so better blues

Well, So Taguchi's season line is .266/.337/.394. In the late innings, he is .429/.500/.571. Considering his billy wagner related antics* from last year, I have to wonder if So is learning some sort of situational tactic. His Three Year splits show huge spikes (in limited AB) with the bases loaded and with a runner on third (but he's been horrible with a runner on second and third). Here's the table:

Situation AB Avg OBP SLG
Overall 891 .281 .330 .392
Bases Empty 530 .274 .321 .413
Runners On 361 .291 .342 .360
Man on third <2 out 50 .400 .400 .480
Bases Loaded 31 .516 .486 .645

When I saw the spike in OPS with a runner on third, my first assumption was that So was trying to lift the ball and thus ended up with more power. A closer look at the numbers show this to not be the case at all--his increased OPS is driven almost entirely by a huge, huge spike in his batting average. He has no regular season home runs in these situations. He doesn't seem to be changing his game at all. He just seems to be changing into a better version of himself.

I took a look at his splits with respect to ball and strike counts, looking for the same sort of situational aggressiveness that lb found in David Eckstein. He is weirdly awesome swinging at pitches on a 0-1 count, and, obviously, has solid numbers on pitchers' counts, but I don't see any similar spikes anywhere else in his numbers. None of this data seemed to be consistent with any hypothesis, other than So being a relatively smart, if not über-talented, hitter.

Maybe So just has that steely stuff coursing through his veins that is commonly attributed to Derek Jeter. Taguchi is, perhaps 80% intangibles, and 20% tangibles.

Or something.

*We always talk about how unsettled Brad Lidge was by the Pujols HR. How unsettling must it be to have So Taguchi do that to you?

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