The Mockingbird

What Happened to Hafner?

with 11 comments

A quick request from Mr. Roman who, after watching Travis Hafner way behind pitches in the ALCS, (striking out an ALCS record 12 times, capped off by going down on three straight heaters to Papelbon in the 7th game with two on) wondered if Boston was feeding him high fastballs, possibly taking advantage of him trying to go the other way off the Green Monster. Here are the fastballs that Hafner saw, and what he did with them (this includes cutters and two seamers- anything above 90 that didn’t break more than half a foot).


As you can see, Boston made a concerted effort to pitch him up and away. He took a lot of pitches right on the outside edge, fouled off a few right down the middle, and couldn’t catch up to anything at the letters. Kind of surprising for a batter who mashed those pitches all year. I wonder if the Red Sox, who have notoriously good advance scouts (check out Schilling gushing about them on his Blog) picked up something, or if his bat speed was just down at the end of a long season so they kept pounding him.

It’s kind of hard to see graphically, but between the first three games in the series (when Hafner went 3-11 with two BB and a HR) and the last four (when he went 1-19 with 11 K’s) the Sox changed from going low and away in the strike zone to challenging him with high heat. Hafner didn’t swing at the low and away pitches (that’s all those called strikes), but he went for the high stuff and couldn’t do anything with it. Here are his fastballs split between early and late in the series:


hype it up! :: Digg it


Written by halejon

October 22, 2007 at 9:20 pm

11 Responses

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  1. Nice.

    I became suspicious during game 2 that Hafner was trying hard to go opposite field; and that was maybe messing up his reaction time at the plate.

    But perhaps Boston really had him so far out ahead of the low-inside breaking ball that he had trouble judging the heat.


    October 22, 2007 at 9:52 pm

  2. Most of the breaking stuff was away, too…amazing, they didn’t come inside ONCE to him the entire series.

    I could imagine that left field looks pretty enticing to bounce a double off of when you’re getting pitched up and away. Pronk didn’t hit a HR there all year, but just make flyball contact and it’s off the wall.

    I wonder if he was just injured or worn down or something, because it doesn’t make sense for him to be whiffing so badly on pitches up like that.


    October 22, 2007 at 11:34 pm

  3. Now, am I reading the graphs correctly?
    Are the pitch locations reversed?


    October 23, 2007 at 4:37 am

  4. It’s from the batters’ perspective…I should really put a little picture of a guy there and would have if I could find one that wasn’t stupid and/or likely to get me sued.


    October 23, 2007 at 5:50 am

  5. Is that plate thing on the last one good or stupid? Where has all the good clipart gone…?


    October 23, 2007 at 6:19 am

  6. The plate is great, except you said it was from the batter’s perspective; so, the plate should be the other way around.

    When I get a chance, I can photoshop a guy and/or a plate for you.


    October 23, 2007 at 1:46 pm

  7. Whups, I’m even dumber than I look. That would be great if you could toss me something simple to put there. I like how Mike Fast’s little silhouette is directly from behind.


    October 23, 2007 at 4:45 pm

  8. How about something on Ryan Speier’s awesome outing last night?

    And I mean “awesome” in the Mike Sirotka sense of the word.


    October 25, 2007 at 3:21 pm

  9. You’re a sick man. I like it.


    October 25, 2007 at 6:13 pm

  10. […] October 22, he published “What Happened to Hafner?“, an article about the pitches that Travis Hafner saw in the […]

  11. […] October 22, Jonathan Hale published “What Happened to Hafner?“, an article about the pitches that Travis Hafner saw in the […]

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