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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Three True Outcome changes over time

After a slight decline from 1970 to 1980, we see a gradual trend upwards in TTOs into the mid-90s, after which TTOs are largely stable for a couple of decades, through the total creeps up over 30% in 2015. Over the past two seasons, however, we see a spike in TTOs, with 36% of plate appearances ending in a strikeout, walk and home run in 2020.

Some of this is due to an increase in home runs — 3.5% of plate appearances the past two years have ended in home runs, higher than even the time period we think of as being the “steroid era,” when offense was off the charts and Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were setting records. The impact of walks appears slight — walks in 2019 occurred at around the same rate as they have for most of the past 50 years, while the walk rate in 2020 was a little more towards the upper end of that range, though not an outlier.

But what is the primary factor in the rise of TTOs is strikeouts. After a drop from 1970 to 1975 — which I suspect can be explained in part by the DH being adopted in the A.L. in 1973, meaning fewer pitchers hitting and fewer strikeouts — we have seen the percentage of plate appearances that end in strikeouts steadily grow, with that growth accelerating over the past fifteen years. In 2005, 16% of plate appearances ended in a strikeout. In 2020, almost a quarter of plate appearances ended in a strikeout.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 17, 2021 at 11:03 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: three true outcomes

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: March 18, 2021 at 04:40 PM (#6009122)
What might surprise some is how high TTO% has been in the past. The article gives us every 5 years then 2019-20. TTO% was 26 in 1970, dropped then back to 25-26% for 1985-1990. It was still only 27% in 2005. The next 10 years saw a jump to 30%, all Ks, which is depressing but an extra 3 Ks per 100 PA (about 2 per game) didn't kill anybody with boredom. The last 5 years of course have seen a relative explosion to 35% which is about 1% HR and 4% Ks.
   2. The Honorable Ardo Posted: March 18, 2021 at 08:38 PM (#6009147)
How about a different spin on TTO: hitting, pitching, and Irishness! Today's Birthday Team has no superstars but it's a blast. In homage to the original TTO, it would also draw a lot of walks.

TTO mavens:
Johnny Cooney
Jimmy Callahan

Lineup:
C J.C. Realmuto
1B Elbie Fletcher
2B Fred Hatfield
SS Eddie Lake
3B Russ Wrightstone
OF Scott Podsednik, Dwayne Murphy, Trey Mancini

Bench/Fun Names: Corky Miller, Geronimo Berroa, Leury Garcia, Termel Sledge

Pure starters:
Pat Jarvis
Tomo Ohka
Andy Sonnanstine

Utility pitchers (white):
Al Benton
Hal White
Brian Fisher
Dick Littlefield

Utility pitchers (Latino pioneers):
Hiram Bithorn
Federico "Chi-Chi" Olivo

Closers:
Chad Cordero
Fernando Rodney

No one on this team strikes you with fear, but they would be quite annoying to play against. Imagine a tinkerer like Whitey Herzog or Billy Martin in charge.
   3. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 20, 2021 at 12:50 AM (#6009315)
Did anyone actually read this article? It's all over the map with about 4 or 5 different ideas and none of them are explored to any sort of conclusion and none of them are more than thinly tied to each other.

He starts out mentioning pace of play and rule changes, and also rules against the shift. He says he didnt think we needed rules against shift. But now he's not so sure.

Well why? Never mind why now he's onto an historical discussion of the total TTOs and there's no conclusion there. Just that they are increasing, and oh yeah wait a minute it's mostly tied to KOs. Yeah no sh!t. Nothing about what this means, or why other than KOs mostly. And some more HRs.

then he hypothesizes that the increase in TTOs is some sort of natural evolution. Using some twisted logic having to do with hitters can control whether they go for HRs but pitchers cannot. Thus KOs are good for pitchers but only ho hum for batters.

