Michael the Kay just broke off CenterStage negotiations with The Genbaku Onanies to read up on his favorite yap point!
But how uncommon is it for a hitter to ultimately tattoo this 13th pitch into the bleachers after such a lengthy stand-off with a pitcher? Well, honestly, I’m glad you asked. In the 1015 plate appearances that went at least 12 pitches in that same time period, batters homered 3.84% of the time. In the 50858 plate appearances that went less than 12 pitches long, batters homered only 2.68% of the time.
...To put that into perspective, a 1.16% increase in HR/PA over the course of a 650 PA season is the difference of about 7 HR.
But HR rate isn’t the only aspect of the pitcher-batter matchup that seems to benefit from the extended plate appearance. In fact, in the 245 plate appearances that have gone exactly 13 pitches long from 2002-2011, the wOBA of those outcomes is a startling .381!
Whoa, whoa, whoa there. 245 PA? Isn’t this a Small Sample Size?
Good question. That is probably too small a sample to draw any significant conclusions from, yes. So let’s attempt to increase the sample size of these extra-deep at-bats by expanding the reach of our data set back to 1988—the year retrosheet’s pitch counts first became available. With the new data, our 13-pitch sample nearly doubles to 460 PA, while the wOBA in those at-bats remains steady at .380. 460 PA may still not be an ideal number to work with, but consider that Batters also happened upon some of their best results in 12-pitch at-bats with an even more shocking .415 wOBA in just over 1300 PA.
...Another possibility is that better hitters are more likely to work these extra-deep counts. As it turns out, Batters may have a slightly higher tendency to regularly work an at-bat into a +10-pitch count. Using the same 500 PA criteria from 2002-2011, I found 13 batters that worked extra-deep counts at least 1% of the time. But other then Jeremy Giambi, that list isn’t all that impressive:
So is there a bias in the wOBA increase in these long at-bats? Maybe. But, I’m willing to entertain suggestions on how to test for it.