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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Art of Pitching (Faster)

This graph seems to show that pitches thrown 30 seconds after the previous pitch get about one less expected strike per 100 calls than pitches thrown 10 seconds after the previous pitch. That’s not enormous, but it’s not nothing. Except that here, too, there’s a potential complication: With two strikes, the zone shrinks and pace tends to slow down. Thus it might appear that the zone gets tighter as pace increases, when really the count is responsible. In fact, if we redo the graph for pitches with zero strikes, one strike, and two strikes, the extra-strikes effect shows up only with zero strikes, as the following GIF reveals. It’s hard to come up with a reason why a quicker pace would improve the odds of a strike on zero-strike counts but not on one- or two-strike counts, so this effect too starts to seem insubstantial.

This topic sounds simple — Is it better to be quicker, or isn’t it? — but in light of all the subtle confounding factors involved, it’s tough to tie the research into a tidy package. What we can say is that based on these results, there’s no statistical smoking gun that proves that working quickly leads to demonstrably better defense or friendlier calls. Sorry, Rob Manfred: There are no numbers here to persuade pitchers to speed up.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 15, 2017 at 03:14 PM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ben lindbergh, pace of play

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