Yeah there's something there but you cant just hand wavy away that every event on the baseball field is zero sum. So you can't just make up some bullshit about hitters not having the same incentives as pitchers and somehow this leads to a natural evolution. A natural envolution that's happened in the last 20 years but not the first 120 or whatever years. whatever, there's something lacking in logic here, but he's not deep enuf to realize this or he can't figure out himself.

Followed by a passing nod to the pitch clock and perhaps that will cut down on KOs. Then a mention of a study that says LH hitters KO more against the shift. what does that mean? why does that happen? No idea, lets start another paragraph about which team shifted the most and which the least by how much?

Well what does that mean? is that a good thing? Does it mean we should ban shifts? And if we ban shifts does that mean that those teams will suffer more? etc. etc. He doesnt know now he's onto some twisted paragraph trying to tie in: TTOs, shifting and pace of play.

That's great three things that every die hard fan is concerned about and that have some loose relationship to one another. Can we explore that? No, he mentions that the way to beat the shift is to hit over it.

Just like that. Why dont batters do that all the time anyhow? I mean he's already established that there's this magical, inevitable evolution toward batters hitting more HRs. So they already try to hit over people all the time. what does that have to do with the shift?

I dunno, he doenst know either. He concludes that everything is interconnected and there's unintended consequences. Is this type of writing I should get accostumed to in my retirement years? It reads like every half baked article I ever see on Facebook when I accidentally hit the link to "Who was Ginger really banging on Gilligan's island?" ANd I have to wade through a bunch of paragraphs written by retards that tell me where she went to school. ANd how she won Miss Utah, and then she went to Hollywood.

And then I finish reading this crap and never did find out if she banged Professor not.

   4. baxter Posted: March 20, 2021 at 01:31 AM (#6009319)
You're reading the wrong articles on Facebook. It wasn't the Professor; it was Mrs. Howell. The show was really ahead of its time.
   5. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 20, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6009337)
Tina Louise is the sole survivor now.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: March 20, 2021 at 02:10 PM (#6009340)

then he hypothesizes that the increase in TTOs is some sort of natural evolution. Using some twisted logic having to do with hitters can control whether they go for HRs but pitchers cannot. Thus KOs are good for pitchers but only ho hum for batters.

Yeah there's something there but you cant just hand wavy away that every event on the baseball field is zero sum.


But that's precisely what has happened. There used to be, for most of baseball history, the sense by the offense that strikeouts were the worst possible outcome (which, in one sense, they are, but it's more complicated than that). That attitude has changed, a trend accelerated by the launch angle revolution. Now, hitters recognize that strikeouts are an inevitable byproduct of the optimal approach to hitting.

And the zero sum status hasn't really changed. What's changed is how each side looks at the question.

If you start from the premise that a strikeout is no different than any other kind of out, that's kind of true (it's not absolutely true; a K is definitely worse than a flyout, while it's relationship to a groundout is context dependent). So if you look at it that way, which most modern offensive players do, than strikeouts are ho hum.

But that's merely holding for the ultimate outcome. If you hold, instead, one step earlier in the event chain, the ball in play, then the calculus changes. There's absolutely no doubt that an outcome that ends with a ball in play is tremendously more punitive to the defensive team than one that ends in a strike (swinging or looking).

In many ways, offensive teams have fashioned their approach by looking at it from an ultimate-outcome based vantage point (the K is no different than other types of outs, so let's use the offensive approach that maximizes value when I do hit it), while the pitchers (who can't control for the approach of the offensive player), looks at it from the angle of a PA that ends with the ball not put in play is the best you can hope for.

Thus, lots of strikeouts.
   7. John DiFool2 Posted: March 20, 2021 at 02:44 PM (#6009343)
Tina Louise is the sole survivor now.


She'll never get off the island now.
   8. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 20, 2021 at 06:22 PM (#6009362)
Did no one watch the movies? They got off the island like three times, then they went back and opened a resort there.
   9. SoSH U at work Posted: March 20, 2021 at 07:09 PM (#6009368)
Did no one watch the movies?


