When we were talking about the Padres offensive woes, I noted that the Padres hit more groundballs than any team in baseball. This seems weird to me.

Hitting coach Phil Plantier had an extreme uppercut swing that generated few grounders. Not that every hitter will emulate his coach, but it’s counterintuitive to expect this from Plantier’s charges.

Worse, it’s counterproductive. Here are results for different types of batted balls in 2013:

LD 30,452 .674 .668 .978
FB 40,391 .182 .178 .523
GB 58,359 .240 .240 .259

Including plate appearances may seem gratuitous, but it’s important to see that this is a large sample. It’s also important to see that, with a few exceptions, you don’t want to be hitting a lot of grounders. This isn’t a one-year effect:

Year OPS
2011 1691 788 493
2012 1693 831 496
2013 1646 701 499
2014* 1668 632 509

*Through games of June 11.

Line drives are awesome, fly balls are decent (some of them leave the yard), grounders stink. Which brings me to my next point: Through June 11, the Padres are the only MLB team to hit more grounders than fly balls (1.06 GB/FB); they are tied with the Kansas City Royals for lowest line-drive percentage (21%).

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