Breaking it Down: Ryon Healy’s very bad start

The Mariners didn’t make many moves this offseason, but one move they did make was trading for Oakland Athletics third and first basemen Ryon Healy. Healy has played in six of Seattle’s first seven games and recorded only one hit in 20 plate appearances.

That’s a very bad start to the season for the first basemen that is currently hitting .056/.105/.056 for the season with a wRC+ of -59. The good news is that Healy is walking more than he ever has during his brief major league career (5.3% of his PAs), but he’s also striking out more than he has as well (26.3%). All of these numbers say that it’s been tough to watch Healy when he’s at the plate as it’s usually resulted in an out with some ugly swings.

Despite the higher strikeout rate, Helay is only swinging at 26.2% of pitches outside of the zone this season (his career norm is 35.2%). His biggest problem has been that he isn’t making contact with pitches outside of the zone when he does swing at them; currently the infielder is only making contact with 27.3% of the pitches he swings at outside of the zone. This means that he’s not fouling off, or putting in play, as many pitches as he has in the past and that’s leading to more outs.

When the third year veteran has put the ball in play, he’s consistently pulled (61.5% of balls in play) the ball and hit line drives (61.5%) which has led to a predictably low BABIP of .077. All of those numbers are off of career norms.

So why has Healy struggled so mightily in the first seven games of 2018? The major reason is that he’s not making contact with pitches like he did at the start of the 2017.

Healy heatmap

And here’s his heat map from the first seven games of the 2017 season.

healy 2017 heatmap

He’s roughly seeing a similar number of pitches now as he was last season, but he’s just not making contact with them at the same rate as he was in the past. From these heatmaps it seems a hole has developed in his swing between last season and this season. Which leaves me wondering if he’s still feeling soreness in his right hand from the surgery he had on┬áValentines Day.

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