I watched the first one, and I was a little skepitcal they didn't realize it was Gilligan's Island until Little Buddy found the old SS Minnow life raft. As much time as they spent in that lagoon, there's no way they wouldn't have recognized it immediately. That absence of realism really spoiled it for me.
   10. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 20, 2021 at 09:08 PM (#6009389)
OK Sosh, I'm not even going to pretend to understand half of what you just said. ("Holding one step earlier in the event chain" da faq does that even mean? )

Let's focus for the moment on this passage:



In many ways, offensive teams have fashioned their approach by looking at it from an ultimate-outcome based vantage point (the K is no different than other types of outs, so let's use the offensive approach that maximizes value when I do hit it), while the pitchers (who can't control for the approach of the offensive player), looks at it from the angle of a PA that ends with the ball not put in play is the best you can hope for.


In trying to explain what the author said you're taking the same approach as he does. To be more accurate, I'm ASSUMING you're agreeing with him (you can correct me if I'm wrong). ok so both you and the author are ascribing the new HR/KO revolution as owing to the "approach' the batters have taken. You also use the phrase: "how each side looks at the question." so there's some suggestion here from both of you that is due to some sort of way of looking at things by batter BUT NOT by pitchers. I.e. a philosophical approach by batters not shared by pitchers, and hence SUBJECTIVE.

But what if we look at it another way an OBJECTIVE WAY;

swinging for the fences MEANS turning GBs >>> FBs and KOs. Agreed? You don't really turn FBs into deeper FBs really so all the oafball approach can do is turn GBs into KOs and FBs. Hopefully some of those FBs are HRs. ok? So now:

MLB in 1985 (say) UPPER CUT APPROACH:

X number of GBs >>>> 4% HRs* + 19% KOs + 77% FBs (13% Singles + 3% doubles + 61% Fly Out) plus a few triples.

If say X is 100, then using a weighted runs approach, the left side is about 11 runs. and so:

11 RUNS >>>> 13.9 RUNS (approx) in 1985.

So even if that approach marginally more effective, your manager is mad you didn't move Iorg to third with a GB so he's not buying into it. So anyhow:

MLB in 2020 (Upper cut approach):

X number of GBs >>>>> 8% HRs** + 31% KOs + 61% FBs (10.5% singles + 2.5% doubles + 48% FOs)

Again if we turned 100 GBs into uppercuts then:

11 runs >>>> 18.2 runs

so the sheer mathematics of it, make that approach obvious. It doesnt seem all that huge a difference but it would make this approach pay off for a larger number of players in 2020 then in 1985.

If you're small and can't really hit HRs, then of course you can't do it, but if your average then the upper cut approach should pay off in 2020 but may be not 1985.

So in CONCLUSION: you seem to think this is some sort of "way of looking at things" as if that's a subjective approach batters are taking and pitchers dont see that. I'm saying it's nothing to do with how we look at things, its a simple mathematics, its OBJECTIVE and LOGICAL that rising HR rates make this approach pay off for a large number of players.

This then has a sort of FEEDBACK LOOP to it. If larger players can now profit by swinging for fences, then we can find larger infielders, give up a few runs on defense and gain more Offensive production; something that couldnt happen in 1965 or so.


SOME NOTEs: This method assumes BBs stay the same for both normal/upper cut approaches, which is obviously a simplification. And of course these numbers are just quick look ups and back of envelope calculations so there's maybe some error here.

I used 1985 because KO rates were at somewhat low and it made the calculations work a litle better than say 1965 when KOs were a bit higher. Note the ratio of singles to doubles is about 4:1 in 1985 and 2020 but only 3:1 in 1965.

Another interesting issue is how much the oafball approach itself is driving KO rates? Does it account for half of the increase? less? more?

*assuming 50% ABs were FBs in that era and a 2% overall HR rate, reasonable? Most of the other assumptions are based on look ups for example ba on FBs seems to be about .240 currently not sure about the 1960s so obviously there's room for more research. There's also issues with Line drives and where to put them in all this.

