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Articles Tagged Mistake Pitches 

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Ivan Nova allowed a home run to Kirk Nieuwenhuis on Saturday, but the pitch was exactly where he wanted it.

Ivan Nova leads the major leagues with 46 extra-base hits allowed. Many of them were mistakes. This one, a solo homer by Kirk Niewenhuis in the third inning of the Yankees-Mets game on Saturday, was not.

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Is the traditional strike-ball dichotomy too simplistic?

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 a previous article for Baseball 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.

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Do early-season phenoms fade once the rest of the league learns to stop giving them pitches to hit?

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.

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November 12, 2009 1:06 pm

Checking the Numbers: Extending the Discipline Detection

12

Eric Seidman

Continuing to look at plate discipline with a discussion of contact rate and swing frequency.

Last Friday, I discussed plate discipline at length, noting that the commonly cited facet of performance extends beyond its synonym of patience and into the realm of making fewer responsive mistakes in a given trip to the dish. I introduced signal detection theory as a means of more accurately measuring which hitters produce the correct responses most often, since having good plate discipline must also cover the optimization of in zone pitches and not merely how often a hitter chases.

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October 22, 2009 2:00 pm

Checking the Numbers: Crossing Over

9

Eric Seidman

The challenge of changing speeds while integrating perceived velocity into the mix.

When a pitch begins its flight towards home plate, the radar gun registers a specific velocity-one that correlates quite strongly to the start speed component of PITCHf/x-which unfortunately becomes the gospel as to how hard the pitch was thrown. Various factors, like the natural loss of velocity as the pitch reaches home plate, the true distance of the release, the actual flight time, the location, when the batter picks the ball up, and what pitch the batter initially anticipated all work together to alter a hitter's perception of velocity.

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David picks the brain of a Red Sox prospect about the true meaning of plate discipline, developing in the Boston organization, and pre-game preparation.

[Ed. note: This piece was originally published on July 1, 2007, when David interviewed him while Bates was still in A-ball; we're republishing it in light of Bates' promotion to The Show.]

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August 5, 2007 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Brian Bannister

0

David Laurila

Sitting down to talk about pitching with the Royals rotation regular.

Brian Bannister is a thinking man's pitcher. Known more for his guile and pitching acumen than for his stuff, the 26-year-old right-hander has established himself as a mainstay in the Royals starting rotation in his first full major league season. Originally a seventh-round pick by the Mets in 2003, Bannister was acquired from them last December in exchange for reliever Ambiorix Burgos. The son of former big league pitcher Floyd Bannister, the USC product has started 17 games for Kansas City and is 7-6, 3.45 in 107 innings.

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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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October 6, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Three

0

Joe Sheehan

The Yankees continued their run through the ... hey, not so fast! In San Diego, the Cardinals continued to make a statement about the importance of home-field advantage, while in New York the Mets were the one team to keep order in the first two games.

\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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_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.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_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).'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_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. '; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160157644_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 4, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day One

0

Joe Sheehan

The A's and Padres give us a dog day afternoon, but the Yankees stick to the plan at night.

The big story was the continuing tear of Frank Thomas, who hit two homers to account for the early lead and the insurance run in the ninth inning. What is most impressive about the two shots is how different the pitches were, and how they showed the broad range of Thomas' still-impressive batting skills.

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One of the most enduring concepts in baseball is the "clutch hitter." Despite statistical evidence to the contrary, scouts, fans, and major league front offices continue to believe that some hitters are "clutch" and others are not. This is particularly evident in the playoffs, where the inability of a player with strong regular season statistics to hit in October is offered as evidence that the player is not "clutch," while other players are lauded for a few, well-timed base hits. While there is no statistical evidence for systematic clutch hitting, however, it is still possible that some players do under (or over) perform in the playoffs, due to a tendency for "mistake hitting." Perhaps there are hitters who build their statistics up against bad pitching, but when faced with the quality pitching delivered in the playoffs, the holes in their game are exposed. Likewise, there may be players who do not have spectacular regular season numbers, but who have a solid batting approach that leaves them in an equally good position against low and high quality pitchers. The former type of player might be seen as "choking" in the playoffs, while the latter is seen as turning in a clutch performance.

While there is no statistical evidence for systematic clutch hitting, however, it is still possible that some players do under (or over) perform in the playoffs, due to a tendency for "mistake hitting." Perhaps there are hitters who build their statistics up against bad pitching, but when faced with the quality pitching delivered in the playoffs, the holes in their game are exposed. Likewise, there may be players who do not have spectacular regular season numbers, but who have a solid batting approach that leaves them in an equally good position against low and high quality pitchers. The former type of player might be seen as "choking" in the playoffs, while the latter is seen as turning in a "clutch" performance.

For example, here are scouting reports, taken from CBS Sportsline web site and The Sporting News, for Jeff Conine and Mike Lowell.

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It's 2:32 a.m. PDT. Let me check again. Wow. It really happened. It still doesn't seem real. Game Seven of the American League Championship Series, even now, feels more like a weird morphing of Game Six of the NLCS and Game Four of the 2001 World Series. Three runs down... five outs left... best pitcher in the league... tiring suddenly... manager riding him... extra innings... solo home run... Yankee Stadium bedlam. It's like a playoff edition of Mad Libs. I gave up. I carried hope through the seventh inning, but when Alfonso Soriano was allowed to face Pedro Martinez as the tying run--I was begging for Ruben Sierra, to give you an idea of the desperation--with as much chance of hitting Martinez as he did of spontaneously combusting, I packed it in. The Sox had outplayed the Yankees, they had the best pitcher in the game pitching well, and for the umpteenth straight game, the Yanks hadn't looked good at the plate. Jason Giambi's two home runs only served to taunt Yankee fans with the thought of how either of those blasts, in one of his many high-leverage at-bats, could have made all this unnecessary.

Let me check again.

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