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Jim Furtado
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Friday, July 26, 2019

The Case for the Mid-at bat Pitching Change

Can we….can we not? Please?

Changing pitchers mid–plate appearance: It’s a tactic that’s been sparingly deployed in college baseball, but is virtually unheard of in the big leagues. That could change soon—and the evidence says it could be more effective than you’d think.

Davo Posted: July 26, 2019 at 01:16 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: pitching change, strategy

One Weird Trick to Beat MLB Batters

Well, this ought to make some get-off-my-lawn-you-kids types’ heads Cronenberg ...

But what if there had been a bold, truly original strategy that Girardi could have called on to make the same move? And what if it’s one that major league managers may be about to embrace?

Consider this: Even more so than the typical pitcher, Betances is far more effective with two strikes than he is in non-two-strike counts. In fact, Betances is one of the best two-strike pitchers of all time, boasting the biggest gap in recorded history between his performance in two-strike and non-two-strike counts (minimum 500 batters faced with two strikes). In the pitch-tracking era (2008-19), Betances’s wOBA allowed (.449) in non-two-strike counts has been one of the worst in the game, well above the .402 league average. But in two-strike counts, his wOBA allowed (.139, compared to the .237 MLB average) has been the best—better than Craig Kimbrel’s, better than Kenley Jansen’s, better than Aroldis Chapman’s. Betances isn’t good at getting ahead, but when he does get two strikes on hitters, his knuckle-curve renders them helpless.

Wilson’s splits aren’t so extreme: He’s been worse than Betances with two strikes, but better than Betances before he gets to two strikes. So why not use him to get Bradley in a hole, then bring in the two-strike specialist to finish him off? It’s the baseball equivalent of basketball’s alley-oop: The first pitcher puts up the alley, and the second supplies the oop. You’ve heard of the opener; this is the oopener.


Monday, May 06, 2019

The Effectiveness of “Infield In” Defense | The SIS Blog

So, there’s clearly a trade-off here for the defense. Bringing the infield in will increase the likelihood of a hit on a groundball or short line drive, as the infielders have less time to react. But playing the infield in will do a better job of preventing runs. Even regular groundouts can score the runner when the infield is back; meanwhile, a ball fielded in a drawn-in infield can stop the runner from trying to score, or he can be more easily thrown out at home.

In 2018, the teams that played the most balls in play with “infield in” were the Padres (98), Phillies (93), and White Sox (82). The teams that played the fewest were the Angels (32), Brewers (32), and Mariners (34).

Jim Furtado Posted: May 06, 2019 at 11:57 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: strategy

 

 

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