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August 12, 2014

BP Unfiltered

Sveum's Unheard Guide to Fixing Royals' Offense

by Robert Arthur


In late June, I wrote about the Royals’ hiring of Dale Sveum as their new hitting coach. I noted at the time that Sveum gave an unusually specific critique of the Royals’ hitters:

The bottom line is we've struggled with elevation and we've swung at pitches down in the zone probably way too much,' he said. 'From thigh high to the top of the strike zone, we're not doing enough damage.

Sveum proposed that a serious issue with the Royals’ hitters was their propensity to swing at low pitches. Using Pitchf/x data, I confirmed Sveum’s assessment: the Royals really were swinging at an inordinate number of low pitches, and their swing choices may have impacted their increased groundball rates this season.

However, at the time, there wasn’t enough data to see whether Sveum had succeeded in fixing that problem. For this BP on Fox article, I’ve revisited the question of whether the Royals have altered their preference for low pitches, and whether that might be behind their resurgence in the standings. Read the full article to find out whether Sveum was able to follow his correct diagnosis with the cure to the Royals’ offensive underperformance.

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

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