It seems that this blog has turned into a blog devoted solely to analyzing Aramis Ramirez’s newfound plate discipline.  Whatever; let’s look at the numbers:

P/PA career: 3.70

P/PA 2008 to date: 4.12

SwgA% (percentage of pitches swung at) career: 50%

SwgA% 2008 to date: 45%

Strk% (percentage of pitches that are strikes) career: 64%

Strk% 2008 to date: 59%

What do these numbers mean?  Well, not only has Aramis started taking more pitches than in the past, but pretty much all the “additional” pitches he’s taken have been balls!  You would expect that an increase in plate discipline, all else being equal, would lead to an increase in the number of called strikes—as well as the number of balls—but this has not been the case.

So what’s going on?  A few possibilities:

1) Nothing.  For some odd reason, ARam has faced a cross-section of pitchers who have thrown more easily identifiable balls than he has seen in the past.  This is pretty unlikely.

2) Overall increase in discipline.  He’s seeing the ball better and not letting himself swing at pitches out of the zone.

3) Better recognition of a specific pitch.  There’s some pitch—a splitter, curveball, something—that has enticed him to swing in the past that he is now able to lay off.  This pitch almost always ends up a ball.

I have a hypothesis along the lines of option 3, but I need more time to test it.