Maybe if Newsweekian wild-eyed David Cone didn’t mention FanGraphs so damn often…we wouldn’t even know of this problem!
Last season, Fangraphs.com, a baseball analysis website, reported the average time between pitches league-wide as 21.5 seconds. The numbers count pickoff attempts as a pitch, but do include timeouts taken by the batter or pitcher in the middle of an at-bat.
“We have a situation in this day and age (where) I’m hard-pressed to (name) any batters that really stay in the box,” said Mike Port, former vice president of umpiring for Major League Baseball.
The Yankees average 142 pitches per game; the Mets are at 143. If we multiply 2.6 (the difference, in seconds, between the staffs’ average time between pitches) by 142, we find a 369 second-difference between the teams. We ought to subtract about 20 seconds here for the extra pitch the Mets throw per game, giving us a 349-second total. In other words, of the seven-minute difference between the Mets’ and Yankees’ length of games, just under six of those minutes can be attributed to slowness of the Bombers’ pitchers. (We accounted only for starting pitchers because they represent the majority of innings.)
With his dropoff in time, Sabathia is no longer the most deliberate Yankee starter. A.J. Burnett averages a snail-like 23.5 seconds between pitches in 2011.
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