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July 13, 2012

BP Announcements

Normalized Hitter/Pitcher Profiles Have Arrived

by Dan Brooks and Harry Pavlidis

First, thanks for your enormous level of support and feedback for our new Hitter and Pitcher Profiles. Because of your suggestions, we increased the number of sortable statistics to 19, added several new color schemes, changed some of the layout, and added several new multi-sort options. Your feedback makes building new and great tools easier, so thanks!

We want to announce a new option on our tools and briefly describe how it works. This option is “normalization,” which allows you to compare a pitcher or hitter to other similar pitchers or hitters. It works only for a few of the 19 sorts right now—it will work for all of them eventually—but we think that the most instructive sort is “frequency,” so we’ll describe it using that and let you play around with it. We’ve already done some limited “beta testing” of this new feature via Twitter, and people found it really fun and informative, so we’re excited to announce it on Baseball Prospectus. (As an aside, Harry and I often beta new features late at night on Twitter, so you can come follow us and be part of the creative process if you want.)

Back to normalization. The idea here is to compare how a hitter is pitched relative to other hitters of the same handedness. A great example is Adrian Gonzalez, whose default frequency chart is below:

First, let’s drill down into this data a bit and pull up how LHP have pitched him with hard stuff.

We see a general trend to pitch him middle-middle and middle-away. But only some of that distribution of pitches is due to being Adrian Gonzalez. Some of it is due to being a left-handed hitter. The question is, how is Adrian different from left-handed hitters as a group? To answer that question, let’s flip on the lense of normalization:

Now we see a stunningly different picture, showing that Adrian Gonzalez is actually pitched inside relative to other left-handed hitters. In other words, although the distribution of pitches that Adrian Gonzalez sees is skewed middle-middle and middle-outside, compared to the aggregate left-handed hitter, Gonzalez is actually pitched much more strongly toward the inside of the strike zone.

There are plenty of other great examples of the difference normalization can make (check out A-Rod, Marco Scutaro, Derek Lowe, Dustin Pedroia...). Let us know what you find!


Dan Brooks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Dan's other articles. You can contact Dan by clicking here
Harry Pavlidis is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Harry's other articles. You can contact Harry by clicking here

5 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


Thanks a bunch!

When I click on the Derek Lowe link, it looks like that the profile at the bottom of his page is for his batting statistics, not his pitching statistics. You might want to check that.

Jul 13, 2012 08:59 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

Oh. We'll fix that. =) Thanks for the heads up.

Jul 13, 2012 10:17 AM
Richard Bergstrom

What you should try to do is get someone like Scherzer or Greinke, those who are a bit familiar with sabremetrics, and see what they think when they flip through their chart.

Maybe Brian Bannister's available?

Jul 13, 2012 11:39 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Mark Smith
BP staff

Question, is there a way to get pitches by count? Say, how many fastballs someone gets with a 1-2 count?

Jul 15, 2012 08:03 AM
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

We don't have Count as a sort yet, but it's on the list of things to be added.

Jul 15, 2012 08:58 AM
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