The White Sox will regret hiring Ozzie Guillen. The Astros’ Brad Ausmus and Jose Vizcaino: how to flush $4 million down the toilet. The A’s and Jays hook up for yet another trade. The Phillies won’t solve their bullpen problem with Billy Wagner alone. The Mariners look poised for a fall. These and other news and notes in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
One of the reasons patience at the plate is encouraged is that it wears out opposing starters, allowing the hitters to chew into the soft underbelly of middle relief where they can really score some runs. It sure sounds attractive, and it seems to make sense.
But it’s almost a trivial advantage. The range in pitches seen per plate appearance runs from 3.6 (Devil Rays and company) to 3.9 (Red Sox, Oakland).
Take an average AL staff. Every nine innings, they give up nine hits, three walks, strike out six, and watch one lucky fan get a nice souvenir. Look at a nine-inning game pitched by an average staff against the most and least patient teams:
9.30 H + 3.16 BB + 27 outs = 39.46 batters/game (by average staff in average park against average hitters)
So 39.46 PAs * 3.6 P/PA = 142 pitches to get through a game against the most-aggressive team. And 153 pitches to get through a game against the most-passive team.