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What would happen if several hitters and pitchers of interest faced each other for full seasons?

As we talked about on Monday, Mike Trout has hit Felix Hernandez very well. After his first-inning home run on Opening Day, Trout is now hitting .441/.447/.794 in 38 plate appearances against Hernandez since being called up to the majors for good in April 2012. The question for the day, then, is this: How well should Mike Trout do against Felix Hernandez?

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September 20, 2013 6:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Attacking Andrew McCutchen

10

Sam Miller

Do pitchers target a tough opponent's weakness, or stick with their own strength?

Every hitter has a hole. Barry Bonds, during spring training, had given an interview with ESPN in which he as much as said, "if you make your pitch, you can get me out." The issue wasn't whether a hitter had a weakness, but where it was. Every pitcher in the big leagues knew that Giambi's hole was waist-high, on the inside corner of the plate. It was about the size of a pint of milk, two baseballs in height and one baseball in width. Which raised an obvious question: why don't the pitchers just aim for the milk pint? Moneyball, Chapter 7, "Giambi's Hole."

There seem to actually be two points in that paragraph, and they contradict each other. "Every pitcher in the big leagues" was saying that Giambi had a weakness, and that if you could throw him kryptonite it would get him out. But Bonds seemed to be saying something else: "If you make your pitch, you can get me out." Your pitch.

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On EW's one-year anniversary, Ben and Sam chat with Jason Wojciechowski about baseball and copyright law, then answer other listener emails.

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May 20, 2013 5:00 am

Pebble Hunting: Extreme Strikeout Matchups

1

Sam Miller

Strikeouts have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are they so popular?

On Sept. 18, 2011, Justin Verlander faced Chris Carter for the first and only three times to date. It went about how you’d expect, as Carter

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Inside the batter-pitcher matchup: Can the pitches a pitcher just threw help us predict which ones he's about to throw?

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of devouring Dan Brooks’ and Daniel Mack’s introduction of Brooks Baseball’s newest toy, pitch sequence visualization. To me, this is a major step forward in deciphering how every aspect of one pitch—be it type, velocity, or location—affects the strategy of the next. I’m not even so concerned with the results of the sequences—ultimately, well-executed pitches get results irrespective of other factors—but the massive insight we now have into a pitcher’s plan of attack is exciting whether you’re an amateur sabermetrician or a young player looking for a strategic edge.

Pitch sequencing is one of the great white sabermetric whales; we’ve been trying to get into pitchers’ heads for years, but in a game where all hurlers aspire on some level to complete randomness, that’s a very difficult thing to do. One sentence from the piece struck me as particularly insightful, however, and I think it bears repeating. It’s exactly how we’re going to refine this holy grail of baseball into as useful, practical, and applicable a tool as it could ever be. Write Brooks and Mack,

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October 27, 2011 5:00 am

Manufactured Runs: Matchup Madness

9

Colin Wyers

As the Cardinals and Rangers approach the end of their series, we offer a reminder to their skippers: batter-pitcher matchups aren't very predictive.

With the Cardinals facing elimination, Game Six will be an all-hands-on-deck endeavor. Both managers are scouring their rosters for any potential advantage, and as part of that effort, they’ll probably be referring to historic batter-pitcher matchups. Should La Russa lean heavily on a player like Octavio Dotel, who has historically done well against Rangers hitters like Adrian Beltre and Michael Young? Or should he opt for the players with the best overall performance, regardless of what the matchups say?

Let’s say we want to predict the outcome of a particular batter-pitcher matchup. I’m going to lean heavily on True Average, which is scaled to look like batting average but captures a player’s total batting value (so a player gets a little credit for a walk and a bit more for a single, all the way up to a home run).

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What would the BP team do if they were appointed commissioner for a day?

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What factors determine how often hitters take one for the team?

Every season major league pitchers throw tens of thousands of pitches inside off the plate, yet they hit batters “only” about 1500-1800 times in a season. Why do some inside pitches hit the batter, while others do not?

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October 16, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Six

0

Joe Sheehan

Our servers, like the Cardinals bullpen and the A's, crashed. Only two of those get to come back.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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The Mets and Cardinals finally got underway in a game that no player on either team had the biggest effect on.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 11, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day One

0

Joe Sheehan

The Tigers take on a completely different personality at the plate, and use it to win.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160590386_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 9, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Six

0

Joe Sheehan

The Cardinals step up to be the dance partner for the Mets.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160433082_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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