Player #2, Center-Fielder
We continue our look at the Hanwha Eagles 2021 uHIT Results by looking at another player. Player #2 demonstrates a trend we see often with uHIT. Utility players can demonstrate major strides in offensive output, despite limited plate appearances by using uHIT. In the case of Player #2, uHIT Gameday was the tool of choice. As a result, it led him to greater offensive output when he was called upon to jump in.
Every player comes to uHIT’s array of tools on their own terms. And Player #2 was no different. In 2020, he only used uHIT Gameday a handful of times. That season, he only accumulated about 3-4 pitches on average per game. But in 2021, his usage of uHIT Gameday skyrocketed. And with it, so did his in-game hitting output. In 2021, Player #2 did 3200+ pitches on Gameday, doing more than +500% more pitches per game. The results on-field then followed.
In 2021, OPS went up by +216 points, nearly doubling (+93%) year-over-year from 2020. Sometimes we get the case that utility players just increase offensive output by having more plate appearances. But that’s not the case with Player #2. His only change in plate appearances was going from 1 out of every 4 games (2020) to 1 out of every 3 games (2021). So not a huge change in plate appearances that could account for a +93% increase in on-base plus slugging percentages.
The two biggest drivers of the OPS change were also in those metrics that hitting coaches regularly watch. These are Walk Rate and Strikeout Rate. Player #2 was more prepared for the pitchers he could face when called upon. As a result, he saw his Walk Rate go up +5.2% and his Strikeout Rate plummet -16.9% year-over-year.
Wrapping it all up, Player #2 is a great example of how hitters can come to uHIT’s array of tools on their own terms. Player #2 wasn’t ready in 2020 to make uHIT Gameday part of his routine. In 2021, he change his approach and, with it, he changed his offensive output.