Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Grumpy Gossage Napalms His Bridges:BWitz:NYT (reg req.)

Has Goose Gossage at long last grumped his way to irrelevance? Gossage has not been invited to Yankees Old Timers Day. 

Maybe the biggest problem with his grumpiness is there’s nothing new: more complaints about computers and guys from Harvard who won their rotisserie leagues. However, the portrait in the article at well-rounded, and Goose is still one of the icons of the game. Gossage was the best of both words—he lit up the spreadsheet and was fun to watch.

He had never been out of the state until he boarded a plane for Sarasota, Fla., after the Chicago White Sox drafted him in 1970 and gave him an $8,000 signing bonus.

Shortly before he left, he borrowed his brother’s car and drove to his favorite spot, near the Wilson Ranch, where his father, who had died the year before from emphysema, used to take him to hunt rabbit and deer, and forage for arrowheads.

Gossage sat under a pine tree and cried.

“I was scared to death,” he said. “I thought Hank Aaron and all the greats put their pants on different, that they were fictitious characters that didn’t really exist. But through those tears I had a talk with myself, that there aren’t going to be any woulda, shoulda, couldas. When I made that commitment to myself, I felt this weight off my shoulders.”

puck Posted: June 17, 2018 at 01:14 PM | 103 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: old man yells at cloud, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 17, 2018 at 02:20 PM (#5693890)
There are 2 people who should never be interviewed or quoted re: baseball: Goose Gossage and Scott Boras
   2. puck Posted: June 17, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5693893)
There are 2 people who should never be interviewed or quoted re: baseball: Goose Gossage and Scott Boras


How about Rob Manfred?

“There is a growing recognition that analytics have produced certain trends in the game that we may need to be more proactive about reversing,” Manfred said last month in an interview with The Athletic. “There are owners that feel that way. There are fans that feel that way.”


   3. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 17, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5693896)
There is a growing recognition that analytics have produced certain trends in the game that we may need to be more proactive about reversing

easy--just make it illegal for anyone to strike out
   4. GGIAS (aka Poster Nutbag) Posted: June 17, 2018 at 04:59 PM (#5693937)
easy--just make it illegal for anyone to strike out


HA! Don't you get it??

Making them illegal will stop nothing. Those strikeouts will somehow find their way into the stadium no matter what we do.

The only way to stop a strike out is a good guy with a strike out.

Duh.
   5. perros Posted: June 17, 2018 at 05:43 PM (#5693971)
Great article. Sometimes the biggest hearts come with mouths to match.
   6. Captain Supporter Posted: June 17, 2018 at 06:02 PM (#5693987)
There is a growing recognition that analytics have produced certain trends in the game that we may need to be more proactive about reversing


Baseball throughout its history has always tinkered with its rules when the game has become unbalanced. Why should analytics be a sacred cow? Manfred is right.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: June 17, 2018 at 06:50 PM (#5694007)
Baseball throughout its history has always tinkered with its rules when the game has become unbalanced.

No it hasn't. It lowered the pitching mound once, it introduced the DH 45 years ago and that's about it other than late 19th c changes. Baseball has probably tinkered with balls, made unwritten changes to strike zones, swtiched between strict and lax enforcement of certain rules (let's call balks this year!) but actual consequential rule changes have been rare. (Stuff like "let's restrict mound visits" -- very exciting change to the way the game is played.)

Anyway, Manfred's statement is triply meaningless. First it's meaningless until he states what the specific issues are. Second it's meaningless in that it would be nearly impossible to lay the blame for the change on "analytics" (not that anybody cares what caused the changes). Third it's meaningless in that nearly all of the changes have arisen are going to stick around because they work in all contexts.

Olney had an article recently bemoaning such changes, noting the reduction in exciting things like sac bunts! OK, also steals and, if memory serves, three other stats that were really just different ways of tracking one phenomenon. But that's just it -- sabermetrics got famous by pointing out that sac bunts are a bad idea in almost any context, including the 60s-80s context that Bill James was mostly dealing with. Early saber also noted that you needed to steal successfully about 70-75% of the time for it to be worth it. Such plays won't make more sense if we get rid of the shift.
   8. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2018 at 06:58 PM (#5694010)
Well, they changed the fair/foul home run rule. Changed how home runs are scored in a walk off. Changed what you can do to a ball. The kind of bat you can use. Whether or not you can have movable walls and or screens.

But in terms of major stuff one can argue that the came has became unbalanced only a few times and in those few times baseball did in fact make changes.

Baseball did move the mound back when pitchers started dominating at shorter distances. Baseball did introduce a livelier ball when pitchers started dominating at the 60'6" distances. Baseball banned doctoring the ball when pitchers started dominating with the livelier ball. Baseball lowered the mound when pitchers started dominating with clean balls. The AL added the DH when the AL pitchers started dominating on the lower mound. When scoring plummets baseball has almost always taken steps to fix it via rule changes.
   9. John Northey Posted: June 17, 2018 at 08:29 PM (#5694056)
I think adjusting the shift rules lightly - 2 infielders on each side of 2B is mandatory, no setting up behind the bag. Maybe a line in the OF to say infielders on the pitch must be in front of it, outfielders behind it. Once the ball is in play anything goes though.

I can see a pitch clock helping - 20 seconds between pitches and if the hitter isn't ready an automatic strike, if the pitcher isn't an automatic ball. If neither is ready then umpire discretion as to when to call one or the other on it. Maybe set up a clock behind the plate and in CF so both hitter and pitcher can see it.

No more switching pitchers left/right/left/right - only at the start of an inning or after a run has scored or an injury - if a player is removed due to injury he is automatically on the 10 day DL.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 17, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5694060)
Baseball did move the mound back when pitchers started dominating at shorter distances. Baseball did introduce a livelier ball when pitchers started dominating at the 60'6" distances. Baseball banned doctoring the ball when pitchers started dominating with the livelier ball. Baseball lowered the mound when pitchers started dominating with clean balls. The AL added the DH when the AL pitchers started dominating on the lower mound. When scoring plummets baseball has almost always taken steps to fix it via rule changes.
But note that all of those changes were made before the MLBPA was really a thing. No significant changes have been made* since they became subject to collective bargaining, and this past offseason showed that the paralysis is likely to continue.

*Yes, PED testing, but that's not a change in the rules of the game.
   11. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2018 at 08:37 PM (#5694062)
Well, we also haven't had an extended period of time where scoring has been depressed either since the union was fully formed.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 17, 2018 at 08:41 PM (#5694063)
True, but have the players given any indication that they are at all concerned about the lack of scoring (let alone the pace of play)? If their attitude is anything other than the reflexive "resist any significant change and make tiny concessions as a bargaining chip," I haven't seen it.
   13. perros Posted: June 17, 2018 at 08:41 PM (#5694064)
Not sure if it still holds, but OPS has been higher against the shift than without it this season.


Let evolution take its course.
   14. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2018 at 08:47 PM (#5694072)
Would the owners even have to ask players if they wanted to raise or lower the mound or move the batters box? Did they get permission to add a pitch clock?
   15. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:03 PM (#5694084)
I thought the CBA required MLBPA sign off on all rules changes.

As for the second part of your question I read somewhere that a clock comes into effect if time of game doesn’t get to 2:55 this year or 2:50 next. I don’t remember where I saw it but I’m pretty sure it was a Manfred comment.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:04 PM (#5694086)
Would the owners even have to ask players if they wanted to raise or lower the mound or move the batters box?
I believe so, yes.
Did they get permission to add a pitch clock?
As I understand it, Manfred had an unusual opportunity this past offseason to make unilateral changes after giving the union notice the previous year. There were rumblings about a pitch clock, but the players being the players, they resisted, and Manfred being pathetic Manfred, he caved, and the opportunity was wasted.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5694089)
I read somewhere that a clock comes into effect if time of game doesn’t get to 2:55 this year or 2:50 next.
I don't think that's a definite. I think they just said "we'll see where we are after this year and the revisit the issue," with the "threat" of a pitch clock if game times don't get down. We all know what a threat from Manfred is worth. I might be wrong about that, though - would be nice if I am.
   18. McCoy Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:06 PM (#5694090)
Did the players sign off on the Posey and Utley rules?
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:08 PM (#5694092)
Of course it's asking WAY too much of those special snowflake hitters to learn to hit a ball through a target the size of the broad side of a barn. Mustn't ask those poor little babies to do any kind of adjustments.

