C.J. Nitkowski thinks Matt Kemp hangs over zone as much as Carlos Quentin, why he’s wrong

DodgersPadresBrawl

C.J. Nitkowski, for reasons unknown, decided to inject himself into the Zack Greinke/Carlos Quentin/Dodgers/Padres brawl discussion, basically saying that Quentin doesn’t hang over the plate any more than Matt Kemp does.

Damning screencaps, right? Yeah, a lot of people seemed to think so, hence this response, because they both conveniently only show their setups and don’t show why pitchers complain about Quentin diving over the plate and why he gets hit so much.

I find it interesting that he clearly appears to be misleading his followers here, because it’s obvious that the point of contention is how they end up after footstrike, not how they setup. I mean, who cares how a guy sets up if he’s on top of the plate when the ball is about to cross it.

Anyway, so what’s up with the differing reputations of Quentin and Kemp if we’re to believe what the screencaps show, right?

MattKempStepsOut

CarlosQuentinStepsIn

Ah right, it’s because Kemp actually tends to pull out and away from the plate after his setup, while Quentin … well … he dives in after his setup, sort of like everybody has been saying.

MattKempFootstrike

CarlosQuentinFootstrike

That’s both of them at footstrike, where it actually matters in terms of getting out of the way of being hit.

It sort of sucks that both are wearing dark undershirts, because it’s hard to tell exactly where their elbows are (Quentin’s is basically over the inside corner), but it’s still clear to see why Quentin would get hit more than Kemp.

Besides the fact that it’s harder to rotate out of the way when you dive towards the plate, thus making it harder to avoid being HBP (it’s why he can’t simply move like NotGraphs wants), Kemp has a ton more room for a pitcher to miss inside before even coming close to hitting him. With Quentin, if you miss anywhere in and above the belt, he’s at risk to take it off his forearm. You know, sort of like he did twice in this series. And 100+ other times over his career.

To be frank, I feel stupid for even having to write this post, since a player doesn’t have one of the highest HBP rates ever for no reason, but people seem to actually be buying into this garbage, and Jayson Stark actually retweeted it as “interesting”, so it deserved an explanation.

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