile to see how well reality matches perception. First the numbers for going to the opposite field (all data in the post is derived using Fangraphs.com splits data and is for 2013 only)

Team wOBA
Reds 0.360
Brewers 0.356
Red Sox 0.351
Indians 0.351
Rockies 0.336
Giants 0.335
Rangers 0.333
Angels 0.325
Tigers 0.324
Astros 0.321
Royals 0.317
Athletics 0.309
Diamondbacks 0.308
Braves 0.307
Cardinals 0.304
Orioles 0.300
Twins 0.298
Mariners 0.299
Mets 0.300
Blue Jays 0.288
Nationals 0.287
Phillies 0.289
Dodgers 0.287
Yankees 0.285
Pirates 0.282
Rays 0.274
White Sox 0.272
Padres 0.272
Cubs 0.267
Marlins 0.267

Clearly not much to write home about here. The Birds sit dead in the middle of the pack. From an individual perspective the folks that you would expect to be near the top of the Cardinals leader board are there(Freese, Molina,Carpenter,Craig) and the bottom has folks that aren’t too surprising either (Beltran and Kozma).

Moving on to up the middle

Team wOBA
Diamondbacks 0.382
Orioles 0.371
Braves 0.362
Cardinals 0.361
Padres 0.361
Red Sox 0.359
Rangers 0.355
Dodgers 0.345
Astros 0.344
Angels 0.344
White Sox 0.342
Rockies 0.342
Rays 0.339
Cubs 0.339
Tigers 0.338
Nationals 0.337
Pirates 0.335
Mariners 0.334
Phillies 0.333
Giants 0.332
Blue Jays 0.331
Reds 0.329
Indians 0.328
Brewers 0.328
Athletics 0.323
Yankees 0.322
Twins 0.317
Mets 0.305
Marlins 0.293
Royals 0.291

Here we see the Cards bubbling more towards the top of the list.  For this the team leaders were Beltran and Craig, with Carpenter and Holliday not far behind.

Finally I have a table that compares the wOBAs as a percent of the wOBA to the pull field, to see if teams are nearly as good at hitting the ball up the middle and the other way as they are at pulling it (where all teams wOBA is highest).

Team Middle wOBA Oppo wOBA
Brewers 83% 90%
Giants 89% 89%
Reds 81% 89%
Royals 79% 87%
Angels 88% 83%
Rangers 88% 83%
Marlins 89% 81%
Indians 74% 79%
Diamondbacks 97% 78%
Mariners 87% 77%
Astros 83% 77%
Tigers 79% 76%
Nationals 89% 76%
Dodgers 91% 76%
Athletics 79% 75%
Twins 80% 75%
Mets 75% 74%
Red Sox 75% 73%
Phillies 82% 71%
Yankees 80% 71%
White Sox 89% 71%
Orioles 87% 71%
Cardinals 84% 71%
Rockies 71% 70%
Braves 81% 69%
Padres 91% 68%
Blue Jays 78% 68%
Pirates 79% 66%
Cubs 83% 66%
Rays 77% 62%

Interestingly the table seems to indicate that the Cardinals are getting more of their value out of pulling the ball than a lot of other teams. It’s not to say that they aren’t good at going up the middle per se (the previous table shows they are) just that they are really good at pulling the ball so far this year. Clearly all of this is still in a reasonably small sample size.

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