A Tale of Two Seasons: Raul Ibanez Alters Approach in 2009

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A Tale of Two Seasons: Raul Ibanez Alters Approach in 2009

2009 has been a season of ups and downs for Raul Ibanez.  There was the whole steroid speculation-blogger dustup earlier in the season.  You know, a blogger accused Ibanez of using steroids because his power numbers were way up?  And he responded by basically calling the guy a loser which drew reactions from sports media.

But The Good Phight took a look at some of the peripherals around Ibanez's swing and tries to draw an interesting conclusion in that they think Ibanez might just be swinging harder than he ever has in his career. 

...not only are Raul's plate discipline and power numbers radically different from his career norms, but it also doesn't even look like he's been trending that way.  He's taking more pitches and making less contact, and so he's predictably striking out more -- but he's also had a year-long power surge unlike anything before in his career.

I'm sure a portion of the increased power output can be attributed to moving to Citizens Bank Park -- cue Bobby Cox joke -- but certainly not all of it.

It makes sense considering that Safeco Field can drain all power from any hitter.  Course Ibanez has come tumbling back down to early since the All Star break.  He went from a 1.016 OPS before St. Louis and since then he has a .764 OPS.  So even if the swing harder approach was working before, it's not working now.  Perhaps it's time for another adjustment?

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