A few days ago, Bill Petti had a good piece on this site about how slugging rates differ for players when pulling the ball and hitting to the opposite field. Today, I would like to expand on that topic. Quantity and quality are two things I'm going to focus on - the amount of balls hit to each trajectory, and the success that the batter had to each field. With that in mind, here are some major league averages from 2008-2010 for percentage of balls hit to the pull, opposite, and center fields along with the wOBAcon* for each split.
First, a bit deeper on quantity. The three tables below show the league leaders in pull%, center%, and opposite%. I'm using a minimum of 500 balls in play over the past three seasons (2008-2010).
Seems pretty reasonable - lots of guys (Thames, Pena, Teixeira, Uggla, etc.) are notorious power hitters. Suzuki and Jeter don't surprise me one bit on the opposite field leaders.
So now, what about the quality?
The numbers below show a hitter's wOBAcon to a field relative to the league average (scroll up to refresh your minds on the averages). 100 is league average; higher is better. It's the same concept as Baseball-Reference's sOPS+ (I'm not using any park factors here). I've set the minimum at 100 contacted pitches.
Something Bill discussed in his article that I'd like to just briefly touch on here is consistency - some guys have great disparity in their production to different fields, while others are much more consistent. A good way to do this is by looking at triple slash lines for pull/center/opposite wOBAcon. Bill identified Mark Teixeira (.527/.338/.259), Jose Bautista (.539/.364/.185, though very small sample size for opposite field data), and especially Curtis Granderson (.503/.324/.253) as being some pull-heavy hitters last year (remember that the data I'm using here are since 2008). Bill noted that Jim Thome (.405/.452/.601) and Lance Berkman (.422/.375/.464) were particularly good at hitting to the opposite field relative to the pull field last year. Conversely, Prince Fielder (.465/.439/.405) and Shin-Soo Choo (.443/.447/.449) were some of the more balanced sluggers.
Data are from Fangraphs.