Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What's Wrong With the Tigers Offense? - Andy Dirks

The 2nd part of "What's Wrong With the Tigers Offense" goes to Andy Dirks.

Dirks, like Austin Jackson, has been pretty good this season. His batting line is .318/.367/.512 in 125 ABs. Let's look into this a little deeper though.

First off, Dirks is in his 2nd season with the Tigers after putting up a line of .251/.296/.406 in his rookie season in which he had 219 ABs.

This season for Dirks, atleast in the month of May has been 2 different type of seasons, so to speak. From May 1st to May 10th, Dirks hit 14/28 (.500 average), and from May 11th to May 28th, Dirks hit 18/69 (.260 average). Just looking at that, you assume while both are small samples, that the 28 at-bat sample size is more of a fluke than the 69 at-bat sample, right?

Well, it's very hard to tell, because he only has 2 seasons in the major leagues that combine for a total of 112 games.

It's difficult to say what to expect from Dirks. Looking at fangraphs.com, his O-Swing% (percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone) is up slightly 37.9% from 35.1% last season, the alarming stat is his Z-Swing% (percentage of pitches a batter swings at inside the strike zone) is down a lot from his rookie season which was at 77.6% whereas this season it's at 61.6%. What makes this odd is that while that may mean Dirks is being more patient, his walk percentage is only slightly up from 4.7% last year to 5.7% this season. To his credit though his strikeouts are down. He struck out 15.3% of the time last year and this season it's only 12.9%.

Dirks is in such an odd case here that it's just too hard for the average fan to know what they can expect from him the rest of the way. The best thing you can say is to be happy with what he's doing right now, but understand it may not keep up at this pace.

Up next in this series will be the #3 hitter, Miguel Cabrera.

Picture credit: yahoosports.com
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