That said, if Manfred wants to help hitters in a less stupid way than banning the shift, he might teach umpires to stop expanding the strike zone several inches outside the plate and below the knees. Home plate umpires blow more ball and strike calls every game than all the miscalled plays in the field during the course of a week, and maybe even a month.

If the shift helps to expedite the Chris Davises of the world out of baseball, then hooray for the shift.
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:12 PM (#5694095)
Did the players sign off on the Posey and Utley rules?
Not all of them, obviously.
   21. Bhaakon Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:29 PM (#5694102)
That said, if Manfred wants to help hitters in a less stupid way than banning the shift, he might teach umpires to stop expanding the strike zone several inches outside the plate and below the knees. Home plate umpires blow more ball and strike calls every game than all the miscalled plays in the field during the course of a week, and maybe even a month.


It's my understanding that the strike zone measurably shrinks on 2-strike counts and expands on 3-ball counts. Which would mean that the shifting strike zone mostly favors balls in play and a uniform one might just lead to even more PA ending in one of the three true outcomes.

Of course, the aesthetics are still awful.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:32 PM (#5694104)
I don't even see a pitch clock as being a fundamental change(and I'm a person who opposed it pretty heavily at first) At the very minimum it should be used on nobody on base situations. I've even changed my mind on a few other "non-fundamental" changes, such as roster limitation (no more than 10 pitchers or something like that type of thing, but I doubt I'll change my mind on upping the number of batters a pitcher must face before being allowed to be replaced mid inning)

I don't see any reason to ban the shift, players will eventually learn to hit through them or be removed from baseball. It's not going to be a real issue, and if anything it encourages more contact type of hitting.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:38 PM (#5694110)
That said, if Manfred wants to help hitters in a less stupid way than banning the shift, he might teach umpires to stop expanding the strike zone several inches outside the plate and below the knees. Home plate umpires blow more ball and strike calls every game than all the miscalled plays in the field during the course of a week, and maybe even a month.

It's my understanding that the strike zone measurably shrinks on 2-strike counts and expands on 3-ball counts. Which would mean that the shifting strike zone mostly favors balls in play and a uniform one might just lead to even more PA ending in one of the three true outcomes.


Tell that to Aaron Judge, who gets called out on more bogus third strike calls than just about any other hitter in baseball. Which brings up the other problem is that those ####### "personalized" strike zones favor some players and disfavor others.
   24. perros Posted: June 17, 2018 at 09:42 PM (#5694113)
Judge legitimately has the biggest strike zone in baseball.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: June 17, 2018 at 10:25 PM (#5694136)
Tell that to Aaron Judge, who gets called out on more bogus third strike calls than just about any other hitter in baseball. Which brings up the other problem is that those ####### "personalized" strike zones favor some players and disfavor others.


For a couple of years, Matt Carpenter had the most miscalls by umps according to stat cast,(data from memory) where they incorrectly called balls strikes... I need to see how easy it is to find that data.

Okay, not really hard to find the data.. As it stands in 2018 the top five batters who have the most called strikes on balls out of the zone.

1. Aaron Judge 4.5% of pitches (58 pitches)
2. Paul Goldschmidt 4.0%, (54 pitches)
3. Justin Bour 4.5% (53 pitches)
4. Jose Ramirez 3.6% (47 pitches)
5. Matt Carpenter 4.0% (47 pitches)

But if you look at percentage you have Rendon (5.2%--45 pitches) Brock Holt 4.8%(25 pitches) Gregor Blanco 4.8%(25 pitches) Bour, Judge and Andrelton Simmons(35 pitches) at 4.5% (minimum of at least 25 pitches called out of the zone)



Not sure that this will link properly to the results
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 17, 2018 at 11:47 PM (#5694166)
1. Aaron Judge 4.5% of pitches (58 pitches)
2. Paul Goldschmidt 4.0%, (54 pitches)
3. Justin Bour 4.5% (53 pitches)
4. Jose Ramirez 3.6% (47 pitches)
5. Matt Carpenter 4.0% (47 pitches)


So that's just 5 players in about 10 weeks who've had 259 miscalled strikes against them. How many of those came on 3-2 counts? What about 1-1 or 1-0 or 2-1? Bad calls like that can easily change the course of an at-bat, and in many cases the course of a game, even if not as visibly or dramatically as a Don Denkinger call in the World Series.

Throw in the results for all the other players----many of whom benefit from bad ball and strike calls----and you'll see why I harp on the fact that the strike zone is far more in need of replays, or replacement by a RoboUmp, than all the miscalled plays on the bases put together.
   27. flournoy Posted: June 18, 2018 at 12:11 AM (#5694168)
As it stands in 2018 the top five batters who have the most called strikes on balls out of the zone.

1. Aaron Judge 4.5% of pitches (58 pitches)
2. Paul Goldschmidt 4.0%, (54 pitches)
3. Justin Bour 4.5% (53 pitches)
4. Jose Ramirez 3.6% (47 pitches)
5. Matt Carpenter 4.0% (47 pitches)


How meaningful is this? This sort of list will always be dominated by players who take a lot of pitches, period. This could very well also be the top five players who have taken the most strikes and borderline-strikes.
   28. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 18, 2018 at 08:46 AM (#5694201)
How meaningful is this? This sort of list will always be dominated by players who take a lot of pitches, period. This could very well also be the top five players who have taken the most strikes and borderline-strikes.

IOW it's okay for players with a selective batting eye to be screwed repeatedly by bad calls that often turn an inning (or even a game) around. That seems perverse, but I guess it's much more important to save face for the umpires than to actually address the single worst part of their performance.
   29. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 18, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5694224)
IOW it's okay for players with a selective batting eye to be screwed repeatedly by bad calls that often turn an inning (or even a game) around.


That's not what he said. He was noting that those players take a lot of pitches so they are likely to be high on the list of missed calls because they are simply requiring more calls from the ump. Just for example, Ramirez is also 2nd in number of balls called on pitches in the zone. Just FWIW;

Judge (26th)
Goldschmidt (23rd)
Bour (33rd)
Ramirez (2nd)
Carpenter (33rd)

cfb you did a bad thing for my productivity by linking to this site. I could spend a week there.

   30. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 18, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5694240)
IOW it's okay for players with a selective batting eye to be screwed repeatedly by bad calls that often turn an inning (or even a game) around.

That's not what he said. He was noting that those players take a lot of pitches so they are likely to be high on the list of missed calls because they are simply requiring more calls from the ump.


But that's exactly what I just said: Players who are more selective are likely to be disproportionately affected by bad calls. That doesn't contradict what flournoy wrote; it simply puts it into clearer focus.

Just for example, Ramirez is also 2nd in number of balls called on pitches in the zone. Just FWIW;

Judge (26th)
Goldschmidt (23rd)
Bour (33rd)
Ramirez (2nd)
Carpenter (33rd)


Yes, but Ramirez is the only one on that list without a disproportionate disadvantage. The point remains that some players gain consistent disadvantage from bad home plate umpiring, while other players gain a consistent advantage. The "personalized" strike zone doesn't just describe over 100 different strike zones for over 100 different umpires; it also describes 750 different and arbitrary strike zones for 750 different players.

Just imagine if it were shown that before replay came along, some players were more likely to be called out on bang-bang plays on the bases, while other players were more likely to be called safe, and I think you'll see the point I've been trying to make. MLB has used replay to get "every call right" down to the point of measuring micro-inches of distance between a player's foot and the bag, but it seems supremely indifferent to the far larger problem of getting balls and strikes called consistently for every player.
   31. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5694252)
the far larger problem of getting balls and strikes called consistently for every player


What makes you think this is a "far larger problem?" How much is this impacting individual batters let alone games? This gets back to my fundamental issue with replay in that it tries to create perfection in a scenario where it is unnecessary.