** nowadays 45% FB and 3.5% HR rate. about 7.7% which rounded to 8.
   11. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 20, 2021 at 10:13 PM (#6009393)
Like I suggested above there's a few more loose ends to tie up in all this:

I could criticize SoSH's post in other ways like bringing up the whole zero sum thing again. But I thought a more direct approach was simply to plug in numbers and see what we get. This has the advantage of putting out tangible evidence that Oafball is entirely objective and logical. It's not some sort of one way of looking at things (again if that's not what you're saying then please correct).

LINE DRIVES. There's of course more effort that could be put into the numbers I plugged in there. there's a whole issue of line drives and what that .ba average is. something just under .700. I used ba of .240 for all FBs. I dont know if that's actually correct but that was from website.

WALKS. BBs are an interesting factor, if say the contact hitter was able to generate say 4 more BBs/100 PA then oafball guy, then equation would look more like:

1985

12 runs >>> 13.9 runs

2020

12 runs >>> 18.2 runs.

Then the difference becomes even more stark.

FEEDBACK: there's also the case that if uppercutting is more effective than that alone is going to produce more KOs and you get into a chicken/egg conundrum vis a vis pitcher's approach/batter's approach. SOme of it is pitcher's going less innings and being able to put everything into each pitch but some of it is on the batter's too.

BUt the most interesting thing to me is how the pool of players is constantly evolving and we don't fully see the repercussions of changes in the game until like 5 or 10 years down the road. Because it takes that long to find players with certain skill sets that will fit into say, the lively ball era and then develop them to a certain MLB level.

One thing we've been talking about recently is how SS in particular improved offensively starting from the mid 1980s and continuing onto the present day. That trend has been steadily upward. Walt has mentioned astro turf and the need for quickness to get to GBs, but I think after doing the math exercise above that it might be more about how power is now more easily accessible for middle infielders in a way that it wasn't in 1965 or 1975. If you look at a lot of middle infielders like Tulowitski or Cano or Kipness or Kinsler; a lot of their value is in their offense and in particular Power. If you were to put these guys back in time to 1965 or 1915 what would happen? WOuld they even be thought of as products?

If you took away say half of Tulowitzki's or Cano's power you would still have an above average defender, but he'd lose a good deal of off. value. Its possible you could find a 150 lb. panamanian guy that could field maybe 15 runs better and hit maybe 5 runs worse and maybe he'd be a better value. Throw in SB, he might gain 5 runs there and pretty soon you wouldn't have many large guys playing middle infield.

I'm sure AROd would still be a great player in 1965, but he might be like a super powered Fregosi instead of an inner circle HoF'er. Its interesting.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: March 20, 2021 at 11:56 PM (#6009403)
OK Sosh, I'm not even going to pretend to understand half of what you just said. ("Holding one step earlier in the event chain" da faq does that even mean? )


Wait, you just wrote THAT whole thing and I'm the one who's difficult to understand?

Here's what I'm saying:

If you note, as this author points out, that a strikeout is no different than any other kind of out, then that's close enough to being true that it's pointless to argue against. It's really kind of baked right into the question - of course one type of out is not going to be any different than any other kind of out in the same way there's no difference in death by hanging or death by firing squad. You're just as dead either way.

But that's only if you simply frame the issue of what type of out is better. But when a batter makes contact, an out isn't guaranteed.

So if you look at the question from a different angle - what is more valuable, swinging and missing/taking a potential strike three or contact, the latter is much more valuable, because swinging and missing on the final pitch of an AB almost always leads to an out, while putting the ball in play leads to a good outcome a great many times (BABIP is what, somewhere near .300, right?).

What I'm saying is, I think offensive players have basically begun to look at the issue the first way. If a strikeout is no different than any other kind of out, then I might as well swing my hardest all the time (and, more recently, employ a specific type of swing - the launch angle method). And the additional benefit (perhaps the main one) is when you swing and miss early in the count, you get more chances to do something positive later, including reach ball four.

