Though Addison Russell’s traditional numbers don’t look good right now, the nitty-gritty numbers actually suggest he’s seeing pitches well.
Plate discipline numbers are more meaningful than other metrics at this point in the season because these metrics tend to stabilize the fastest. For swing rate numbers, it takes only about 50 plate appearances to rule out small sample size problems. So even though the season is still relatively young, we can actually look at plate discipline metrics without thinking it’s simply “too early.”
Going into the Cardinals series, Addy was swinging at 15 percent fewer pitches overall and 27 percent fewer pitches outside the strike zone compared to last season, swing rates that are a career low for the shortstop. Visually, too, he looks like he’s seeing the ball better most of the time.
Though contact rate takes about twice as long than swing rate to stabilize, Russell’s current 77 percent contact rate is 10 percent better than his rookie rate and just under 5 percent better than last year’s rate.
Now might be a decent time to go pick up Addy off of waivers if your league is getting anxious. If Addison continues to take bad pitches and make consistent contact, then there’s a solid chance the runs will start following suit.