5-23-2011: Papi’s new groove

I posted a few weeks ago about how David Ortiz seems to have completely changed his plate approach, and how it has really revived his career. Big Papi appeared to be reaching the end of his DHing career the past two seasons, but has really broken out this season.

Take a look at his Fenway spray charts from this year compared to last season:

Spray charts taken from redsox.com

You can see how he’s really spreading the ball out and using the opposite field. Papi has always peppered the Monster for singles and doubles, but the distribution is different. Notice that he hasn’t pulled a single double down the line this year, and half of his Fenway HRs have been Monster shots, while he hit only 4 of those all of last year. Also of note, no bunt/infield singles to the left side against the overshift.

Maybe it’s the influence of Adrian Gonzalez, as Rob Bradford has suggested. Maybe it’s not being expected to be the only lefty power bat in the lineup. Whatever it is, it’s working, as Papi’s .299/.373/.530 slash line can attest. A big part of that success is his .300/.397/.480 against southpaws. Different approach? Small sample size (58 PA)? Time will tell.


2 Responses to 5-23-2011: Papi’s new groove

  1. Pat says:

    Remarkably, Ortiz is only striking out 11% of the time this year, compared to 28% last year and 21% lifetime.

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