In the past, teams truly valued contact.* That's why even the best hitters, such as Ted Williams, advocated cutting down your swing with two strikes to put the ball in play. But as with sac bunts, IBBs and hit-and-runs, teams no longer think that way.

For pitchers, who have no control over what kind of approach the offensive player has, there's no reason to change. They want to get swings and misses because balls in play are likely to result in a negative outcome 30 percent of the time.

That's what I mean by "one step earlier in the event chain." Out is the ultimate outcome. But before that, you have swing and miss/ball in play.

In trying to explain what the author said you're taking the same approach as he does. To be more accurate, I'm ASSUMING you're agreeing with him (you can correct me if I'm wrong). ok so both you and the author are ascribing the new HR/KO revolution as owing to the "approach' the batters have taken. You also use the phrase: "how each side looks at the question." so there's some suggestion here from both of you that is due to some sort of way of looking at things by batter BUT NOT by pitchers. I.e. a philosophical approach by batters not shared by pitchers, and hence SUBJECTIVE.


Yes, I believe the tremendous spike in strikeouts is largely on the batter, not the pitcher. That it's the result of a change in offensive philosophy. I'd further state this change seems to be one that makes sense. It's a superior way of maximizing offensive value.


swinging for the fences MEANS turning GBs >>> FBs and KOs. Agreed? You don't really turn FBs into deeper FBs really so all the oafball approach can do is turn GBs into KOs and FBs. Hopefully some of those FBs are HRs. ok? So now:


I don't think it's quite that simple (it excludes LDs, most notably, and I really have no idea whether it turns flyballs into deeper flyballs). But in a broad sense, sure.

So in CONCLUSION: you seem to think this is some sort of "way of looking at things" as if that's a subjective approach batters are taking and pitchers dont see that. I'm saying it's nothing to do with how we look at things, its a simple mathematics, its OBJECTIVE and LOGICAL that rising HR rates make this approach pay off for a large number of players.


And I think you have that backwards. Rising HR rates don't make this approach pay off. This approach makes HR rates rise. As for it being a different way of looking at things, it is. It's a superior way.

It's just shitty if you're a baseball fan who likes seeing the ball in play.

* And it's worth noting, the value isn't constant, but it depends on context. At the little league level, for instance, there's tremendous value to contact, as the ability of 10-year-olds to turn balls in play into outs is terrible. That lessens the further you go up the skill ladder.


   13. SoSH U at work Posted: March 21, 2021 at 12:06 AM (#6009404)
By the way, on zero sum, it is unmistakably zero sum if you do an apples to apples comparison on any of these.

A strikeout vs. a flyout is just as punitive to the offensive team as it is rewarding to the defensive team (to whatever degree that's true), and whatever value a ball in play vs. a swing and miss has to the offensive team is a debit on the defensive team's ledger.

But it seems pretty damn obvious the degree to which pitchers value strikeouts is not offset by how much the batters want to avoid them.

   14. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 21, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6009454)
There's a chicken/egg problem with the HR rate thing. We've both alluded to it so I guess we both agree on that. Its interesting because we plug in these values into equations as it they are stable fixed numbers but they are anything but that.

For example I was using 8% HR on FBs currently vs 4% in 1985 or whatever but that could be a function of many things. The conditions are different in todays game vs the dead ball eras and perhaps other non dead ball eras. Players are being selected for different skill sets now than in 1965 or 1975 or 1985, there might have always been 210 lb. guys who can play mid infield but we'll never know. If I were to draft ARod types in 1965 I might find HR rates in 1975 to be much higher than what I nominally used for such calculation. There's no real way to know for sure is there?

Then there's the approach to batting as you mention.

There's no way we can finalize this issue here in one thread. it's ongoing as Im sure you realize.

