Looking Once More at Dioner Navarro

Player A: 17% liners, 41.2% fly balls, 7.8% walks, 17.3% strikeouts

Player B: 17.6% liners, 41.8% fly balls, 2% walks, 14.5% strikeouts

Both are Dioner Navarro. "A" is 2007, "B" is 2009. Believe it or not, this season is a lot worse. Navarro isn't hitting for as much power, not walking as much, and he's costing the Rays some real money. ZiPS projects for Navarro to finish at -20 runs, which is just abysmal. Two whole wins despite ZiPS forecasting regression and therefore softening the blow.

The problem with Navarro isn't contact; he's hitting 87% of the pitches he swings at. Instead it's what he's making contact with. Navarro is swinging at more pitches outside of the zone, and making more contact with those balls while making less contact with pitches in the zone. Guys aren't throwing Navarro pitches in the zone and when they do, it's usually a diet of fastballs.  More contact, but on bad pitches. As you would suspect, this is a bad combination.

It sounds stupid, but the best thing for Navarro might be making less contact, at least out of the zone. Unless he's brain dead, less contact would tell him to swing less, not more, and thus he would take a few pitches that would be called balls. He seems to lack confidence in his ability to judge pitches and their placement, which leads to a ton of fouls. Navarro is attempting to avoid striking out, and by doing so is actually costing himself a few walks along the way.

I've said it before, and here we go again. At this point, adding an upgrade at catcher is the easiest way to give this team an additional win or two. Who and for what? I don't know.

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