Game 88: The Curious Case of Brian Roberts

This season, Brian Roberts has walked in 8.7% of his plate appearances, which is quite good - league-average, for reference, is 7.9%. The majority of his offensive value is derived from his ability to take a walk, in fact, as his .315 OBP is almost perfectly league-average. However, it seems as though Roberts has changed his approach at the plate a bit over the past few weeks, as he has not taken a walk in his last 14 games ... over which time he is batting .293/.293/.534 (including two of his four home runs this season). Is it safe to call it a change in approach, though? Surprisingly, yes. Or, maybe, at least. Over his first 62 games, Roberts swung at 28.4% of pitches out of the zone, 73.1% of pitches in the zone, and 48.9% of pitches overall. Since then, those percentages are 36.6%, 75.7%, and 55.4%, respectively.

Of course, this could be small sample size noise - and it probably is. On a lazy Monday after a long weekend, however, I found it quite interesting.

New York Yankees Cleveland Indians
Brett Gardner, LF Jason Kipnis, 2B
Derek Jeter, SS Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Michael Brantley, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B Carlos Santana, 1B
Brian McCann, DH Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B
Brian Roberts, 2B Nick Swisher, DH
Ichiro Suzuki, RF David Murphy, RF
Kelly Johnson, 3B Yan Gomes, C
Francisco Cervelli, C Chris Dickerson, LF
Shane Greene, SP Justin Masterson, SP