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October 15, 2013

Advance Scouting Series

Torii Hunter

by Chris King

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Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Chris King

Player Name: Torii Hunter

Context: Nine games 9/23-9/25, 9/28/, 10/4, 10/5, 10/7, 10/8, 10/10/2013

PA

AB

H

1st P

K

BB

TB

Hard

AVE

OBP

SLG

OPS

TOTALS

40

38

12

8

10

1

14

8

.316

.350

.368

.718

Sample vs. Season:

Slight increase in batting average and OBP; slugging dropped almost 100 points; only extra-base hits were two doubles; K/BB rate nearly doubled in this nine-game sample.

SCOUTING BREAKDOWN

Physical/Health:

6’2” 225; strong and athletic frame; still pretty lean upper body; core and bottom half provides most of his strength; aging extremely well; healthy all season at age 38.

Hit Tool

Very cerebral hitter while still being aggressive; closed stance; keeps his head quiet; pre-swing bat movement; lower half rocks back and forth; small leg kick for timing; consistently gets hands loaded on time and into hitting position; still quick hands; swing has some natural uppercut; uses his experience to his advantage; has a very good idea of how pitchers will attack; rarely gets fooled or wastes an AB; willing and able to use all fields; strong two-handed finish with his swing; provides good plate coverage; vulnerable down and in; very good at situational hitting; can still get to pitches at or above the letters; routinely hit the ball hard back up the middle on a line; benefits from hitting in front of the best hitter on the planet; an ideal no. 2 hitter for this offense; easy 6 hitter.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Very aggressive vs. LHP; took the first pitch in every AB before swinging at every second pitch he saw; sees the ball early coming out of the hand and reacts; saw a steady diet of FB’; will roll over on off-speed inside; looks to drive the ball more; likes to pull the ball more and unload vs. LHP.

More patient vs. RHP but still aggressive; lets the ball travel deeper in the zone; righties mixed up sequencing more; more of a contact approach vs. RHP; still dangerous to all fields; visibly upset when pitched inside; will grind out ABs, fouling off borderline pitches; looks opposite field more when behind in the count.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/24/2013

Top of third vs. Diamond (LHP). After first AB – FB away followed by CH high and in, hit for a single -- Diamond again starts him with a FB, this time up. Count at 1-0, Diamond comes back with another FB at the knees which Hunter jumps on for another line drive single up the middle.

10/7/2013

Bottom of fourth vs. Parker (RHP). Takes a first pitch FB at the knees a bit inside for strike one. Takes a CH down and away. Takes another CH, this time in the dirt for ball two. Takes a FB up and away for ball three. Now in a hitter’s count, Hunter rips FB up and in for a single into LF. Parker missed his location, not getting the pitch in enough, and Hunter was able to catch up to the high heat.

Power

Has power to all fields, but didn’t show much in this sample; perennial 20-plus HR guy; lost some pop the past couple of years; still a 15-20 HR threat; can still barrel up any pitch type when he gets full extension; able to drive the ball into the gaps; gets most of HRs when he pulls the ball; has strong forearms and wrists; relies on his lower half to supply most of the pop; natural uppercut swing generates good backspin; more situational power approach in this offense; sacrifices power for contact to set the table for the monsters hitting behind him; even at 38, he’s still a solid 55.

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

More pull-conscious vs. LHP; anything hard out over the plate is a bad idea; sees the ball better vs. LHP and will try to take advantage; very dangerous if he gets full extension.

Not a big difference in power from either LHP or RHP; stays aggressive and will hammer any mistake; can be jammed if location is on point resulting in weak groundballs.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/23/2013

Top of fifth vs. Pelfrey (RHP). Shows bunt and gets a SL down and away, 1-0. Pelfrey then goes FB in, but didn’t get it in enough as Hunter pulls his hands inside the ball and drives a deep fly ball to the LCF gap for an RBI double.

9/23/2013

Top of seventh vs. Fien (RHP). Hunter wastes no time jumping on a first-pitch mistake FB, belt high on the outer half for a double into the RCF gap.

Speed/Baserunning

At age 38 Hunter still possesses above-average speed; consistently timed him in the 4.1-4.2 range; he has enough in the tank to be a stolen base threat, but in this offense the need isn’t there as much as it was in the past; stole only three bases during the regular season in five attempts; still has good instincts on the bases and will take the extra base if you don’t pay attention.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

Hunter is an ideal guy to bat second in this lineup; he is aggressive, but knows his role and does a good job in situational hitting; it’s hard to realize he is 38 years old; he can still handle the bat and hit the ball out of the park; more of a gap-to-gap guy at this point in his career, but still a legit HR threat; he doesn’t discriminate against LHP or RHP; if either makes a mistake, he will make pay; he’s willing to sacrifice himself to advance runners, either with a bunt or hitting the ball on the ground to the right side; still enough speed in his legs where you have to pay attention to him, even if he hasn’t been attempting stolen bases much this year; still will strike out due to his aggressive nature.

RHP in this sample had the most success when attacking him down and in with either a FB or CH; the key is to get it far enough in where you can jam him up and not allow any extension; curveballs and sliders are best used when ahead in the count and located either down and in or buried down and away out of the zone; he will chase when behind; anything over the plate from his shins to his belt is in danger of being stung; he can still catch up to fastballs letter high, but was late when located on the inner half.

LHP had a tough time in this sample; he sees the ball extremely well coming out from that side; he saw more FBs than I would have thought from lefties; the most success came when locating off-speed down and in getting him to roll over and hit weak groundballs to third; he’s very aggressive on any fastball no matter the location; he put very good swings on the hard stuff and barreled them up for line drive singles, and tattooed one into the opposite field gap.

Matchup Stats at a Glance

First Pitch Swing

Six in 32 ABs

Bunt Threat (Sac, Push, Drag)

Willing to drop any type down; if corners are deep he will lay one down

Defensive Positioning

Pretty straight up; corners played deep until he showed bunt

Outfield

Straight up and medium depth

Splits

vs. LHP

.500/.600/.500

vs. RHP

.294/.314/.353

Chris King is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Chris's other articles. You can contact Chris by clicking here

Related Content:  Scouting,  Detroit Tigers,  Advance Series

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