Let's use Judge as an example. He's got 300 plate appearances this year. He has had 58 pitches called strikes that shouldn't have been and 29 pitches called balls that shouldn't have been so "mistakes" have cost him 29 pitches. That's almost exactly one every 10PA or one pitch every 2+ games (9PA/2 games for Judge). How many of those pitches do we think have influenced at bats? Yes, maybe there has been a terrible call on a 2 strike pitch with the bases loaded or something but I'm skeptical it makes a meaningful difference of any sort.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:31 AM (#5694254)
What makes you think this is a "far larger problem?" How much is this impacting individual batters let alone games? This gets back to my fundamental issue with replay in that it tries to create perfection in a scenario where it is unnecessary.

Let's use Judge as an example. He's got 300 plate appearances this year. He has had 58 pitches called strikes that shouldn't have been and 29 pitches called balls that shouldn't have been so "mistakes" have cost him 29 pitches. That's almost exactly one every 10PA or one pitch every 2+ games (9PA/2 games for Judge). How many of those pitches do we think have influenced at bats? Yes, maybe there has been a terrible call on a 2 strike pitch with the bases loaded or something but I'm skeptical it makes a meaningful difference of any sort.


I agree with your general point that mistakes aren't that relevant, and tend to balance out. But, if there are systematic mistakes that disadvantage certain types of players, that seem problematic to me.
   33. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5694255)
Let's use Judge as an example. He's got 300 plate appearances this year. He has had 58 pitches called strikes that shouldn't have been and 29 pitches called balls that shouldn't have been so "mistakes" have cost him 29 pitches. That's almost exactly one every 10PA or one pitch every 2+ games (9PA/2 games for Judge).


Judge takes as many pitches as any hitter in the game. Of course he's going to have more "mistakes" in taken pitches than anyone else.
   34. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:35 AM (#5694256)
Do the systematic mistakes disadvantage certain types of players? Ramirez and Judge are about as dramatically different as you can get physically. The one thing these guys have in common is that they swing rarely. If a player wants to avoid getting bad calls against him he can swing the bat more often. These players are making a calculated gamble by taking lots of pitches.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:38 AM (#5694261)
OK, this is probably a stupid question, but I can't find the answer on these sites. When I look at those strike zones for each player, they are all presented the same. I assume they really are adjusting for the heights of the players in question, and that information is simply being presented in the same-sized box, even if the individual dimensions are different, correct? It seems obvious, but I never see anything explaining that, in fact, Judge's true strike zone is about 100 square inches larger than Jose Altuve's.
   36. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:42 AM (#5694268)
I always assumed so but never thought about it until now. It kind of has to be different for each player doesn't it? Otherwise I'd think a guy like Judge would have a LOT more "incorrect" strikes.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:44 AM (#5694270)
Do the systematic mistakes disadvantage certain types of players? Ramirez and Judge are about as dramatically different as you can get physically.

Ramirez is not being disadvantaged. He's getting a lot of extra balls too.

The one thing these guys have in common is that they swing rarely.

If Judge were at the top of both lists, I'd agree with your hypothesis. He's not.
   38. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 18, 2018 at 10:55 AM (#5694278)
Anthony Rendon (6'0") is -26 (47 "bad" strikes, 21 "bad" balls). Neither of us has done enough to determine that there is a "type" of player being harmed.
   39. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:05 AM (#5694295)
Anthony Rendon (6'0") is -26 (47 "bad" strikes, 21 "bad" balls). Neither of us has done enough to determine that there is a "type" of player being harmed.

Not saying I have. I'm just saying we shouldn't hand wave it away as randomness until we know more.
   40. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:17 AM (#5694304)
the far larger problem of getting balls and strikes called consistently for every player

What makes you think this is a "far larger problem?" How much is this impacting individual batters let alone games? This gets back to my fundamental issue with replay in that it tries to create perfection in a scenario where it is unnecessary.


Then let's eliminate all replays and go back to where we were before 2014. I'd be fine with that. But if you're going to fret about getting "every call right", why wouldn't you want to begin by addressing what's by far** the biggest number of blown calls, rather than spending an insane amount of time trying to micromanage the relatively minuscule number of bang-bang plays on the bases?

And what compounds the stupidity is that while missed bang-bang calls on the bases almost certainly even themselves out over the course of a season, that's simply not true when it comes to missed ball and strike calls on certain players like Judge or Altuve. So beyond the point of addressing the (by far) greater number of blown calls, there's also a fundamental issue of fairness, or as the engraving at the entrance to the Supreme Court building puts it, Equal Justice Under Law.

Again, imagine if it were shown that some players benefited and other players were screwed by missed calls on the bases. Wouldn't we think that'd be deserving of special attention? Why not when it comes to balls and strikes?

** There were 660 calls overturned on replay appeal in 2017, in 4860 games. That's a rate of 13.6 overturns per 100 games. You could probably match that number with the number of bad strike zone calls for the top 20 players.



   41. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:23 AM (#5694309)
What makes you think this is a "far larger problem?" How much is this impacting individual batters let alone games?

Yes, maybe there has been a terrible call on a 2 strike pitch with the bases loaded or something but I'm skeptical it makes a meaningful difference of any sort.


Of course turning balls into strikes or vice versa impacts the game. The entire concept of catcher framing is based on the value of turning balls into strikes. Managers and coaches chirp all game trying to get one more pitch call in order to change the dynamics of an at bat.
   42. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:26 AM (#5694312)
Why not when it comes to balls and strikes?


Quantity =/= quality. A 3-0 "gift" for the pitcher is not as important as a play at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Do you really want every single ####### ball/strike call reviewed? That would be horrible. I'd be fine going back to pre-2014. I think you are equating the importance of calls that are not of equal importance.

And what compounds the stupidity is that while missed bang-bang calls on the bases almost certainly even themselves out over the course of a season, that's simply not true when it comes to missed ball and strike calls on certain players like Judge or Altuve.


Please demonstrate this as true, particularly when it comes to a team wide impact. If it IS true and a team has a bunch of tall players then maybe short players will become more valuable the way tall players are more valuable in the NBA.
   43. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5694321)
OK, this is probably a stupid question, but I can't find the answer on these sites. When I look at those strike zones for each player, they are all presented the same. I assume they really are adjusting for the heights of the players in question, and that information is simply being presented in the same-sized box, even if the individual dimensions are different, correct? It seems obvious, but I never see anything explaining that, in fact, Judge's true strike zone is about 100 square inches larger than Jose Altuve's.

This is obviously not systematic, but four of the top five players on the balls-called-strikes list are listed at 6'3 or taller (Judge, of course, is 6'7). The short one is the one who is also high on the strikes-called-balls list. So I would say it's at least worth looking at whether there's a height bias on the lists.
   44. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5694329)
Then let's eliminate all replays and go back to where we were before 2014.

From your mouth to God's ears.
   45. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:42 AM (#5694330)
Why not when it comes to balls and strikes?

Quantity =/= quality. A 3-0 "gift" for the pitcher is not as important as a play at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Do you really want every single ####### ball/strike call reviewed? That would be horrible. I'd be fine going back to pre-2014. I think you are equating the importance of calls that are not of equal importance.


Obviously there'd need to be a study to quantify it, but I'd be willing to bet that more games eventually turn on bad ball and strike calls than turn on the extremely rare overturn of the type of play you mention.

A 3-0 "gift" can be just as critical in the long run as a missed call on the base, if instead of a walk a pitcher then comes back to retire the batter and kill a rally. A miscalled strike outside the strike zone on a 2-1 count can make a hitter gunshy about taking the next pitch outside the strike zone, and as a result he flails at it for a strikeout. Whereas if the call had been made correctly, with a 3-1 count he'd be able to sit on a pitch he could drive, with twice as many opportunities to do so. A blown ball and strike call can in fact often be the difference between a pitcher being able to escape an inning undamaged as opposed to the entire inning becoming unglued.