In the interest of brevity the one thing I would pt. out in your argument is that I think some of it is mixing apples/oranges. You talk about the value of outs on the one hand and then start arguing about swings and the idea of taking a swing with two strikes to put the ball in play yadda yadda.

BUt those arent the same things outs/swings and I think part of your argument is mixing those two.
   15. nick swisher hygiene Posted: March 21, 2021 at 02:21 PM (#6009458)
OMG! So words! Such knowledge!

No, seriously, guys, this is good stuff.

Question: did I miss the place where one of you guys talked about 2-strike strategies?

Is there enough data on the extent to which the approaches batters and hitters take respectively differ with two strikes?
   16. . Posted: March 21, 2021 at 05:04 PM (#6009477)
It's "zero sum" because whatever advantage offenses get from not caring about strikeouts would definitionally/tautologically make defenses want to negate it. Defenses can't be indifferent to offensive advantage, much less want to do the thing that causes it, for any model or idea to be correct.

The only way SoSH's "arbitrage" theory can be accurate is if one side or another is misperceiving actual advantage or disadvantage. As I essentially agree with SoSH's analysis of what the two sides are perceiving, it's virtually certain this is the case.
   17. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 21, 2021 at 05:28 PM (#6009479)
another point that's being missed is that pitchers CAN do something to control HRs. They can pitch around batters giving up the unintentional walk if need be. Its not true that they have no control over any of this.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: March 22, 2021 at 01:43 AM (#6009534)
You talk about the value of outs on the one hand and then start arguing about swings and the idea of taking a swing with two strikes to put the ball in play yadda yadda.

BUt those arent the same things outs/swings and I think part of your argument is mixing those two.


No SoSH is separating those two, quite clearly I think. One notion (common 20 years ago or so) was the phrase "a strikeout is just like any other out." As SoSH notes this is essentially true. But that's because it has assumed an outcome for the ball in play.

SoSH notes that's not really the sequence of events though. With rare exception, the batter is not going up there with the intention of making an out and deciding whether he should do so by FB, GB or K. To the extent the batter has much control, he has control over "do I focus on contact or do I swing for the fences?" Contact is more valuable than a strikeout, by quite a lot. It's where the main value of the strikeout for pitchers comes from. And that is "sorta zero sum." The tradeoff the batter is making is contact/BA for power/ISO/HRs. That tradeoff also usually results in a tradeoff of BIP outs for Ks but that's not the rationale behind the tradeoff. In fact, in general, you'll add more Ks than you lose BIP outs, hence the drop in BA.

The tricky bit for the batter is that contact from "focus on contact" tends to be much weaker than contact from "swing for the fences." (Note this isn't so much true if you are prime Pujols or Bonds.) Focusing on contact might lead to, say, a BAcon of 320 and a ISOcon of 450 and a contact rate of X% while "swing for the fences" might lead to a BAcon of 350, a ISOcon of 330 and a contact rate of X-Y%. Which of those is better depends on the values X and Y. (Then there's the whole issue of walk rates.) That's the math bit.

Alas, for most any individual batter, we will have no real idea what X and Y are. In practice, they will have made their choice (if it even is a choice) about what kind of batter they are long before they make the majors and/or they will quickly realize that one of those styles doesn't work for them at all so they'd better try the other one. Unless their name is Billy Hamilton.

One example we might have is Justin Turner. Unfortunately, he's a pretty extreme example. Before heading off to a launch angle guru, he K'd only 13.3% of the time. That's nice and low but after changing his swing, his K-rate only went up to 15% -- that's only 10-12 Ks a year. Meanwhile his HR rate went from less than 1% to 3.8%. That wasn't a trade of contact for power, that was just adding heaps of power and obviously you'd always do that if you could. Of course he had no way of knowing it would work out that well before changing. His BABIP went up from 296 to 325. He even saw a jump in BA from 260 to 302. If he's our example, then there really is no tradeoff between power and Ks and every batter should be emulating him. Unless their name is Billy Hamilton.

