In San Diego, The Jazz Clubs Play “The Jedd Gyorko Blues”

And it goes a little something like this…

*wah-wahhhh-wah-wah (aka blues harmonica)*
They pitch me low
wah-wah, wah-wah
Low and away
wah-wah, wah-wah
I can’t hit that
wah-wah, wah-wah
What can I say?
wah-wah, wah-wah

I prefer not to overtax my lyrical abilities. Those four lines took me 68 hours to compose. Let’s move on.

Like the links in the lyrics showed you, Gyorko gets pitched low and away, as most hitters do, particularly right-handers. (No one seems to know why, but lefties have a seemingly deserved reputation for being able to handle the low pitch better than righties.) This strategy has done wonders for the pitchers who have faced Gyorko so far this year: he has the lowest batting average in the National League (min. 150 PA).

gyorkoswingzone

Above is a simple gif comparing Gyorko’s swing zone to the part of the zone where he is best at making contact. You’ll see why pitchers throw him stuff down and away, because he has a clear tendency to hit anything middle-in. What should be concerning is Gyorko’s aggressiveness on pitches that border his happy zone. You’ll see that the zone in which he swings a lot is rather larger than the zone in which he makes good contact. Both zones are geared toward the inside of the plate, so it is natural to assume that Gyorko is a pull hitter.

But look at this pair of spray charts I’ve set up for you. On the right we have Gyorko’s ghastly 2014; on the left, 2013. This season there is a distinct lack of fly balls and line drives to left field. The patch of field between the left fielder and the foul line is virtually empty. So Gyorko is getting all these pitches inside but he isn’t driving them down the line like he used to. This smells like a mechanical error in his swing. There has been no news of injury but he could be gritting it out and compensating in the batter’s box, resulting in decreased batspeed. I think I am on to something here but I can’t know what exactly.

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