All counts have their particular dynamic, and missed calls on any count have the potential to change the course of a game. It's often not as obvious as a blown call on the bases, but given the far greater quantity of blown balls and strikes, their effect on the outcome of a game is more likely to be critical.

And it's not just particular batters who are affected by those "personalized" strike zones. Exhibit A: Greg Maddux.
   46. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:44 AM (#5694333)
The top five in most strikes called balls, per the same site:

Mike Trout (6'2)
Jose Ramirez (5'9)
Chris Taylor (6'1)
Brian Dozier (5'11)
Shin Soo Choo (5'11)

Still not systematic at all; you would want to see this controlled for total pitches taken in/out of the listed zone, for instance. Also, a larger sample would be good, and maybe also look at different parts of the zone? So if the assumed strike zone is the same for everyone, Judge should have more "high" pitches called strikes, but also more low "strikes" called balls.
   47. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 18, 2018 at 11:45 AM (#5694335)
Then let's eliminate all replays and go back to where we were before 2014.

From your mouth to God's ears.


Wouldn't bother me one iota, but then my least favorite team of all time was the 1985 Cardinals. Against them I would've rooted for a Trump White House All-Star team.
   48. villageidiom Posted: June 18, 2018 at 01:18 PM (#5694420)
IOW it's okay for players with a selective batting eye to be screwed repeatedly by bad calls that often turn an inning (or even a game) around. That seems perverse, but I guess it's much more important to save face for the umpires than to actually address the single worst part of their performance.

Does anyone know the difference between the Statcast zone and their "detailed zone"? According to the former, Judge has had 58 called strikes out of zone, but according to the latter he's had just 3. There's also an edge zone in the latter, where Judge has seen 165 called strikes. I'd have to assume 55 are the out-of-zone strikes in the former that aren't counted as out of zone in the latter, plus another 110 that were in-zone in the former.
   49. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: June 18, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5694435)
Judge should have more "high" pitches called strikes, but also more low "strikes" called balls.


Perhaps not though, because a hitter (not necessarily Judge) could swing much more often on pitches up in the strike zone.
   50. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: June 18, 2018 at 03:08 PM (#5694547)
I read the headline as "Grumpy Gossage Napalms His Britches".

Which got me thinking about the "Don't you just hate pants" thing that went on here for a long time.

And the poster who went by "Bicuit Pants" which, I think, was a typo version of Lou Gehrig's "Old Biscuit Pants" nickname.

Then I thought that Gossage & Biscuits sounds a lot like Sausage & Biscuits. Then I ate some doughnuts.

That is all.
   51. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: June 18, 2018 at 03:11 PM (#5694552)
How many doughnuts?
   52. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 18, 2018 at 03:23 PM (#5694571)
I read the headline as "Grumpy Gossage Napalms His Britches".
No, that was George Brett.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: June 18, 2018 at 03:41 PM (#5694605)
Which got me thinking about the "Don't you just hate pants" thing that went on here for a long time.


That's Smitty*. And me, but I don't advertise.

   54. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: June 18, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5694630)
How many doughnuts?


Two. Old fashioned plain.
   55. Ziggy's screen name Posted: June 18, 2018 at 04:05 PM (#5694637)
Just thinking about that George Brett post makes me giggle. Once upon a time it would have gotten a Primey.
   56. villageidiom Posted: June 18, 2018 at 05:15 PM (#5694701)
On my #48... Both zones are in the Baseball Savant tool cfb linked to upthread. (The former is "Gameday Zones" and the latter is "Detailed Zones".) Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Toward answering my own question... Here are the totals for all MLB in 2018 on called strikes:

24,389 In Gameday Zone, in Detailed Zone
20,361 In Gameday Zone, in edge of Detailed Zone
7,807 Out of Gameday Zone, in edge of Detailed Zone
817 Out of Gameday Zone, out of Detailed Zone

...and called balls (excl. balls in dirt, intentional balls, automatic balls):
555 In Gameday Zone, in Detailed Zone
6,101 In Gameday Zone, in edge of Detailed Zone
24,377 Out of Gameday Zone, in edge of Detailed Zone
75,269 Out of Gameday Zone, out Detailed Zone

So we have no called pitches at all that are {in Gameday Zone, out of Detailed Zone}, nor {out of Gameday Zone, in Detailed Zone}. That's good news. And most called strikes in the edge are also in the Gameday Zone, and most called balls in the edge are out of the Gameday Zone. That's possibly good news? I guess it depends on where the strike zone is.
   57. Walt Davis Posted: June 18, 2018 at 05:59 PM (#5694723)
Baseball did move the mound back when pitchers started dominating at shorter distances.

Sure, what was that, 130 years ago?

Baseball did introduce a livelier ball when pitchers started dominating at the 60'6" distances.

100 years ago. And not really. Scoring dropped below 4 per team-game in 1904 and stayed low except for a brief burst from 1911-12. They didn't get around to changing the ball until 1920. They certainly weren't in a hurry.

Baseball banned doctoring the ball when pitchers started dominating with the livelier ball.

100 years ago.

Baseball lowered the mound when pitchers started dominating with clean balls.

50 years ago.

The AL added the DH when the AL pitchers started dominating on the lower mound.

Well, not so much "started" as never stopped but yes ... 45 years ago.

So sure, about once every 50 years, baseball makes some "major" changes so I guess we're right on time for a few more.

But I haven't heard that much complaining about low-scoring, the complaining is about game time, Ks and HRs. Also scoring this year is at 4.35 per game, pretty standard by historical terms. The big changes from dead ball to live ball 100 years ago were in a context of 3.5-37 r/g. In 1968, it was 3.4 (though it had been at 4 most of the decade); in 1972 AL it was 3.5.

If scoring today was 3.5, then sure. I'm happy to believe that the reaction to 2014's 4.1 followed by first half 2015's 4.1 was enough to scare them into changing the ball mid-season 2015 (4.4 in the 2nd half). In 2017, the complaints were about the huge number of HRs (pushing scoring up to 4.65)

MLB might prefer 4.5 r/g but they clearly aren't shooting for 5+ r/g so they're not looking to make big changes to boost scoring. If anything, their response to last year has been to deaden the ball, with HR/FB rates down from 9.9% to 9.0% (and HR/PA from 3.3 to 3.0) and on-contact production down relative to 2016-17. They might well be happy if they could find the right combo of changes to reduce Ks (but not increase walks) and reduce HRs while somehow keeping scoring around 4.5/g but I don't think anybody knows what that set of changes are.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: June 18, 2018 at 06:06 PM (#5694726)
On strike zones and such, it makes sense that Judge would get a lot of balls called strikes. His own damn fault for being 9 feet tall. You're asking the umpire to shift a strike zone upwards by 3-4 inches and extend its vertical reach by another 2-3 inches, to do so just for one batter (or 1% of all batters if you want to include some other giants) while maintaining a perfectly "consistent" strike zone throughout the game. Of course that's not going to happen. There are going to be pitches below his knees that umps correctly call a strike the other 99% of the time they see that pitch and you want them to get the call on Judge correct nearly every time? Have you met a human being?

There also seem to be a lot of folks extrapolating wildly from one half-season of noise-filled data.
   59. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 18, 2018 at 06:50 PM (#5694740)
There also seem to be a lot of folks extrapolating wildly from one half-season of noise-filled data.

If you watch the Yankees, you'd know that Judge has been jobbed on the low strike since he came up.

On strike zones and such, it makes sense that Judge would get a lot of balls called strikes. His own damn fault for being 9 feet tall. You're asking the umpire to shift a strike zone upwards by 3-4 inches and extend its vertical reach by another 2-3 inches, to do so just for one batter (or 1% of all batters if you want to include some other giants) while maintaining a perfectly "consistent" strike zone throughout the game. Of course that's not going to happen. There are going to be pitches below his knees that umps correctly call a strike the other 99% of the time they see that pitch and you want them to get the call on Judge correct nearly every time? Have you met a human being?

