There's probably a whole long post to be written about Chone Figgins that I don't feel like writing yet, because I want to gather more information. We've still played just 11 games, and two different opponents. I'll write at length about Figgins when there's reason enough, and data enough, to write at length about Figgins.
But what I'll say about Figgins in the early going is that he's looked far more competent than I remember him looking a year ago. A year ago, I couldn't believe that Figgins had ever been a productive hitter. These last few weeks, we've seen discipline and line drives. Figgins has hit several balls hard - he's hit several balls like a Major League batter should hit balls. Maybe it's just because we've all turned on Miguel Olivo, but I haven't detected that familiar Figgins dread.
This is a post about a fun fact. This fun fact has to do with Figgins' discipline, and not his balls in play. This fun fact is based on the plate discipline information available at FanGraphs, which is not perfect. I would prefer to use the PITCHfx plate discipline information, but I'm using the other plate discipline information instead because there wasn't PITCHfx for the two games in Japan, and that's 18 percent of the season.
According to those numbers, Figgins has seen 111 pitches in the strike zone, and he's swung at 68 (61 percent) of them.
According to those numbers, Figgins has seen 95 pitches out of the strike zone, and he's swung at 15 (16 percent) of them.
Last year, those respective rates were 59 percent and 25 percent. So far, Chone Figgins has swung at fewer balls. His swing rate at pitches out of the zone is among the lowest in the league.
Maybe what we're seeing is small-sample nonsense. Maybe what we're seeing is Chone Figgins settling in as a leadoff hitter. Maybe what we're seeing is both real and completely independent of Figgins being a leadoff hitter. We'll see from here on out. But if you were looking for Chone Figgins to give some reasons for hope early on, some reasons he has given. He's hit more like what I imagine he thinks he ought to hit like.