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A tale of two hitters

Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson have been off to hot starts. Let’s see why.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago White Sox Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Anderson and Matt Davidson have both had a wonderful start to the season. Davidson is leading the AL with five homers and has a wRC+ of 208. Anderson is leading the AL in stolen bases and has three homers and a wRC+ of 134 to go along with it. Along with all these great things, they’ve both been doing something rather unusual for both of them. They’ve been getting walks.

Over at BP South Side, Nick Schaefer already took a close look at the reason for Davidson. Basically, he’s not chasing stuff outside the zone. This has take the number of 0-1 counts he sees from 61.4% in 2017 to 50% so far in 2018. That might not seem much, but so far, Davidson has a 350 wRC+ after a 1-0 count and a 75 wRC+ after an 0-1 count.

Anderson’s changes are a bit more difficult to see. Looking at what he’s swinging at, he seems to be chasing a bit less out of the zone, and swinging more inside the zone. Graphically, it becomes a bit more clear.

As you can see, Anderson likes things low and inside. While swinging like crazy at those pitches in and out of the zone, he’s been laying off stuff outside, even in the zone. So while his swing numbers are staying the same, he’s swinging far more often at the pitches he likes, in the zone and out, and leaving the rest.

As the stats at the start of this post have been phenomenal, these changes in approach seem to be working so far. Soon, pitchers around the league will begin to adjust to challenge the approaches. For Davidson, pitchers will be more likely to throw a first pitch strike. Anderson will start seeing more pitches away and in the zone. Both approaches will be put to the test. For now, it’s nice to see these guys off to a good start, and the White Sox hitters in the top half for WAR to start the season.