And this is where the league should be proactive in using all the data they have to instruct umpires. Just like umpires have used the knowledge of who is a good framer to tighten the strike zone against them, they should use the knowledge of their bias to adjust how they call tall players. Umpires should have in mind, "If I think a ball just caught the bottom 2 inches of he zone against Judge, I should call it a ball. IF I think it's an inch or two high, I should call it a strike."
   60. SoSH U at work Posted: June 18, 2018 at 07:39 PM (#5694760)
IF I think it's an inch or two high, I should call it a strike."


Actually, that would be about four inches.

It does seem that they're ultimately calling the same strike zone for Judge that they would for the average player. It's just that pitchers pitch to the lower part of the zone against him more than they miss high, so more of the missed calls have been down there.

   61. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 18, 2018 at 07:56 PM (#5694773)
On strike zones and such, it makes sense that Judge would get a lot of balls called strikes. His own damn fault for being 9 feet tall. You're asking the umpire to shift a strike zone upwards by 3-4 inches and extend its vertical reach by another 2-3 inches, to do so just for one batter (or 1% of all batters if you want to include some other giants) while maintaining a perfectly "consistent" strike zone throughout the game. Of course that's not going to happen. There are going to be pitches below his knees that umps correctly call a strike the other 99% of the time they see that pitch and you want them to get the call on Judge correct nearly every time? Have you met a human being?

Thanks for making the case for why human beings should be replaced by RoboUmps for ball and strike calls.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you watch the Yankees, you'd know that Judge has been jobbed on the low strike since he came up.

That's putting it (very) mildly.
   62. villageidiom Posted: June 18, 2018 at 08:10 PM (#5694787)
If you watch the Yankees, you'd know that Judge has been jobbed on the low strike since he came up.
At what point is Judge to be held accountable for not adjusting to this? It's been maybe a year and a half that he's taking pitches he, you, I, and everyone watching now know are going to be called strikes on him. Pitchers are intentionally throwing there because it works, and it works because he doesn't swing. Fool him once, shame on you; but fool him hundreds of times in a year and a half, shame on... not him?

I mean, I get it if he's intentionally laying off pitches he's not going to hit well, the whole Ted Williams "get a good pitch to hit" thing. Since the start of 2017 when Judge swings at a pitch in the lower edge zone he is 33 for 116, with a .414 SLG, putting him around a 700 OPS. That's not bad considering by definition he's not going to pick up BB or HBP on pitches he's swinging at. But he's at a 1010 OPS on all pitches he swings at, so it seems like 700 is not the best way to go. OTOH he's at a 390 OPS when he doesn't swing at those pitches at the lower edge, so, ya know... maybe 700 isn't so bad, and he should protect the plate more.

And I'm sure it's more than a year and a half. I doubt that minor-league umpires, or college umpires, or high school umpires, were calling the textbook strike zone on Judge any better than MLB umpires have. The difference is that the pitchers outside MLB can't reliably hit that spot, so he could get a pitch to hit without needing to worry about lower-edge pitches. That's not the case any more. If he's not adjusting, that's on him.

I know, I know, why should he have to adjust when it's every umpire in the game that has it wrong? Why not just coordinate among all the umpires to change how they call the one guy they get consistently wrong? Yeah, sure, maybe in the offseason they can work on that, and once he sees evidence that they're doing it he can profit from it. But in the meantime, he should be swinging at those pitches on the edge.
   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 18, 2018 at 09:03 PM (#5694817)
Or maybe just go to RoboUmps and have every batter get the correct strike zone.
   64. cardsfanboy Posted: June 18, 2018 at 09:48 PM (#5694863)
For the record, in my post, I wasn't making any arguments or analysis, just pointing out by one method how it looks like Judge/Carpenter are getting screwed by the umps, and somewhat supporting Andy's argument for robo umps. Beyond that, I was just linking the website (which I haven't really had time to play with, but looks like it's a fantastic resource. I knew baseball savant was already a great site, but I rarely remember to use it, and it looks like it's getting more and more intuitive over time.)

Before I would make any arguments for anything you would need to look at 1. the number of called strikes on balls out of the zone 2. number of called strikes on balls 'clearly out of the zone(I don't remember what the site calls it, but they differentiate between borderline and obvious wrong) 3. number of called balls on strikes in the zone 4. number of called balls on strikes clearly in the zone... at that point in time you can start doing a rudimentary analysis..

but as pointed out somewhere up thread, you would also need to look at critical counts(and define it) and determine what happens there to really make any real analysis, and nobody here is going to do that, so it's going to be just superficial numbers. Which I am fine with. I'm in the small camp that believes in automating as much as possible. And the K-zone is something that I think really either needs to be automated, or clearly a massive grading system for the umps that affect both their salary and their prestige.... (for prestige.... I would argue that MLB creates an ump rating, somewhat equivalent to the quarterback rating that weighs and rates various skills of an ump and publishes a weekly or bi-weekly power scale of umps grading them on a bunch of things, where calling the strike zone would be about 50% of their rating, time per inning pitch, number of overturned calls, time of game, etc being other numbers in the sum---and those ratings of course are tied into annual or even monthly bonus's---yes I believe in rewarding good behavior over punishing bad behavior)
   65. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:14 AM (#5695017)
Or maybe just go to RoboUmps and have every batter get the correct strike zone.


They're not going to do that mid-season. I agree they should go to robo umps. I also agree Judge should take the bat off his shoulder and start swinging at those pitches until they do. The question is, will it help hitters overall or pitchers overall when or if they DO go to robots? My guess is hitters but I am not sure.
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:43 AM (#5695037)
At what point is Judge to be held accountable for not adjusting to this? It's been maybe a year and a half that he's taking pitches he, you, I, and everyone watching now know are going to be called strikes on him. Pitchers are intentionally throwing there because it works, and it works because he doesn't swing. Fool him once, shame on you; but fool him hundreds of times in a year and a half, shame on... not him?

He's got a 158 wRC+, and has been the 6th most valuable batter in MLB, so it's not really working. Also, he's unlikely to make great contact on those balls, and it might mess up his strike zone judgement.

I'd prefer he keep doing what he's doing, and have the Yankees start a serious lobbying effort to MLB to address this with the umpires. Privately at first, and then publicly if they stonewall.

Despite all the Yankee hate, MLB shouldn't want one of it's most marketable stars getting screwed by the umps.
   67. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:44 AM (#5695040)
The question is, will it help hitters overall or pitchers overall when or if they DO go to robots? My guess is hitters but I am not sure.


I don't think roboumps are even remotely close to being something MLB does. I suspect that the BTF crowd is a major outlier in terms of how much such a thing is desired. I expect that roboumps would help hitters by a dramatic amount. I think uncertainty plays to the pitcher's advantage and reducing that by a considerable amount is going to end up with hitters being very very comfortable in the box.

There is also a degree of confidence in the precision of roboumps that I don't share.
   68. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:47 AM (#5695043)
I don't think roboumps are even remotely close to being something MLB does. I suspect that the BTF crowd is a major outlier in terms of how much such a thing is desired.

I'm not in favor of robo-umps. I just want the humans corrected when they are making systematic mistakes. Everyone, including the robots, are going to blow a call randomly, but if an umpire is systematically not calling the rule book strikezone, h needs to be corrected, and then disciplined if he refuses to adjust.
   69. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5695044)
I just want the humans corrected when they are making systematic mistakes.


For me this is the best way to use roboumps and replay. There should be tolerances built in and underperforming umpires should be moved out.
   70. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:53 AM (#5695048)
I'm not in favor of robo-umps. I just want the humans corrected when they are making systematic mistakes. Everyone, including the robots, are going to blow a call randomly, but if an umpire is systematically not calling the rule book strikezone, h needs to be corrected, and then disciplined if he refuses to adjust.

That'd work for me, but I think it's going to take a lot of 2 x 4's upside the head of a lot of mulish umpires before they learn to depersonalize their strike zones.
   71. Smitty* Posted: June 19, 2018 at 09:54 AM (#5695049)
Don’t you hate pants?
   72. villageidiom Posted: June 19, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5695245)
He's got a 158 wRC+, and has been the 6th most valuable batter in MLB, so it's not really working.


