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It's not a nerds vs. jocks thing at all. It's nerds vs different nerds. I'm not worried about any of these sports writers taking my lunch money.
The actual jocks, the guys playing the games, may say they don't understand the advanced stats, but I've rarely heard them denigrate them.
I don't know why I even responded. Don't feed the trolls, right?
The idea that English nerds are somehow more appealing than stat nerds is comical. Stat guys tend to have actual jobs that pay in actual money. This is very attractive to the ladies once you're over 25.
English nerds are just more likely to write it up and make it sound like better than it is. It's all marketing with you guys. Us stat nerds needs pics, or it didn't happen. Ability to turn a phrase notwithstanding. :)
The athletes get the chicks. The rest of us are fighting over the scraps and trying to convince each other how cool we are.
Thanks everyone for the kind comments.
I think that an unconventional delivery certainly limits a pitcher's potential. Large platoon splits make it pretty hard to succeed as a starter since it is easy to stack a lineup against them.
It certainly works as a situational relief pitcher, but then those guys are pretty limited in value. I can see even more clearly now why coaches would steer pitchers away from it.
The flip side is that it could be a last best chance for a fringy pitcher to make it. Brad Ziegler comes to mind. Kinda like becoming a knuckleballer. Should certainly be in that "things to try" category.
When I say that 1 mph = 0.5 inches I mean that with two otherwise identical pitches thrown 1 mph different in speed, the faster pitch will hit my arbitrary limit of 400 deg/s 0.5 inches further away than the slower one.
All this stuff happens in a small window about 5-6 feet away from the batter so fractions of inches are still significant.
I am fond of saying that the baseball mind knows nothing of physics. The patterns built in the brain to identify and track pitches are based on timing, perception of spin, and tracking speed. Because of the foreshortened view that batters have we get all sorts on non-physics effects such as balls that hop, "roll off the table", slide, etc.
It's interesting that batters describe pitchers who throw hard as throwing "aspirins" - the ball looks smaller. Makes sense if you realize that they lose sight of it farther away.
This is right on the money.
So glad you were finally able to do this analysis.
Awesome work, as usual.
I suspect that the harder a pitcher throws, the more a batter has to cut back on his swing to keep up with the pitch. For example, if you had a pitcher who pitches 4 mph faster than average and that made the batter's swing 4 mph slower to compensate, the net loss in batted ball speed would be 2 mph.
That would be a way you could have slower batted ball speeds with a hard throwing pitcher.
Deception (which pitch speed influences) would also cause the same effect. The longer a batter needs to see a pitch to id it, the less time he has to gear up his swing.
Thanks for all the comments, guys.
My pleasure. I didn't know you were still knocking around here.
Thanks for all the nice comments guys.
Dave, I'll check with BP and see if there's some way they could host this.
I don't know Alan. The shoe thing was a pretty good one. Most men have no idea how much women are into shoes. They also don't realize how much stock a woman puts into THEIR shoes.
Tom is truly a Renaissance man.
I was wondering how much eyesight has to do with pitch recognition, and if there is any attempt to measure this outside of a baseball venue.
Also, I can imagine a scenario where a batter can identify a pitch, but lacks the reflexes to act on this information. Is this a "real-life" situation?
Thanks for the interesting article.
5. Yes, that is the next logical, more sophisticated analysis. As stated in the article, there are still some nuances of the horizontal component that need to be teased apart before a combined value could be considered.
6. Certainly, although I think that the people who do that for a living already instinctively know it. We already have the archetype pitchers of the power pitcher/high arm angle/curveball and the other sinker pitcher/lower arm angle/slider. We already knew those combinations go well together, but now we know quantitatively why.
Thanks for the thoughtful questions.
Thanks everyone for the positive feedback.
1. You are correct that release point will also affect final velocity components. High release points will benefit sinking pitches, overhand curves, etc.
2. Apparently not, although I don't know the specific reason why. And you are correct that knowing why would be illuminating. This article has many more questions than answers.
3. I don't think this analysis is developed enough to be "actionable". Stay tuned as it is developed though. I think insight into specific pitchers is forthcoming.
4. Yes overall average Vzf is not useful in predicting pitcher effectiveness. What Mike did was look at average Vzf of pitcher's *fastballs*. Even so, if you had a pitcher who threw and excellent four-seam fastball and an excellent two-seam fastball (sinker) each 50% of the time then his average would look terrible even though he is probably an excellent pitcher. As I said earlier, there is a lot of refinement needed to get solid information out.
This is a problem across all scouting reports like these. The ratings are done, we all kvetch about why our fav player is rated so low, and then it's forgotten. Nobody ever checks to see if the rankings were any good or not.
I'd like to see a review of last year's rankings. What was right, what was wrong, etc. Who graduated and how they did, and who flamed out.
That's my main request.
I too would like to see tool rankings, although I understand that would add a huge workload to the process.
Also, I see no reason to give each team 11 prospects. I know that is "fair", but I would much rather see the top prospects (five, four, and three star) prospects from each team regardless of how many that makes. Of course some teams will get more than 11 prospects and some less, but then it becomes obvious who has the deeper farm systems.
Best interview I've ever read. Thanks.
That's a lot of love for Rajai Davis as well. I guess PECOTA doesn't think his 2009 was a fluke after all.
Isn't pious BS what sportswriters do for a living? Present company excluded, of course.
I think it's possible. CF is about twice as much work to play as a corner since you've got more ground to cover and are involved in almost all outfield plays either as the primary fielder or the backup.
If you aren't good at it then I would expect even more wear and tear. Diving for ball other guys get to standing, taking bad routes and having to run hard to make up for it would take more out of a guy.
So with fresher legs, Ellsbury COULD steal more, beat out more infield hits, and maybe hit with a little more power.
Not talking about Feliz specifically, you would expect to see a reduction of BB% after a spike even if the batter sustained the new skill. The reason being, that the system is dynamic and pitchers will adapt to batter's changes.
If a batter becomes more selective, the pitchers will eventually realize this and start throwing better pitches to hit. This in turn will lower the BB% and raise the BABIP. The original trend could be just luck, but if the opposing teams buy it as a change in skill then you might still see the bounce.
The general population seemed to retain some BABIP improvement as well as some of the BB% - a new equilibrium point.
Oh, and I can't stand Nickelback either. :)
I\'m a little confused by the movement values. Why do you have it split into two values? Is that horizontal and vertical movement?
If so, then you\'re missing a big point with the fastballs which is that finesse pitchers are two-seam pitchers and power pitchers are four-seam pitchers. The vertical values are trending up with power pitching. Also, the 2-3 mph drop throwing a two-seam fastball would almost completely explain the difference in velocities.
If I\'m wrong, please explain the values.
I\'d like to scrap the top X number of prospects. I think it would be better just to do all the 5,4 and 3 star prospects for each organization. That would mean different numbers of prospects for each org, but then it would be clear who had the deepest system with a quick look.
Are 2 star guys even worth considering?