For Kelly Shoppach's Bat Fastball:Good::Breaking Balls:Bad

Kelly Shoppach's swing and miss issues are nothing new. The overall contact issues have been illustrated here, and also by RZ (formally of Rays Party) here. Specifically, I want to see is what pitches does he tend struggle with? With a K-rate of over 35% the answer, not surprisingly, is most of them.

Kelly Shoppach is a fastball hitter. There's no two ways about it. In 2009, he whiffed on around 10% of all fastballs thrown. This is by far the lowest of any pitch in which he received a fair amount of sample size. Career wise, his higest pitch value is far and away on the heater. With his power, any fastball over the plate and slightly elevated is likely to end up somewhere near the left field party deck.

Breaking balls? That's a different story.

Like many free-swinging, power hitters, Shoppach's kryptonite comes in the form of breaking balls. Sliders and Curveballs (especially low and away) give him fits. He made contact with air on 17.5% of curveballs in 2009, and came up empty on nearly a quarter (24.3%) of the sliders thrown in his general area. It's not surprising his lowest pitch values are also associated with these bendy pitches.


Nonetheless, breaking balls aren't the pitch missed most by Shoppach's bat. While seeing the pitch only 7.3% of the time in 2009, he missed the change-up over 31% of the time (28 of 90). The strange part is his wCH is his second highest pitch value, trailing the fastball. I'm assuming that while he is easily fooled by change-ups, if he guesses correctly, he's likely to hit it hard.

Despite the splits showing Shoppach's affinity for left-handed pitching, He is an equal opportunity hacker. He misses on slightly less fast balls and change ups against righties, but whiffs on more sliders and curves against lefties.

Nothing ground-breaking, but prepared for heavy doses of breaking pitches (again, mostly low and away) against Shoppach follwed by a bunch of empty offerings. However, if a pitcher leaves a fastball over the dish, or if a "get me over" change-up doesn't quite get over, it's likely to put Shoppach on-base or runs on the board.

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