Plate discipline for the Indians, including the elite skill of Michael Brantley

USA TODAY Sports

A look at the team's best and worst for taking pitches, swinging at strikes, making contact, and more

PITCHf/x tracks the location of every pitch thrown in MLB, which can be used to track pitchers' control, but can also be used to examine hitters' plate discipline. At FanGraphs you can look at a number of different rates, including O-Swing %, Z-Contact %, Pace, and more (each of which I'll explain as I get to it). I thought it would be interesting to look at which Indians were the best and worst in each of these areas in 2013.

O-Swing%

(Percentage of pitches outside the strike zone that a batter swings at)

League Average: 29.0% Indians Average: 26.2% (14th in AL)

Highest: Lonnie Chisenhall (35.3), Yan Gomes (34.2), Mike Aviles (33.6)

Lowest: Jason Kipnis (20.9), Carlos Santana (21.9), Drew Stubbs (23.0)

Kipnis was 4th-lowest in the American League, while Santana was 8th.

Z-Swing%

(Percentage of pitches inside the strike zone that a batter swings at)

League Average: 61.9% Indians Average: 60.8% (13th in AL)

Highest: Lonnie Chisenhall (69.4), Mark Reynolds (66.4), Asdrubal Cabrera (65.8)

Lowest: Jason Kipnis (54.7), Michael Bourn (57.1), Carlos Santana (57.7)

Swing%

(Percentage of pitches that a batter swings at)

League Average: 45.2% Indians Average: 43.6 (13th in AL)

Highest: Lonnie Chisenhall (52.5), Mike Aviles (49.1), Yan Gomes (48.7)

Lowest: Jason Kipnis (38.2), Carlos Santana (39.2), Nick Swisher (41.4)

Kipnis was 3rd-lowest in the AL, and Santana was 5th.

O-Contact%

(Percentage of times contact made when swinging at pitches outside the strike zone)

League Average: 63.5% Indians Average: 62.4% (10th in AL)

Highest: Michael Brantley (79.1), Mike Aviles (74.0), Yan Gomes (70.5)

Lowest: Drew Stubbs (48.8), Ryan Raburn (49.2), Mark Reynolds (50.6)

Brantley ranked 8th in the American League.

Z-Contact%

(Percentage of times contact made when swinging at pitches inside the strike zone)

League Average: 87.3% Indians Average: 86.5 (11th in AL)

Highest: Michael Brantley (95.5), Mike Aviles (93.8), Lonnie Chisenhall (91.7)

Lowest: Mark Reynolds (73.6), Drew Stubbs (79.9), Ryan Raburn (81.5)

Brantley ranked 2nd in the American League.

Contact%

(Percentage of times contact made when swinging at all pitches)

League Average: 79.6% Indians Average: 79.2% (11th in AL)

Highest: Michael Brantley (91.0), Mike Aviles (87.2), Lonnie Chisenhall (83.5)

Lowest: Mark Reynolds (66.4), Drew Stubbs (71.5), Ryan Raburn (73.3)

Brantley led the American League in this category.

SwStr%

(Percentage of pitches seen that become swinging strikes)

League Average: 9.1% Indians Average: 8.9% (8th in AL)

Highest: Mark Reynolds (15.5), Drew Stubbs (11.9), Ryan Raburn (11.4)

Lowest: Michael Brantley (3.7), Mike Aviles (6.1), Carlos Santana (6.6)

Brantley led the American League in this too. He has elite bat control, making him better at putting the ball in play than any other hitter in the league.

Zone%

(Percentage of pitches seen inside the strike zone)

League Average: 49.3% Indians Average: 50.2% (3rd in AL)

Highest: Michael Bourn (52.8), Ryan Raburn (52.2), Mike Aviles (51.5)

Lowest: Mark Reynolds (47.2), Carlos Santana (48.2), Jason Giambi (48.8)

Bourn's figure was 4th-highest in the American League

Pace

(Average time between pitches)

League Average: 22.6 secs Indians Average: 22.1 secs (3rd-fastest in AL)

Fastest: Michael Bourn (19.8), Jason Kipnis (20.6), Drew Stubbs (20.8)

Slowest: Yan Gomes (24.1), Michael Brantley (23.6), Jason Giambi (23.4)

Bourn and Kipnis had the two quickest paces among all qualified hitters in the American League, so if you like fast baseball, give those guys an extra round of applause in 2014.

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This offseason's biggest acquisition, David Murphy has fairly average swing rates, while his contact rates are very good, basically even with those of Mike Aviles, behind only Michael Brantley on the Indians. Given that he's replacing Drew Stubbs, whose contact rates are so poor, the team's plate discipline should be a bit improved in 2014.

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