Full disclosure, batter versus hitter matchup stats aren’t very predictive. First, the samples are almost always too small for the numbers to provide meaningful data about what will happen in the future. They tell us what happened, but not what will happen. Second, the matchups are usually spread out across many seasons so the matchups in 2007 and 2013 are not really even between the same players. Players change, after all.
That said, now that we’re into the playoffs and we need to micro-analyze things, let’s just take a quick look at how each of the Tigers stack up against Colon in their careers.
Hunter has faced Colon the most without a ton of success. A .750 OPS isn’t terrible, but it’s mostly about extra base hits rather than getting on base very often. Avila, Dirks, and Fielder have done well in small samples and Martinez and Cabrera have been their usual impressive selves. The name that jumps out is second on the list in PA – Ramon Santiago.
Now it’s unlikely that Santiago will see the field in Game 1, but it might be worth putting him out on deck to scare Colon every now and then. Santiago has his number in a big way. He has a career OPS of .641, but in 28 PA against Colon it’s all the way up a 1.060. That’s impressive.
Again, this isn’t predictive, it’s simply interesting. Let’s look at some of their history.
So the success hasn’t really been recent. Over his last six at bats, not much has happened. Which supports the idea that matchup stats aren’t predictive but points out that before that 0-6 he was even better! Just for fun here’s what appears to be the best hit ball by Santiago since 2009 against Colon. On an 0-2 fastball:
And where it landed:
Small samples and recent history be damned! Let’s see Santiago tomorrow!