Anyway, to the extent you're both overlooking things, it's this. Pitchers face a wide sample of batters. Therefore there really isn't any particular tradeoff for them to make betwen contact and power -- only a fairly small correlation between their K-rates and what happens to balls when contact is made. That's largely why pitchers don't have much "control" over BABIP. On balls hit to fair territory (the closest split to "on contact", Scherzer gives up a line of 338/570 with a HR every 22 PA; the AL 2019 average was 347/608, not that big of a difference. Joey Gallo for his career is at 386/926 -- that 926 is almost surely the best ever and by quite a lot. Even "little ol'" Javy Baez is at 386/696. Meanwhile Mookie is close to that league average at 360/631 but he K's just 13% vs a league average of 22%. Career OPS+ -- Gallo 112, Javy 102, Mookie 135. See how much Ks matter for hitters.

Granted, it's still not exactly clear there's a decision made to trade off one for the other. It may just be how an individual batter's skill set either works or doesn't (in which case they likely aren't around long enough for us to notice). If you K 20% while hitting without power (Billy Hamilton), you might stick around based on speed and defense (or ability to play C) but you'll put up a 67 OPS+. Or you can hit the ball as hard as Gallo but K 38% and you'll still only put up a 112 OPS+. Surely Hamilton and Javy and Gallo know they "should" K less but either they can't at this point in their development or they've decided that if they did, their on-contact numbers would plummet. Meanwhile if Elvis Andrus (325/446 fair career) could raise that to 355/596 by raising his career K-rate from 13.6 to 18.6%, maybe he should ... but he probably knows there's no way he can generate that kind of power. Obviously if he can pull a Justin Turner, he should do that immediately.

So speaking of Turner, prior to 2014, his fair territory OPS looks to be around 750; since then it's been around 1000. Note that's still below Javy. Javy has a 102 OPS+ for his career; Turner is at 139 for his Dodgers career. See how much Ks matter for hitters. (Turner also walks twice as often.)

Now if we compare Javy's 1100 fair OPS, 28% K-rate and 4.7% BB rate to Elvis Andrus's 771 fair OPS, 15% K-rate and 7.3% BB rate, then we get a 102 OPS+ to a 86 and we'd rather have Javy's combination. See how much Ks don't matter for hitters.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: March 22, 2021 at 02:08 AM (#6009535)
Some stathead fun for 2019 ... median OPS+, etc. for groups of batters by K-rate:

<18%: 112-113 median OPS+ (Albies -- Merrifield); range 78 (Andrus) to 169 (Bellinger); most HRs 47 (Bellinger, 2 others over 40) ... 48 batters
18-23%: 113 median (C Seager -- B Anderson); range 64 (Arcia) to 182 (Trout); most HRs 45 (Trout, 1 other over 40) ... 48 batters
23-28%: 112 median (A Garcia); range 73 (Mallex) to 168 (Cruz); most HRs 53 (Alonso, 3 others over 40) ... 33 batters
>28%: only 6 batters ... range 79 (Odor) to 132 (Suarez); 49 HRs (Suarez)

For maybe some insight, I expanded the last group to everybody with 300+ PA which brings it to 39 batters:
99 median; range 50 (Hedges) to 154 (Tatis); Suarez still the only one over 40 HRs but 5 over 30.

Anyway, those first 3 are all very similar. It's far from clear that tells us anything about Ks -- it tells us what the range of production for "full-time starters" looks like and, if you can't produce in that range, you don't get to start. But it does suggest teams don't care much what your mix of contact, power and walks is as long as you can produce in that range. If it tells us anything abut Ks, it's in that drop to 33 batters and especially to 6 batters. AL 2019 average K rate was 23% so for there to be 96 qualified batters below average and just 39 above must mean that there are a lot of part-timers in the high-K crowd. That might be an issue of physical bulk and limited defensive value, it might be an issue of young players whose K-rates will come down with time or, on the other side, an issue of old players in steep decline.

