The Blue Jays Espinal is taking the right approach to navigating the first slump of the season

Milwaukee, Wisconsin — It’s hard to get into a slump.Earlier this season, Joey Votto explained it as follows: Labyrinth.. “People feel trapped, lonely, and confused,” he writes. Santiago Espinal is a bit less dramatic. He rode one-thirty-five for just a week and a half. He doesn’t even know what the maze is. He simply calls it “frustrating”. But he agrees with the bot on the spiritual side.

“When you’re in a slump, your mind controls everything,” says Espinal. “And it’s easy to fall into a trap that cloud your mind with many thoughts and ideas that you really shouldn’t.”

One of the thoughts Espinal had to avoid: what’s even a strike anymore? Sometimes he is not sure. The double wormy he’s experiencing right now is that the strike zones he’s seen since the slump began on June 16th look like this:

Well, yes, some of the out-of-zone pitches called strikes against Espinal are from the Doug Edings game and certainly don’t need to be restarted. But not some of them. Remember that Jameson Taillon offended him at the Rogers Center over the weekend?

What about the 96 mph Luis Severino heater, which scraped off the batter’s box on the other side and brought another punchout to Espinal the next day?

This was Matinee’s 6 innings in Chicago on Wednesday, with Eddings on third base and couldn’t do any more harm.

And ok, because we’re here, the smash cut of Eding repeatedly hose the Espinal the night before:

smile. Anyway, it’s hard enough for a batter to stick to the approach when he’s in the maze, slumps, and doesn’t get good results the day after the frustrating day. But when you feel that the rules of the game are leaning towards you, it’s almost impossible to be patient and disciplined, as expanding the strike zone doesn’t give the pitcher any further benefits.

“It’s difficult because the pitch you were thinking of is a fairly obvious ball. It’s a strike now. And everything just spins. Not everything is what you expect,” says Espinal. “You start thinking,’Should I swing on this pitch? Can I even hit this pitch?'”

Espinal was probably possible — his 84.7 percent contact rate is MLB’s top 20 mark. But he can’t hit it well. It was the key to Espinal’s 2022 breakout. He made a strong swing decision, took the pitch off the plate, aggressively attacked the pitch he could drive, and added nearly 13 points to his hard hit rate by improving the quality of contact and now Added more than 2 mph to the average exit speed for the season, to the amount that was always there.

Bulkiness in the off-season clearly contributes. However, Espinal does not increase the barrel rate by 3.2 percent year-on-year, even if it is less selective. It’s a combination of things. And that’s what he worked very hard on, which is probably the most frustrating of all his recent stretches.

“Pitch choice, swing choice — I’ve been working on it every day,” says Espinal. “I’m working on it a lot because it’s really hard not to swing on those pitches, and I’m doing my best not to do it, and I’m doing a pretty good job I think.”

Espinal did daily drilling during spring training to hone his swing decisions. Using a high-speed pitching machine, we simulated game-like speed and challenged pitch recognition. And since the start of the season, he has used the daily TrackMan reports that Toronto provides to batters to measure his progress and ensure that he remains consistent.

The report plots all the pitches the batter saw the night before and whether they swung to them. Each is given a number grade from -30 to +30 based on how strong or bad the swing decision is — weighted by context factors such as game status and counts. Expanding the zone with a runner-less opening ceremony early in the game is not as severely evaluated as chasing a 3-2 count slider with two and three runners in eight.

These individual pitch scores are accumulated to assign each Blue Jays player a cumulative total of the game and are placed on the leaderboard of the entire organization. This means that minor leaguers trying to climb the affiliated ladder can compare their daily results to the best players. It also means that players can track their progress over time to see if they are improving. At some minor league levels, the team’s best swing-determining performers are awarded monthly awards.

And Espinal holds himself. So far this season, he has swung at 25.8% of the pitch thrown out of the zone and was in the top third of the Blue Jays’ fourth and qualified MLB batter. And thanks to his excellent contact ability, he won the top 20 marks throughout the league on just 29% of those pitches. On the occasion of his expansion, he at least puts his bat on the ball.

But for some reason, Espinal received one of the toughest zones of the Blue Jays batters this season. He removed 2.5% of the pitch, called a strike, from the plate, as defined in MLB’s Game Day Zone. It is the third-largest hitter in Toronto to be associated with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., followed by clubhouse leaders Matt Chapman (3.1%) and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (3.0%).

The correct recall of 97.5% of these pitches by Espinal is what we expect from human referees trying to determine the position of small objects (objects that move unexpectedly at extreme speeds) in real time in variables. Would be just as good. A fictitious box. But it’s still not frustrating. Especially if you need to make the right pitch decisions to take part in the leverage count and see what pitch you can drive when you get out of aggressive funk.

“”I feel comfortable. It’s just a little sluggish. I’m fine with that. I haven’t been in a slump all year long. And I know it will happen in the end, “he said. No matter how much you hit, no matter who the referee is. Things are not always perfect. You have to go out and keep competing, “he said.

That’s the right approach. And even if the search for Espinal results continued last week, he never shook. Espinal led the match against George Springer from the lineup at his first at-bat the day after Eddings afflicted the Blue Jays batter with his abstract strike zone interpretation.

Given how things went on the night before, and how things went on for over a week, he had every reason to expand his zone. However, he did a five-pitch lead-off walk against Lucas Giolito, and on the final pitch he didn’t make a carbon copy of what he was standing up on a regular basis for a week.

“I took it and looked back-that is, because I didn’t know how things were going. [the umpire] “I intended to do that,” Espinal said. But it was the same pitch, the same place, and everything. I knew it was a ball. And I kept it consistent with my zone. If you’re consistent in every part of the game, everything seems to work. “

The walk tuned the day when the Blue Jays scored nine runs, two of which were credited to the Espinal, who singled off Giolito with a 0-2 count on his first hit at 26 at bats. And on Sunday, after a holiday scheduled 24 hours ago, Espinal performed his first multi-hit performance 2-4 in 11 days.

He is coming out of it. After the worst stretch of the unexpected breakout season, inspired by the age of 27, hitting .298 / .350 / .451 with 125w RC + before the slump, Espinal is starting to see the results again. increase. He didn’t get lost in the labyrinth, so he’s looking at them. He succumbed to his doubts and did not change his approach. He still believed he could recognize the ball from the strike. And that good process leads to good results over time.

“I feel like I’m back in confidence. I still see a lot of pitches. I’m still aggressive when I need it. And I’m always making sure I’m swinging on a pitched pitch. Zone “He says. “Then I feel like everything else works.”

The Blue Jays Espinal is taking the right approach to navigating the first slump of the season

Source link The Blue Jays Espinal is taking the right approach to navigating the first slump of the season

Related Articles

Back to top button