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Jim Furtado
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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Optimizing the Swing, Part Deux: Paying Homage to Teddy Ballgame – The Hardball Times

So what’s a poor batter to do. It depends on what the batter is trying to do. If getting on base is the primary goal, then swinging level would appear to the best strategy. You’ll still hit a lot of home runs if the bat speed is high and the aim is good. Indeed that is exactly the approach advocated by Ted Williams, as written in his classic book The Science of Hitting. Someone who hit 521 career home run with a 0.482 lifetime on-base percentage must surely know whereof he speaks.

But to get the highest home run probability requires swinging with a larger attack angle, keeping in mind that you will fail often if the swing is mis-timed. A possible compromise is to pick some intermediate attack angle. For example, an attack angle of 120 reduces the home run probability by about 35 percent but also reduces the four-inch timing error to be about 0.4 inches. Moreover, such an attack angle is actually “level” for a typical curveball, which has a larger descent angle than a fastball.

There may well be other possible strategies, but my goal in this article is not to analyze these in detail. Rather, it is to set up a framework for doing such an analysis. While the development of the framework is still a work in progress, hopefully some useful initial steps have been taken.

It worked for Egghead Jr.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 24, 2015 at 11:39 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hitting, physics

Friday, September 04, 2015

Harper’s Impressive Plate Discipline Put In Historical Context

Will Bryce ever see another pitch in the strike zone??

Bryce Harper made headlines on Thursday night with a spectacular score line — zero at-bats, zero hits, four runs, one RBI and four walks.

He saw 20 pitches in Washington’s 15-1 drubbing of Atlanta and didn’t swing once, as his walk total climbed to 104 for the year – second to only Cincinnati’s Joey Votto (116).


 

 

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