After writing about Domonic Brown last night and the recent debate about whether hitters are being too passive at the plate, the ESPN Stats & Info group pulled up some interesting data on Brown.
Of his 17 home runs, 16 have come on pitches in the strike zone. OK, that doesn't really tell us anything. Of those 16, 15 came on pitches that were down the middle or up in the zone. We're getting somewhere; basically, Brown has been getting a lot of tasty pitches to smash, as you can see here thanks to Crashburn Alley's gif of Brown's 12 home runs in May.
Also, 14 of his 17 home runs have come in hitter's counts, including one off Yovani Gallardo on a 3-0 count. OK, now we're really getting somewhere. Brown is getting pitches to hit in part because he's getting into hitter's counts.
But it's not quite as simple as Brown being more patient. From the start of his career through April, his chase percentage on pitches outside the zone was 26 percent. Since May 1, it's 33 percent. So he's actually swinging at more bad pitches. What he's doing is swinging more when he does get into a hitter's count. Prior to may, he swung 45 percent of the time while in hitter's counts; since May 1, he's swinging 58 percent of the time. This would be the Eric Wedge suggestion: Don't miss your opportunity to hit a good pitch.
This doesn't draw us any closer to an answer to what the "right" approach is, especially since this is just one player. The only conclusion I can draw: Pitchers need to stop throwing Brown so many meatballs.