The Cincinnati Reds have the same core of hitters with just a couple of new faces from last year.
It should come as no surprise that Cincinnati Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto rates out as a very patient hitter. He averaged 4.28 pitches per plate appearance and had very similar numbers across ground balls, line drives, and fly balls. Over the course of the season, Votto only swung and missed 214 times.
By contrast center fielder Billy Hamilton graded out as a neutral hitter. He finally pounded the ball into the ground, hitting almost as many ground balls as line drives and fly balls combined. He only averaged 3.85 pitches per plate appearance, swinging and missing 149 times in 2016.
Adam Duvall, the Reds’ home run hitting All-Star, hits the ball in the air. Seeing only 3.66 pitches per plate appearance, he is a very aggressive hitter. He swung at almost as many as he took, taking only 13 more pitches in 2016.
A hitter that has tried to learn from both Duvall and Votto is third base man, Eugenio Suarez, who is a fly ball hitter that is very patient. He swung and missed at 267 pitches, but he also saw 4.14 pitches per plate appearance. Suarez took nearly 1500 pitches and two-thirds of them were balls, demonstrating a good eye with room for improvement.
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Unlike Suarez, right fielder Scott Schebler appears to be taking his lead from Hamilton and Duvall, as he pounds ball into the ground. Schebler is also an aggressive hitter as he saw only 3.69 pitches per plate appearance. Much like Duvall, he also took and swung at about the same number of pitches.
The Cincinnati Reds have been trying to move to more patient hitters, but that takes time.
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The player that the Reds finally traded this off-season, former second baseman Brandon Phillips, is a very aggressive hitter. He hits the ball into the ground and only looks at 3.58 pitches per plate appearance. In 2016 Phillips swung 150% as much as he took the ball.
The other player that appears on his way out the door, shortstop Zack Cozart, also grades out as an aggressive hitter. For his part, Cozart hits the ball in the air at Great American Ballpark and sees 3.74 pitches per appearance. Cozart took about 100 more pitches than he swung at during 2016.
The other player who is no longer with the Reds is the neutral, fly ball hitter, Jay Bruce.
He looked at 3.91 pitches per plate appearance, and took and swung at about the same number of pitches. He provided some balance to the aggression of Cozart and Phillips before his trade to the New York Mets.
As the Reds move forward, they are likely to make the decision on who to keep based on their approach to the plate. Suarez is taking the approach that the Reds want, while Duvall is not. It will be interesting to see which one of them is here for the longhaul.