The Mockingbird

Something You Already Knew About John McDonald

with 9 comments

John McDonald got off to a ridiculously good start this season, hitting .447/462 (ha!)/.605 over his first 15 games. That’s a pretty ridiculous streak for a career .240 hitter, and even though he has hit .227 since then, it made people think he was a mediocre hitting SS because he was still clinging to a .270 average months later (and is still above .250). One of the things responsible for that run was that he was getting a lot of starts against lefties, who he is batting .329 against this season. It also seemed that he liked the soft-tossing variety but was overmatched by anyone throwing heat.

So, to test this pitch database I’ve finally got running, I ran every pitch it has recorded for him this season and what the result was. Here are the percentages for every possible result of each pitch by velocity. Batting average is hits/contact, but since we’re breaking it down pitch by pitch it doesn’t mean the same thing. (By the way, if anyone wants me to ask the all-knowing database something about their favorite/least favorite, let me know…pretty much anything- counts, pitch type/location, situations, results, can be analyzed…Want to know what percentage of first pitches to Vernon were popped straight up? Well, no, you probably don’t want to know. But if you DID…)


I was surprised that he doesn’t swing through as many good fastballs as I thought he did, but he takes them for strikes instead. And while on pitches between 80-90, Sir John gets a hit about 1/3 of the time he makes contact, it drops below the Mendoza line (.190) as soon as someone throws a ball over 90 mph.

The number of balls he fouls off increases at about the same rate as balls decreases, so his eye disappears as velocity increases (not surprising since he has to ‘sell out’ and start his swing super early to get around). What eye, you say? Well, he actually has a pretty good one for curveballs:

Pitch Type Foul Ball
Looking Strike Ball Taken
Breaking Ball 0.06 0.17 0.42
Fastball 0.15 0.24 0.29

Just another reason nobody should, ever, ever, ever, throw him one (I’m looking at you, Kenny Rogers, cursing away after that 0-2 count). On pitches between 70-75 mph this year, McDonald didn’t foul off one, and he hit .500.

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Written by halejon

October 2, 2007 at 12:47 am

9 Responses

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  1. I want to know ONE thing, what was the pitch that Emiliano Fruto threw John on July 25th, 2006, in the top of the 9th with 2 out, bases loaded and a 1-0 count?


    October 2, 2007 at 4:43 pm

  2. pitch des=”In play, run(s)” type=”X” x=”101.29″ y=”133.84″/

    No enhanced gameday but I remember that one…I think it was a fat changeup.


    October 2, 2007 at 5:08 pm

  3. You’ve piqued my curiosity…now I want to know what percentage of first pitches to Vernon were popped straight up.


    October 2, 2007 at 7:38 pm

  4. Compared to what, thought? Like batting average per pitch, it’s not particularly useful out of context unless you just want to know what “a lot” is…I guess we could compare it to swings/grounders/hits/balls taken, or to another player.


    October 2, 2007 at 8:05 pm

  5. How about to Clutchy McGee…I mean Derek Jeter?


    October 3, 2007 at 1:25 pm

  6. Or maybe David Ortiz, the least clutch first baseman this season?


    October 3, 2007 at 3:44 pm

  7. […] October 2, Jonathan Hale published “Something You Already Knew about John McDonald”, an article about John McDonald’s batting results for different pitch types and […]

  8. […] Magic Cut Shuuto Japanese Miracle Pitch (シュート)Dustin McGowan – Dissection of a MasterpieceSomething You Already Knew About John McDonaldGame over for the […]

  9. […] October 2, he published “Something You Already Knew about John McDonald”, an article about John McDonald’s batting results for different pitch types and […]

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