Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
– Albert Einstein
Brendan Ryan has been a point of severe affliction for me these past 3 games. He has spun together an ostentatious orchestration of destruction, hacking at the first pitch of almost every single at bat in this adolescent season. Bailing out Yu Darvish and making Colby Lewis look like a king is just a taste of the benefits of Ryan’s unbridled aggressiveness.
The results have been detrimental even if the sample size is tiny. But the results aren’t the biggest issue; Ryan’s approach has been nothing short of disastrous thus far. He cannot continue his free swinging ways and hope the results will follow. It won’t work. Ryan has seen 88 pitches this season. 88… Chone Figgins has seen 95 strikes alone this season. That is just strikes, in total Chone Figgins has seen 144 pitches altogether (League Leader). Of the 88 pitches Brendan Ryan has seen this season, he has swung 45% of the time. So just in rough numbers, Ryan has swung at half of the offering he has seen.
Historically this has worked out moderately well for Ryan, who has a .317 average on the first pitch of an AB covering the past 3 years. However, if Ryan doesn’t hit that pitch–which he has yet to do this season–his average drops to .247 on 0-1 and a meager .181 on 0-2.
There are advantages to being aggressive, but there is also a time for it. It is in this particular area where Ryan has met defeat. Yu Darvish was having a helluva time finding the strike zone in his major league debut, but Ryan paid no continence, hacking at his first pitch offerings. The resulting effect did nothing to aid the club in what was an eventual loss. Colby Lewis was spinning a delicate tapestry of dominance against Seattle, and yet instead of even once trying to work the count Ryan swung at every single first pitch throughout the game. He doesn’t get it, the situational awareness just isn’t there. Ryan just isn’t able to to differentiate when it is acceptable to swing and when it isn’t.
You may have seen the chart above before. I have Jon over at Pro Ball NW to thank for posting it on Twitter. Brendan Ryan has displayed an incredibly bad process at the plate and thus far the outcome has not favored anyone except the opposing pitcher. It’s not fair to ask Ryan to never swing at the first pitch, sometimes that is the best pitch a hitter is going to get. Nevertheless, Ryan has to change his approach. Ryan became a fan favorite last year andd I would hate to see that disappear due to a lack of fundamental baseball knowledge. Continuing to impulsively chase after the first pitch in inappropriate situations is only going to result in an irritated fan base and perhaps even an irritated manager. This may not last forever, it is an easy correction afterall and one Ryan can make after his next video session. The problem becomes– is this is a managerial pushed objective? If it is, then we should just get used to what we are seeing because no changes are due in the department for quite some time.