Found August 23, 2012 on Monkey with a Halo:

Howie Kendrick swingThere I was minding my own business monitoring Tuesday's Angels game via Gameday as I pretended to work.  As chance would have it, Howie Kendrick came up to the plate against Aaron Cook with a runner on first base and nobody out.  What followed was the most predictable GIDP possibly in history. 

Everyone who pays even a little attention to the Angels saw it coming because Kendrick leads the free world in GIDPs and GIDP%.  But it was made even more unavoidable because Kendrick was facing Aaron Cook, who entered the game with 2.93 GB/FB ration, which would lead all of baseball if he had enough innings to qualify.  For his part, Kendrick had the fifth-highest GB/FB ratio of all hitters in baseball.  The only real surprise is that the combination didn't lead to Kendrick simply smacking the baseball straight down, through the Earth's crust and halfway through the upper mantle.

The play was ultimately inconsequential, but I couldn't help but wonder why such an obvious end result couldn't have been avoided.  No, seriously, why was premier groundball hitter Kendrick allowed to face premier groundball pitcher Aaron Cook?

It isn't that hitting grounders are necessarily a bad thing, Derek Jeter is having a good year and he had almost double the GB/FB ratio as Howie.  However, grounders do limit a player's ability to drive the ball.  Plus, common sense suggests that by sending up a groundball-heavy hitter against a groundball-heavy pitcher is only playing right into the hands of said pitcher, which is never a good thing.  Perhaps there is some extensive statistical study that debunks this (and please send it my way if you know of one), but the only logical conclusion I can come up with is to begin platooning Kendrick against groundball pitchers.

The stats certainly suggest that it would be a smart move since Kendrick has a career tOPS+ of 82 against groundball pitchers.  I'm sure a lot of players have a below average tOPS+ on that split, but that is a stark drop from his normal production.  He hits for a lower average, less power and he even walks less against groundball pitchers.  Like I said, he is playing right into their hands.

You know who wouldn't play into their hands?  Maicer Izturis and his career 1.26 GB/FB ratio.  He also has a 112 tOPS+ against groundball pitchers.  All things being equal, Kendrick is a superior hitter than Izturis, but such an arrangement would maximize the strengths of each player and lead to an overall improvement in production from the second base position in Anaheim.  And it isn't like it would relegate Kendrick to the bench that often as the Angels typically face a groundball pitcher in a quarter of their plate appearances in a normal season.

I can't say that I've seen such an arrangement in the majors before, but it makes a lot of sense in this isolated case.  There will surely be some kinks to work out as far as what the GB/FB cut-off is for when to play Izturis over Kendrick, assuming it is stat-based and not scouting report-based, but I think it is a novel idea that deserves a shot.



Mike Trout's SI cover brings back memories

This is the cover of the new issue of Sports Illustrated. Angels rookie, and probable league MVP, Mike Trout is prominently featured as THE SUPERNATURAL. Trout is the best player in baseball, and just turned 21 two weeks ago. He's six homers away from a 30/30 season, and has played in just 100 games this year. He has a 1.013 OPS on the season, and is playing Gold Glove...

Pujols is day-to-day with calf injury

The Los Angeles Angels will be without their most dangerous hitter, but probably not for long. Albert Pujols left Wednesday's game in the fourth inning with a right calf injury. He underwent an MRI exam Thursday that revealed only inflammation and no structural damage. He was not in the starting lineup Thursday but could be back in the lineup as soon as Friday. "It...

Pujols leaves Wednesday's game with calf tightness

Angels first basemanAlbert Pujols left Wednesday nights game at Boston against the Red Sox afterexperiencing tightness in his right calf. Pujols appeared to pullup as he was running to third base on a fourth-inning ground out by KendrysMorales. He waved off team trainers and eventually scored on a single by MarkTrumbo. But Pujols was check bytrainers when he returned to the dugout...

Washing Off the Stink of Mike Trout

You can’t swing a laptop by its power cable without hitting some article about how great Mike Trout has been this season, and how such a performance from a rookie is so extremely rare. Since his call-up in late April and his subsequent tear through the American League, Trout has been a fantastic story. I get interested about a lot of things during the baseball season, but very...

