Pitches move too fast for batters to see, so how do they hit the ball? And what does that have to do with Chad Bradford?
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Matt Lentzner has carved out a (very) small niche in the baseball analysis world by examining the intersection of physics and biomechanics. He has presented at the PITCHf/x conference in each of the last two years and has written articles for The Hardball Times, as well as three previous articles forBaseball Prospectus. When he’s not writing, Matt works on his physics-based baseball simulator, which is so awesome and all-encompassing that it will likely never actually be finished, though it does provide the inspiration for most of his articles and presentations. In real life, he’s an IT Director at a small financial consulting company in the Silicon Valley and also runs a physical training gym in his backyard on the weekends.
More baseball remembrances from the erstwhile Boston Red Sox ace.
Bill Monbouquette is as old-school as they get. The 74-year-old “Monbo” spent 50 years in the game — 11 as a big-league right-hander and many more as a pitching coach — and few have been more hard-nosed. Three years after being diagnosed with leukemia, he remains every bit as feisty.
Not content to simply study its effects from the comfort of his own home, Will takes on the laser to experience LASIK for himself.
(NOTE: The pictures linked in this file include some images some may find a bit disturbing. If the idea of seeing surgery on an eyeball creeps you out, please don't click on the links. Special thanks to Tracey at the 20/20 Institute for taking the pictures while I was on the table being very still.)
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An all-time great lefty fireballer provides more than just one cautionary tale of what can go wrong on a diamond.
As promised in our last installment, here are some words on Indians' great Herb Score, who passed away earlier this month. Score was one of the most promising young pitchers of all time, and for a brief moment, he was close to being the best pitcher in the major leagues. Then tragedy struck, and the moment was gone. That last is the understood version. In truth, there were two tragedies, both of which injured Score in their own way. When casting about for reasons for his swift decline, observers seized on the wrong injury: it wasn't a Gil McDougald line drive which wrecked Score's career, but his managers and his time.
How different ballparks affect velocity, whether pitchers use the fastball more early in games, and the challenge of quantifying plate discipline.
"Plate discipline though is difficult to measure. Good plate discipline can mean swinging at the first pitch, fouling off the fifth, taking the tenth; it's about hitting when it's possible to do so and walking when not. If it's possible to hit, a walk is a relative failure. Ultimately though, because information as to just how many juicy pitches players swing at and how many unhittable ones they take is non-existent, though walks are an imperfect measure, they will have to do."
--John Hill writing for The Cub Reporter weblog in 2005