Posted by: Peter | May 10, 2008

Gomez Update: Walk On

I had already finished and posted my Carlos Gomez analysis when the G-man went ahead and became the winning run in tonight’s exciting game. So of course I couldn’t go to sleep without writing up a coda on this game.

As Dick & Bert noted, this was only Gomez’s fourth walk of the year(!), so that in itself is noteworthy. Beyond that, though, I wondered: how did Gomez’s performance accord with my analysis? Any good scientist will tell you, after all, that one of the best tests of a model is how well it fits new data.

First, here’s a plot of all the pitches Gomez saw tonight:

After having just spent all day with Gomez’s pitch data, this graph immediately looked really weird to me. So much so, in fact, that I went and loaded up Gameday just to make sure I hadn’t plotted the data wrong.

What’s so odd? Well, the Red Sox decided to pitch Gomez inside tonight. And if you look back at the pitch plots in my earlier post, you’ll see that virtually no-one has done that this year. It’s been away, away, away.

Other than that, though, tonight mostly seems in keeping with my analysis of Gomez’s recent transformation into a better hitter. He laid off the pitches low and away, just as he has done since April 23rd. And the Red Sox didn’t give him much offspeed stuff, which is also consistent with the recent data. When Gomez did swing at pitches out of the strike zone, they were high pitches–again, consistent with what we’ve seen lately.

But the big news, of course, was that our man worked a walk. Here’s how he did it against Jonathan Papelbon. He got nothing but fastballs; he fouled off the ones in the strike zone, and he let the other ones go for balls. Simple as that. Observe how it’s done (red means foul, black means ball):

Of course, Carlos’s new plate discipline could still be a fluke. But you can’t help but love this at bat!

Meanwhile, the other hero of the game was Mike Lamb, who blooped a single to bring in the winning runs. That was a welcome change from what Lamb has done for most of this season, which is make tons and tons of outs. In fact, just as Lamb was coming up in the ninth inning, I was thinking that I needed to start working out my next in-depth analysis, tentatively titled “Why Does Mike Lamb Suck So Much?” And I’m still planning on doing it. But maybe if we’re lucky, tonight was the beginning of Lamb’s Gomez-like transformation from scrub into impact player.


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