If your counterargument is that it's not really affecting him, then why are we even discussing it? The cotton vs. polyester uniform debate is more impactful.
   73. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 12:26 PM (#5695253)
If your counterargument is that it's not really affecting him, then why are we even discussing it?

Because it's still unfair, and annoying to watch.
   74. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5695256)
I don't care if they don't switch to robots, but whining about the strike zone is annoying. Either make the switch or don't but if you use humans, you're going to get repeated mistakes.
   75. villageidiom Posted: June 19, 2018 at 03:42 PM (#5695476)
I don't care if they don't switch to robots, but whining about the strike zone is annoying. Either make the switch or don't but if you use humans, you're going to get repeated mistakes.
Gameday uses humans to calibrate the top & bottom of the strike zone for every PA.
   76. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 03:51 PM (#5695483)
I feel like people complain about the strike zone more now than they did 20 years ago. I recognize that this feeling of mine could be not really accurate; but I wonder if people complain more because technology is better and they put the strike zone boxes on the broadcasts and on the internet. Or maybe people have always just complained about the strike zone since the beginning of time and I have only recently become aware of it.
   77. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 03:58 PM (#5695489)
I feel like people complain about the strike zone more now than they did 20 years ago. I recognize that this feeling of mine could be not really accurate; but I wonder if people complain more because technology is better and they put the strike zone boxes on the broadcasts and on the internet. Or maybe people have always just complained about the strike zone since the beginning of time and I have only recently become aware of it.
Interesting. I'm just thinking out loud here, but if true it also might have something to do with the broader trend toward rationalization of baseball. Maybe people are beginning to challenge/reject the old "any strike zone is fine as long as it's consistent for both teams" saw in favor of the more rational "the umpires should follow the rules." Kind of along the same lines as rejecting "the takeout slide is good hard baseball" in favor of the more rational "runners shouldn't be able to intentionally interfere with fielders, let alone in ways that can easily cause serious injuries."
   78. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:14 PM (#5695500)
I feel like people complain about the strike zone more now than they did 20 years ago. I recognize that this feeling of mine could be not really accurate; but I wonder if people complain more because technology is better and they put the strike zone boxes on the broadcasts and on the internet. Or maybe people have always just complained about the strike zone since the beginning of time and I have only recently become aware of it.

Interesting. I'm just thinking out loud here, but if true it also might have something to do with the broader trend toward rationalization of baseball. Maybe people are beginning to challenge/reject the old "any strike zone is fine as long as it's consistent for both teams" saw in favor of the more rational "the umpires should follow the rules." Kind of along the same lines as rejecting "the takeout slide is good hard baseball" in favor of the more rational "runners shouldn't be able to intentionally interfere with fielders, let alone in ways that can easily cause serious injuries."

I think that the far greater reason in the case of the strike zone is that little box on the screen that lets viewers see for themselves just how bad some of those "personalized" strike zones are. Every game, and usually every inning, provides fresh evidence for anyone who isn't blind. The broader trend may be towards rationalization, but the complaints about personalized strike zones are based more on empirical witnessing of the results of those personalized zones than any sort of abstract reasoning.
   79. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5695501)
I feel like people complain about the strike zone more now than they did 20 years ago. I recognize that this feeling of mine could be not really accurate; but I wonder if people complain more because technology is better and they put the strike zone boxes on the broadcasts and on the internet. Or maybe people have always just complained about the strike zone since the beginning of time and I have only recently become aware of it.

I think it's a little bit of both. Fans have always complained about their pitchers "getting squeezed", or the opponents getting gift strikes. Complaints were rampant about the zones Maddux and Glavine were getting in the Braves' heyday.

But, now we also have the technology to verify which calls are bad. That means writers can create stories about it, and amplify the complaints.
   80. SoSH U at work Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5695525)
Maybe people are beginning to challenge/reject the old "any strike zone is fine as long as it's consistent for both teams" saw in favor of the more rational "the umpires should follow the rules."


I like the personalized zone, as long as it's consistent and reasonable. It rewards attentiveness and flexibility, which are two traits that should be rewarded, while punishing the lazy and stubborn. I also fear that the robo zone that Andy seems to think comes without any potential downside risks (despite it never existing) could lead to even more TTO-izing of the sport, which would absolutely suck.
   81. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5695531)
I think that the far greater reason in the case of the strike zone is that little box on the screen that lets viewers see for themselves just how bad some of those "personalized" strike zones are. Every game, and usually every inning, provides fresh evidence for anyone who isn't blind. The broader trend may be towards rationalization, but the complaints about personalized strike zones are based more on empirical witnessing of the results of those personalized zones than any sort of abstract reasoning.
Yeah, fair enough.
   82. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:45 PM (#5695533)
I like the personalized zone, as long as it's consistent and reasonable. It rewards attentiveness and flexibility, which are two traits that should be rewarded, while punishing the lazy and stubborn.
I gotta say, this seems like kind of an odd take.
   83. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:45 PM (#5695534)
Fans have always complained about their pitchers "getting squeezed", or the opponents getting gift strikes. Complaints were rampant about the zones Maddux and Glavine were getting in the Braves' heyday.

One of the most sublime examples of poetic justice that baseball has ever seen came when Livan Hernandez and Eric Gregg teamed up to knock Atlanta out of the 1997 postseason. Watching that game I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but mostly I just laughed and laughed.

   84. SoSH U at work Posted: June 19, 2018 at 04:54 PM (#5695546)
I gotta say, this seems like kind of an odd take.


Why? It's the way the game is already played, and always has been. You guys want something that's never existed.

My son plays high school baseball, both as a pitcher and as a position player. I want him to recognize what kind of zone the ump is calling (since I can guarantee our high school ain't getting robo technology any time soon) and react accordingly. If the ump likes the ball over the outside corner but won't give the inside, that should inform his pitch selection. And if three of the last five hitters have fanned on a high strike, then it ain't the ump's fault if he gets rung up on the same damn pitch.

Paying attention is a good thing. And homogeneity sucks (except in milk).

But let me ask you, why do you think a uniform, never-changing strike zone would be an improvement on a personalized consistent but reasonable zone? Are you really certain that such a change wouldn't carry with it any negative consequences?

   85. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 19, 2018 at 05:00 PM (#5695556)
I'm with SoSH, as long as it's not outrageous (Eric Gregg I'm looking at you) I don't mind a bit of variance.
   86. SoSH U at work Posted: June 19, 2018 at 05:03 PM (#5695562)
Eric Gregg I'm looking at you


And it's worth noting that when we look for the examples of the outrageous zones, that's the single game that comes to mind. I don't support that zone, but that was truly an outlier.

   87. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 05:09 PM (#5695565)
I like the personalized zone, as long as it's consistent and reasonable. It rewards attentiveness and flexibility, which are two traits that should be rewarded, while punishing the lazy and stubborn.

In real life it simply penalizes some batters while rewarding others for no discernible reason. It's like affirmative action for some players along with negative affirmative action for others.

The idea that hitters should have to learn every umpire's "personalized" strike zone is more than a little perverse. Why shouldn't umpires be forced to learn the real strike zone instead, and be penalized or fired if they can't or won't? Why should batters be the ones to have to do the adjusting? What is so sacrosanct about home plate umpires?

I also fear that the robo zone that Andy seems to think comes without any potential downside risks (despite it never existing) could lead to even more TTO-izing of the sport, which would absolutely suck.

First, you might recall that I only favor RoboUmps when the technology advances to the point where whatever bugs are in it now could be ironed out.

That aside, I'm not sure how you draw your conclusion. Seems to me that having a truly uniform strike zone would result in---let's take Judge as an example---fewer called strikes outside the strike zone>>>>pitchers being forced to throw actual strikes in order to get called strikes, resulting in>>>>more reachable pitches for Judge to hit>>>>fewer strikeouts.