Halo Headlines: Trout grace cover of SI, Pujols injures calf, Bourjos placed on DL

The August 23rd, 2012 edition of daily news for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim including Mike Trout lands the cover of Sports Illustrated, Pujols suffers a calf injury, Bourjos to the DL with a wrist injury and much more... The Story: Mike Trout is featured on the cover of the newest edition of Sports Illustrated. The Monkey Says: Odds of him blowing out his knee in...

Angels 7, Red Sox 3

Jered Weaver rebounded from a terrible start by pitching seven solid innings, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the fading Boston Red Sox 7-3 on Wednesday night. Howie Kendrick hit a solo homer and Torii Hunter had a two-run single for the Angels, who have won the first two in a three-game set at Boston after getting swept in a four-game home series against Tampa Bay over the weekend...

5 ways the Angels seem like they are out of it, but they really aren't

Let's face it, the Angels have been shrouded by negativity for much of the last month.  Not even C.J. Wilson's famed Positive Mental Attitude has been able to fend it off (it also hasn't helped him #throwstrikes either).  I could sit here and offer some insight on the struggling rotation or the lousy bullpen or the tenuous job security of every member of the coaching...

Angels 2, Tigers 1

Zack Greinke gave up one run and Howie Kendrick broke a scoreless tie with a two-run double in the sixth, lifting the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night. Miguel Cabrera's two-out solo homer in the eighth chased Greinke. Scott Downs got the Angels out of the inning by getting Prince Fielder to ground out and retired Brennan Boesch to lead...

Bobby Valentine Admires Mike Trout's Skills During Rookie Season, Calls Him 'A Special Player'

BOSTON –– When the Nationals visited Fenway Park in June, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine fawned over Bryce Harper. Nearly two months later, he shared similar admiration for Angels outfielder Mike Trout. "You see SportsCenter and whatever the highlights are and he's always in them," Valentine said. "Watching him last night –– the first at-bat [a strikeout...

Jered Weaver's Recent Struggles Should Be Cause for Optimism Among Red Sox Fans (Video)

Jered Weaver takes the mound against the Sox on Wednesday, looking to stop a recent run of struggles and get back to his dominating ways. The Red Sox, however, would like no such thing to happen. Weaver hasn't been his usual stellar self the last two times out and NESN Nation's Dan Duquette has an inkling of why. Check out the video for his best guess. Join NESN Nation: In...

Hisanori Takahashi

HISANORI TAKAHASHI LEFT HANDED PITCHER Born: April 2, 1975 Height: 5’10″ Weight: 175 Bats: Left Throws: Left Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2010 (Mets) How Acquired: Waiver Claim (from Angels) Country: Japan Agent: Wasserman Media Group WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES Takahashi debuted in the majors at age 35 after signing with the Mets out of Japan. ...

Porcello, Tigers lose opener with Angels

DETROIT (AP) -- Zack Greinke gave up one run and Howie Kendrick broke a scoreless tie with a two-run double in the sixth, lifting the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night. Miguel Cabrera's two-out solo homer in the eighth chased Greinke. Scott Downs got the Angels out of the inning by getting Prince Fielder to ground out and retired Brennan...

Angels-Tigers Preview

Both Detroit and Los Angeles received a bit of a scare in the last few days as Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols were forced out of games with injuries. While the Tigers are hopeful Cabrera will be back for Friday night's series opener, the visiting Angels don't seem as optimistic about Pujols' return. Cabrera left Thursday's 3-2, 11-inning win over Toronto in the...

Bizarre win gives Angels a sweep in Boston

Exhilarating -- and exhausting. If you were looking for the right words to describe the Angels' game Thursday night at Boston, those would fit. But there was also something frustrating and almost deflating about they way they hung on to beat the Red Sox 14-13 in 10 innings for a three-game sweep at Fenway Park. The Angels didn't so much beat the Red Sox as they outlasted...

Game Recap: Team win - Angels 7, Red Sox 3

After being swept by the Tampa Bay Rays in the final series of their homestand, the Angels were looking forward to redeeming themselves on their roadtrip, beginning with a series in Boston.  August hasn't been the kindest to the Angels, but they have a taken the first two of a three game series against the Red Sox and look to sweep the team on their long road to redemption...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.