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Sunday, August 25, 2013
Recently, the wonderful data-crunchers at FanGraphs showed us that swing rate on first pitch has dropped significantly since 1988, when pitch sequence data first became publicly available. In recent seasons batters have offered at the first pitch just 26 percent of the time, compared to the far more aggressive rate of 33 percent from the late ‘80s.
This shouldn’t really surprise us, since there has been a definite movement toward patience at the plate in the last few decades. Tom Verducci famously bemoaned this loss of hitter aggressiveness earlier this season, and many continue to echo his concerns.
But batters have consistently shown that laying off that first pitch can lead to better results— or, more accurately, better results are observed in cases where the batter did not swing at the first pitch. From 1988-2012, the ultimate wOBA of all plate appearances where the batter swung at first pitch has remained consistently lower than those when batter did not offer at the first opportunity:
Posted: August 25, 2013 at 08:18 AM | 22 comment(s)
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