Granted, in Judge's case it might simply replace some of his TTOs (called 3rd strikes) with another (walks), but with more pitches being forced to be thrown over the plate it'd be likely you'd see him put more balls in play, not fewer. Right now it's reasonable to assume that many of those outside pitches he chases are ones he swings at because he's afraid (often justifiably) that he'll be rung up on them even if they're outside the strike zone.
   88. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 19, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5695577)
It's the way the game is already played, and always has been.
Come on, an appeal to tradition shouldn't be persuasive around here. That being said, yes, "paying attention" is a good thing in the abstract. But what should players be required to pay attention to? There are already a million different variables involved in every pitch that fall within the rules of baseball. Would eliminating personalized strike zones really allow players who don't "pay attention" to succeed? I highly doubt it.

But let me ask you, why do you think a uniform, never-changing strike zone would be an improvement on a personalized consistent but reasonable zone?
Well, for one, this discussion here. To the extent that it systematically gives advantages or disadvantages to certain players (i.e. Glavine being great at throwing a certain pitch that wasn't a strike but was called a strike by certain umps) or types of players (tall, short, whatever), yes, a uniform zone would be better. Also, the flip side of "paying attention" is that the game is complicated enough, and players shouldn't have to prepare for/adjust to dozens of different interpretations of one of the most fundamental elements of the game.

Are you really certain that such a change wouldn't carry with it any negative consequences?
Of course you can't be certain that anything would never have any unintended consequences. I think this whole discussion is premised on the technology being precise and reliable enough, but it might need further refinement after being put into operation. It might, as you suggested earlier, lead to more TTOs, which I agree would not be good. But how do you think that might happen? Unless you can point to specific unintended consequences with plausible explanations as to how they would flow from the robozone, it's just speculation about the abstract "bad stuff" that people fear with any change.
   89. SoSH U at work Posted: June 19, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5695587)
Come on, an appeal to tradition shouldn't be persuasive around here.


I think when you're talking about the fundamental way the game is played, and always has been, you really ought to have more concrete reasons for screwing with that than it seems like a good idea, the ability to persuade our crowd notwithstanding.

Well, for one, this discussion here. To the extent that it systematically gives advantages or disadvantages to certain players (i.e. Glavine being great at throwing a certain pitch that wasn't a strike but was called a strike by certain umps) or types of players (tall, short, whatever), yes, a uniform zone would be better. Also, the flip side of "paying attention" is that the game is complicated enough, and players shouldn't have to prepare for/adjust to dozens of different interpretations of one of the most fundamental elements of the game.


Paying attention to the way the home plate umpire is calling the game is one of the only variables that exist on a game-to-game levels. This is not a hardship.

And I reject the idea the game is complicated. It isn't.

It might, as you suggested earlier, lead to more TTOs, which I agree would not be good. But how do you think that might happen?


TTO is driven by the batter, not the pitcher. If the batter knows that pitch A will be called a ball, whereas now he's less certain, he will take. That will further enhance the value of the batter with the greater command of the strike zone, and further decrease the value of the contact hitter. It's the most likely outcome of a robo strike zone.
   90. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 08:10 PM (#5695663)
TTO is driven by the batter, not the pitcher. If the batter knows that pitch A will be called a ball, whereas now he's less certain, he will take. That will further enhance the value of the batter with the greater command of the strike zone, and further decrease the value of the contact hitter. It's the most likely outcome of a robo strike zone.

Again, that's only half the story. If a pitcher is forced to throw more strikes, he'll likely throw more strikes. And if a batter is forced to swing at more strikes, he'll be more likely to put the ball in play a certain percentage of the time that otherwise he would've been rung up looking at balls outside the strike zone. That's subtracting from the TTO, not adding to it.**

And if the pitcher can't or won't throw strikes without the benefit of an expanded strike zone, I'm not sure why we should sympathize with him.

** Unless of course he homers, but that's a positive, not a negative.
   91. SoSH U at work Posted: June 19, 2018 at 08:28 PM (#5695685)
Again, that's only half the story. If a pitcher is forced to throw more strikes, he'll likely throw more strikes. And if a batter is forced to swing at more strikes, he'll be more likely to put the ball in play a certain percentage of the time that otherwise he would've been rung up looking at balls outside the strike zone. That's subtracting from the TTO, not adding to it.**

And if the pitcher can't or won't throw strikes without the benefit of an expanded strike zone, I'm not sure why we should sympathize with him.


I know that your belief that Aaron Judge is the victim of a terrible human rights crisis is driving much of your thinking here, but this isn't all about balls that should be strikes. I suspect a robo zone is going to benefit the guy who has the best strike zone judgment even more than the game does, which is what will lead us even further toward TTO. I could be wrong, of course, because this is entirely untested. But that's strikes me as the most logical outcome.

   92. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 19, 2018 at 10:04 PM (#5695757)
I know that your belief that Aaron Judge is the victim of a terrible human rights crisis is driving much of your thinking here,

I use Judge as an example because he's suffered from miscalled strikes more than just about any other player. That's just a fact. But he's hardly the only batter to be victimized by the "personalized" strike zone, and AFAIK none of the other chief victims are Yankees.

but this isn't all about balls that should be strikes. I suspect a robo zone is going to benefit the guy who has the best strike zone judgment even more than the game does, which is what will lead us even further toward TTO. I could be wrong, of course, because this is entirely untested. But that's strikes me as the most logical outcome.

You say this, but you haven't specifically addressed the answer I gave to that assertion the first time you made it.

And you haven't given us any reason for your peculiar thought that having a good strike zone judgment is a bad thing, which is just another way of saying that pitchers who can't throw strikes should be rewarded for their failure.
   93. SoSH U at work Posted: June 19, 2018 at 10:39 PM (#5695787)
I use Judge as an example because he's suffered from miscalled strikes more than just about any other player.


Sure.*

And you haven't given us any reason for your peculiar thought that having a good strike zone judgment is a bad thing, which is just another way of saying that pitchers who can't throw strikes should be rewarded for their failure.


I didn't say it was a bad thing. It's very good for an offensive player. But as a fan of the sport, this hyper focus on the take and rake approach, which goes hand and hand with this kind of strike zone mastery, is a decidedly less appealing game. Maybe you like TTO and welcome such a change. But others don't, and would be hesitant to adopt any change that would deliver more of it, which I believe is a good possibility with your push.

*Annoying, isn't it.
   94. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 20, 2018 at 07:47 AM (#5695911)
And you haven't given us any reason for your peculiar thought that having a good strike zone judgment is a bad thing, which is just another way of saying that pitchers who can't throw strikes should be rewarded for their failure.

I didn't say it was a bad thing. It's very good for an offensive player. But as a fan of the sport, this hyper focus on the take and rake approach, which goes hand and hand with this kind of strike zone mastery, is a decidedly less appealing game. Maybe you like TTO and welcome such a change. But others don't, and would be hesitant to adopt any change that would deliver more of it, which I believe is a good possibility with your push.


Look, I hate TTO baseball as much as anyone,** but I fail to see how artificially expanding the strike zone contributes to anything but more strikeouts. The smaller the strike zone, the more pitchers have to throw the ball in a zone that batters are more likely to be able to reach.

** If you really want to see a proposed change that would reward TTO batters, a much better example would be the one that would outlaw defensive shifts. As it stands, those shifts reward hitters who have the intelligence and adaptability to adapt their swings and hit to the opposite field, while banning the shift simply incentivizes them to keep trying to pull every pitch into the stands. I HATE players who think that hitting 15 or 20 home runs a year makes up for 150 strikeouts. I love the modern game overall, but the one thing I can't stand is batters who hit a home run every other week and then seem to confuse themselves with Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds.
   95. SoSH U at work Posted: June 20, 2018 at 09:01 AM (#5695925)
Look, I hate TTO baseball as much as anyone,** but I fail to see how artificially expanding the strike zone contributes to anything but more strikeouts. The smaller the strike zone, the more pitchers have to throw the ball in a zone that batters are more likely to be able to reach.


Andy, why are you looking at this from one direction (other than your Judge fetish). This isn't all about expanding the strike zone, but also calling strikes that are now balls. It would be creating a uniform strike zone across the league (adjusted, I hope, for height). Hell, you could end up with more strikes than balls, if the robo zone was set up toward the more traditional definition of the zone than the practical one.

