Grady Sizemore has never shied away from the strikeout. In each of his four full seasons he’s struck out at least 130 times. This year has been particularly rough for Sizemore in the strikeout department, however, mainly due to the fact that once he gets two strikes on him, he’s done.
Sizemore has worked his way into a two-strike count 73 times this season, 45 of which have resulted in a strikeout.
The reason for his lack of success with two strikes? He’s a free swinger.
Of the pitches Sizemore has offered at with two strikes this season, he’s whiffed on nearly half (48%) – easily the worst percentage in the majors. That number has risen steadily over the past few seasons – from 35% in 2008 to 38% in 2009 to 40% last season.
To better understand just how bad he’s been, consider this: the major league average is just 21% – less than half of Sizemore’s current rate.
The issue for Sizemore isn’t just that he struggles to make contact, but also that he’s chasing pitches out of the zone. With two strikes Sizemore swings at 45% of the pitches he sees out of the strike zone – well above the MLB average of 36%.
So while Manny Acta tries continues to juggle the lineup to find the best spot for Sizemore, the fact remains that he isn’t going to hit anywhere until he learns to shorten his swing and remain patient with two strikes.