The Three Silliest Andrew Miller Swings of the Year

Andrew Miller made a batter look silly last night. Andrew Miller makes batters look silly most nights, but last night, a batter looked particularly silly. One surefire way to identify a batter who just got done looking silly is to check whether he’s laying down in dirt right after he swung. Let’s see.

Q: Was This Major Leaguer Laying Down in the Dirt Right After He Swung?

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 5.23.00 PM

A: Sure was

That there batter sure looked silly. The good news for Khris Davis is, he’s not alone. He didn’t even take the season’s most ill-advised swing against Miller. As our own Jeff Sullivan pointed out back in May, maybe the thing Miller does very best is force hitters to take ill-advised swings, at least certainly relative to the ones they don’t take. I’ll explain. When Jeff wrote his article in May, Miller’s O-Swing% against was higher than his Z-Swing% against, making him the only pitcher in baseball with such a distinction. To translate that into English: batters were swinging at would-be balls from Miller more frequently than they were swinging at would-be strikes. That’s not how hitting is supposed to work.

Like, take last night for example. Miller faced three right-handed batters on the Oakland A’s. Miller threw 13 pitches. All of the batters struck out. None of them made very good decisions:

AsMiller

The A’s batters took the pitches over the plate, swung at the ones at their feet, and one of them fell down. The pre-game scouting report against Miller goes something like this:

Hitter: so what does this guy throw

Coach: sliders at your feet every time and you’re going to swing at them

Hitter: cool thanks

Coach: try not to fall down

Miller: *slider*

Khris Davis: falls over, game over

Coach: *accurate report*

Coach: *gets raise*

When Jeff wrote about this phenomena back in May, Miller was baseball’s leader in getting batters to make poor swing decisions. Three months later, that hasn’t changed, and the gap between Miller and the field is still rather ludicrous:

Top-10 Poor Swing Decision Inducers
Name O-Swing% Z-Swing% DIF
Andrew Miller 41.5% 51.5% -10.0%
Dellin Betances 34.2% 50.4% -16.2%
Luke Gregerson 40.8% 59.1% -18.3%
Pedro Strop 36.8% 55.3% -18.5%
Zach Britton 39.3% 58.8% -19.5%
Aaron Nola 32.0% 52.2% -20.2%
Zach Duke 33.2% 54.9% -21.7%
Jeremy Jeffress 35.8% 57.7% -21.9%
Zack Greinke 41.2% 63.6% -22.4%
Kyle Gibson 35.6% 58.8% -23.2%
O-Swing%: Percentage of pitches outside the strike zone, swung at
Z-Swing%: Percentage of pitches inside the strike zone, swung at

Davis’ swing got me thinking: what’s the silliest a batter has looked against Miller, the pitcher who leads the league in silly swing (or not-swing) decisions? Probably no one’s looked sillier than Davis looked, on account of the falling down. But a simple methodology to answer the question of the most ill-advised swing might look like: using horizontal and vertical pitch locations to identify the pitches furthest from the strike zone which generated a swing. Davis comes in at eighth! Seven batters this season have made a more ill-advised decision to swing at an Andrew Miller pitch than the guy in the dirt up there. Here’s three of them:

No. 3

  • Batter: Melvin Upton, Jr.
  • Pitch: slider
  • Feet from center of strike zone: 3.57
  • Silly swing:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 6.05.40 PM

No. 2

  • Batter: Danny Valencia
  • Pitch: slider
  • Feet from center of strike zone: 3.63
  • Silly swing:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 6.06.03 PM

No. 1

  • Batter: Kyle Seager
  • Pitch: slider
  • Feet from center of strike zone: 3.94
  • Silly swing:

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 6.06.19 PM

Apologies if those felt at all underwhelming. But, I mean, look at that Seager pitch. These swings were even more ill-advised than Davis’, which really says something. I guess it’s tough to compete with a dude that fell over.

We hoped you liked reading The Three Silliest Andrew Miller Swings of the Year by August Fagerstrom!

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August used to cover the Indians for MLB and ohio.com, but now he's here and thinks writing these in the third person is weird. So you can reach me on Twitter @AugustFG_ or e-mail at august.fagerstrom@fangraphs.com.

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Anon
Member
Anon

Seager’s bat would literally need to be twice as long to square that one up. He could cue one off the end of the bat at less than twice as long, but to actually hit the fat part of the bat, his bat would need to be twice as long.