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Monday, August 23, 2010

Manley: Does Good Pitching “Always” Beat Good Hitting?

Dan Plesac rethinks lifelong stance. Shifts weight to other leg. Resumes yammering.

Barring some sort of nuclear science analysis, the obvious way to look at it is to say this. The midpoint between the two is .787. If the hitters are above .787 versus these pitchers, then good hitting beats good pitching. If they are below .787, then it is the other way around.

Naturally, there is only one way to find out – monotonous work! There is no easy way to do this. I did it with the least amount of pain possible, but it still requires looking at each player and his stats against each pitcher. That’s 400 potential match-ups.

It’s also true that it represents 1,753 plate appearances. That’s a healthy number and goes a long ways toward eliminating any sample-size issues. It’s roughly equivalent to three seasons for a player if he went to the plate every time against the same pitcher.

...The point here is not so much whether 2.16% could just as easily be -2.16%, it’s about whether or not good pitching beats good hitting. As I said already, this doesn’t prove it one way or the other. It’s just a study. But, in lieu of any other objective evidence known to man, one would say the adage is false.

In theory, I would have the top-20 hitters versus the top-20 pitchers every year. That would tend to prove it one way or the other. But, it’s also a month of work and that’s not going to happen. Therefore, I am going to try to determine another way to evaluate it. I have an idea.

Repoz Posted: August 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 23, 2010 at 01:05 PM (#3623199)
Good pitching will always beat good hitting. And vice versa.
   2. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 23, 2010 at 01:40 PM (#3623226)
I like Manley's Cool Factoid sidebars, especially this one:

Cubs manager, Lou Piniella, lost his last game 16-5 to Atlanta. His first game this season was a 16-5 loss to Atlanta.
   3. TomH Posted: August 23, 2010 at 02:15 PM (#3623257)
This has been studied extensively before. When I get to my home I can send at least two links to published analyses, both with large sample sizes. They both concluded that results of good pitching vs good hitting are exactly what the predictive math esxpects.
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 23, 2010 at 02:15 PM (#3623260)
Cubs manager, Lou Piniella, lost his last game 16-5 to Atlanta. His first game this season was a 16-5 loss to Atlanta.

Now that's a steady hand.
   5. hokieneer Posted: August 23, 2010 at 02:36 PM (#3623280)
Isn't this myth derived from great starters shutting down playoff caliber lineups in October? I believe the weather plays a part in that; it's harder to swing a bat in colder temperatures.
   6. TomH Posted: August 23, 2010 at 02:58 PM (#3623299)
EGGS actly!
   7. TomH Posted: August 23, 2010 at 02:59 PM (#3623301)
AND the fact that if your lineup is 1 r/g better than avg, you won't be 1 r/g better vs Mariano and Pedro; it's proportional, not additive.
   8. Karl from NY Posted: August 23, 2010 at 06:30 PM (#3623636)
The top ERA+ team went 385-395.

The top ERA+ team had a collective OPS+ of 100.8. The top OPS+ team had a collective ERA+ of 101.1.


Is the 10-win difference explainable by that, that the best hitting team had slightly better pitching than the best pitching team had hitting?

Also, which way does the causation go? Maybe the top OPS+ team has a slightly above average ERA+ because they have a lead more often, so pitch more innings with the closer, and fewer garbage innings by the back end of the staff?

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