Useful to keep in mind though that the typical "full-time starter" is around a 110-115 OPS+ ... which is presumably more like 100 for a SS and 125 for a 1B. We're still only talking about 4.5 full-time starters per team so plenty of PAs to be spread around the below-average crowd.
   20. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 22, 2021 at 04:46 PM (#6009620)
OK Walt, I havent had time to digest all of those last two posts but let me just posit one question to you:

Isn't much of SOsH's argument based on the notion that pitchers have no control over what approach they take to the pitcher/hitter confrontation? Batter's do, they have the two approaches you mentioned. At least two maybe there's others but for now its two.

But that's not true is it? Pitchers can trade walks for HRs. Can they not?

HOw do you respond?
   21. Ron J Posted: March 22, 2021 at 07:35 PM (#6009636)
#20 Probably doesn't work like that. Any given pitcher will see other consequences than just an increased HR rate by attempting to throw more fewer balls.

The challenge isn't to throw more strikes, it's to throw more quality strikes and that's not something most pitchers can just decide to do. Carlos Silva is probably what you get with a throw strikes at any cost and ... while he had a career, I think it's the 2006-2010 model.

I can think of some pitchers who figured things out (Randy Johnson is the first that comes to mind) and saw a big change in their walk rate without a corresponding change in home run rates. Bob Tewksbury didn't have a home run problem.

In other words it's not a given that walk rates and HR rate are correlated or inversely correlated or anything.

   22. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 12, 2021 at 10:59 PM (#6013144)
At least TTO-ball hasn't come to this in MLB..... yet.

University of North Texas softball pitcher strikes out all 21 batters in perfect game.
How about this for perfection by North Texas softball pitcher Hope Trautwein — 21 batters faced, 21 strikeouts.

Trautwein threw the perfect game Sunday, striking out all 21 Arkansas-Pine Bluff batters she faced in a 3-0 victory.

It was the first perfect game in North Texas history, and is believed to be the first perfect seven-inning game in NCAA Division I history with every out being a strikeout.

Trautwein, a senior from Pflugerville, Texas, also had 21 strikeouts in a seven-inning game in her first start this season. But the right-hander also gave up five hits and two runs in a 6-2 win against Southeastern Louisiana on Feb. 13.

Quite an accomplishment!
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 13, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6013191)
Yeah, but given that the distance from the mound to the plate is all of 46', the release point is as little as 40' away, and that softball pitchers have been clocked as high as 104 MPH, there's still a lot less to it than meets the eye. The bigger surprise is that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 13, 2021 at 10:56 AM (#6013194)
Yeah, but given that the distance from the mound to the plate is all of 46', the release point is as little as 40' away, and that softball pitchers have been clocked as high as 104 MPH, there's still a lot less to it than meets the eye. The bigger surprise is that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
Out of all the people to channel Ray, you struck me as one of the more unlikely.
   25. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 05:25 PM (#6013258)

#20 Probably doesn't work like that. Any given pitcher will see other consequences than just an increased HR rate by attempting to throw more fewer balls.


you didnt answer my question:

Isnt SOSH's argument based upon the concept that pitchers have no repeatable skill at limiting HRs? or say BaBIP?
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: April 13, 2021 at 05:30 PM (#6013260)
Isnt SOSH's argument based upon the concept that pitchers have no repeatable skill at limiting HRs? or say BaBIP?


As far as I know they have limited ability in both, more so in the ability to keep the ball in the park. But they have no ability to alter how the batter approaches his AB.
   27. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 13, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6013269)
well likewise: the batter has no ability to alter how the pitcher approaches the AB. Your pt being...?
   28. Ron J Posted: April 13, 2021 at 06:34 PM (#6013272)
#25 Who said pitchers don't have a repeatable ability to limit HR?

They do also have some ability to limit the results of a ball in play. It's just weak. And over time tends to regress to the norm

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