But the bottom line is this: it absolutely stands to reason that creating a more uniform strike zone is more likely to benefit the players who have the best existing pitch recognition skills. Those guys have a strong tendency toward the TTO hitters.

** If you really want to see a proposed change that would reward TTO batters, a much better example would be the one that would outlaw defensive shifts. As it stands, those shifts reward hitters who have the intelligence and adaptability to adapt their swings and hit to the opposite field, while banning the shift simply incentivizes them to keep trying to pull every pitch into the stands. I HATE players who think that hitting 15 or 20 home runs a year makes up for 150 strikeouts. I love the modern game overall, but the one thing I can't stand is batters who hit a home run every other week and then seem to confuse themselves with Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds.


I don't want to see that.
   96. villageidiom Posted: June 20, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5695941)
I use Judge as an example because he's suffered from miscalled strikes more than just about any other player. That's just a fact.
Suffered? snapper seems to think it hasn't affected Judge, per #66. Y'all should get your stories straight.

Judge is "suffering" from this because he is choosing not to swing at what he has known his whole professional career will be called a strike. Artificially expanded strike zones lead to more strikeouts, yes. You know what else leads to more strikeouts? NOT SWINGING AT 2-STRIKE PITCHES YOU KNOW WILL BE CALLED A STRIKE.

I don't think Judge is a moron or anything. There are plenty of consistently disciplined hitters who don't swing at low-success pitches, and who don't change their approach with 2 strikes. IIRC part of their philosophy is that if they loosen their discipline with 2 strikes it will lead to being undisciplined with fewer than 2 strikes. IOW it's a necessary part of the package of those hitters being so damn good otherwise. If that's the case with Judge, then he's going to rack up a bunch of Ks watching pitches go by that everyone knows will be called a strike. It was maddening to me with the Red Sox and JD Drew, or Mark Bellhorn, or early Kevin Youkilis. It's maddening to you with Judge.

The one difference on this is that the way those called strikes arise with Judge is consistently not conforming to the textbook strike zone. But that's a technical difference. Just like the others before him, he knows it will be a strike, and he chooses not to swing. At this point in his career he can't be fooled on those pitches without being a complete moron. Your argument is that he shouldn't have to make that choice, but were the bottom of the strike zone moved a little higher I suspect the pitches would move likewise, and Judge would still choose not to swing at pitches on the revised border because he has a low percentage of success. Because, after all, he is currently choosing not to swing at pitches he knows will be called strikes. Either he's a moron, or letting low-percentage pitches go by is the price he's willing to pay to be so good otherwise.

As it stands, those shifts reward hitters who have the intelligence and adaptability to adapt their swings and hit to the opposite field
It seems to bother you when hitters don't adapt to the conditions they face. To you it's an intelligence issue. But in the case of Judge it's the opposite. He's so much smarter than the umpires. And he'll prove it by standing there and striking out. Oh, the genius!

He's not adapting to the conditions he consistently faces.
   97. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: June 20, 2018 at 09:42 AM (#5695965)
Has research been done on how many pitches need to go plus or minus before it becomes meaningful? As noted upthread Judge is at -29 (or was, he's played a couple of games since). We know roughly 10 runs=1 win, how many pitches equals a run? What is the impact of that 29 pitches?
   98. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 20, 2018 at 10:38 AM (#5696009)
Look, I hate TTO baseball as much as anyone,** but I fail to see how artificially expanding the strike zone contributes to anything but more strikeouts. The smaller the strike zone, the more pitchers have to throw the ball in a zone that batters are more likely to be able to reach.

Andy, why are you looking at this from one direction (other than your Judge fetish). This isn't all about expanding the strike zone, but also calling strikes that are now balls. It would be creating a uniform strike zone across the league (adjusted, I hope, for height). Hell, you could end up with more strikes than balls, if the robo zone was set up toward the more traditional definition of the zone than the practical one.


SoSH, the core of my complaint is simple: All hitters should be given identical, rule-defined strike zones. There's no rational reason for giving bigger strike zones to some players and smaller strike zones to others.

But the bottom line is this: it absolutely stands to reason that creating a more uniform strike zone is more likely to benefit the players who have the best existing pitch recognition skills. Those guys have a strong tendency toward the TTO hitters.

I'd like to see evidence of that,** but assuming it to be true, it'd seem likely that we'd simply see more home runs and walks, and fewer strikeouts. Since I'm most concerned with reducing strikeouts, I'd see that as a feature, not a bug. And if pitchers wanted to cut down on those extra walks, the solution should be simple: Stop nibbling and throw more strikes.

** The active leader in career walks, Albert Pujols, has more walks than strikeouts, and in fact only averages 73 strikeouts per 162 games.
   99. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 20, 2018 at 10:48 AM (#5696020)
As it stands, those shifts reward hitters who have the intelligence and adaptability to adapt their swings and hit to the opposite field

It seems to bother you when hitters don't adapt to the conditions they face. To you it's an intelligence issue. But in the case of Judge it's the opposite. He's so much smarter than the umpires. And he'll prove it by standing there and striking out. Oh, the genius!

He's not adapting to the conditions he consistently faces.


The difference here is so obvious it shouldn't have be noted, but I'll spell it out anyway.

The uniform strike zone has been part of the rule book since the first rule books were written. If umpires want to expand that strike zone, they should demand a change in the rule book, and not employ different strike zones for different batters.**

The shift is perfectly legal, and can easily be countered by hitting em where they ain't. There's no rule that prevents Gary Sanchez or Chris Davis from doing that, only stubbornness or a fear of having to adjust their hitting approach. And note that I'm using examples from my two favorite teams.

** Or pitchers, for that matter
   100. SoSH U at work Posted: June 20, 2018 at 12:55 PM (#5696176)
SoSH, the core of my complaint is simple: All hitters should be given identical, rule-defined strike zones. There's no rational reason for giving bigger strike zones to some players and smaller strike zones to others.


Wait, do you think Aaron Judge and Jose Altuve should have the same-sized strike zone?

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Backlasher
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP 2018 September 17: How Brett Kavanaugh explains his baseball ticket debt
(2415 - 1:08am, Sep 24)
Last: Zonk is a Doppleclapper

NewsblogMariners extend longest postseason drought in major North American sports to 17 years
(7 - 12:56am, Sep 24)
Last: strong silence

NewsblogTickets available as Marlins host Reds
(47 - 12:39am, Sep 24)
Last: DFA

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread (2018-19 season begins!)
(828 - 12:17am, Sep 24)
Last: strong silence

NewsblogFive Tool Players | Articles | Bill James Online
(12 - 11:48pm, Sep 23)
Last: Morty Causa

NewsblogOT - 2018 NBA Thread (Pre-Season Edition)
(537 - 10:49pm, Sep 23)
Last: TFTIO is Lounging from the flat one

NewsblogTim Anderson's eventful day at the yard ends with shot at Joe West: 'Everybody knows he's terrible'
(8 - 9:47pm, Sep 23)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogWeekend OMNICHATTER for September 22-23, 2018
(166 - 8:55pm, Sep 23)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogMadden: Hey, Rob Manfred! The analytic geeks are ruining starting pitching and it's making a joke of the game - NY Daily News
(1 - 8:53pm, Sep 23)
Last: Bug Selig

NewsblogHall of Famer John Smoltz says MLB needs an overhaul and proposes drastic changes
(87 - 6:33pm, Sep 23)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (September 2018)
(384 - 5:15pm, Sep 23)
Last: BDC

Sox TherapyIT’S OVER
(7 - 4:31pm, Sep 23)
Last: Darren

NewsblogWainwright impresses Giants' Bochy
(14 - 4:14pm, Sep 23)
Last: caspian88

NewsblogDodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig burglarized for the fourth time
(10 - 1:36pm, Sep 23)
Last: Bote Man the walk-off king

Gonfalon CubsThe Final Push
(164 - 1:36pm, Sep 23)
Last: Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com

Page rendered in 0.8017 seconds
46 querie(s) executed