While watching the Pirates eventual 4-3 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday night, it occurred to me that there may be no surer thing in professional sports than a Pedro Alvarez strike out whenever he falls to an 0-2 count, but I wanted to know just how true that supposition actually is. So, I went to the SABR Listserv and to Pirate Chat, and I was not disappointed.
Before I lay it out for you, my thanks to Pirate Chatters Tim Lehrian and Mike Emeigh and to SABR guy, Dan Cichalski for doing the research. All figures are through May 14 of this season.
Across Major League Baseball, batters who fall behind 0-2 respond with a batting average of .166, and OPS of .439, and strike out 44.4% of the time. These figures include pitchers who come to bat in the NL.
For the Pirates as a team, including Pedro Alvarez, 0-2 batters hit .171 with an OPS of .425, and strike out 45.5% of the time.
As for Pedro, when he falls to 0-2, he has responded with a .063 BA, and he has struck out an astonishing 71.8% of the time. For his career, Pedro has hit .100 and struck out 61.1% of the time in these 0-2 situations.
My intuitive suspicions have been confirmed: that Alvarez' performance in these situations are so far below the average major league batter as to be almost unbelievable. Would this be one of those goofy stats for the Pirates to put on the Jumbo-tron during games? Probably not.
I have no earthly idea what the Pirates can do or are planning to do to remedy this situation, but if someone, anyone, can figure out a way to fix this, they should probably be given the Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year Award, or, at the very least, free tickets to any Monday through Thursday Pirates game.