Groundout % vs. Flyout %

J H J H is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
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August 6, 2010 1:12 AM

My summer season is winding down and upon analysis I have seen that I have a much greater percentage of flyball outs than groundball outs. What are some of the reasons this could be the case? Typically I correlate a flyball pitcher to a person who gives up a lot of HR's and has a lot of strikeouts. However, I have less than a strikeout an inning and haven't given up the long ball all summer (knock on wood). Any thoughts as to why this could happen?
 
 
 
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August 6, 2010 8:54 PM

JH,
Sorry that no one has answered your question but it would be tough to tell what you are doing if no one has seen you play, but maybe others could give their opinion. One thing that comes to mind, are you keeping it low or higher in the zone.

Keep in mind that there is a reason for GO/FO stats and in pro ball that is real important for a pitcher, I always thought it didn't matter as long as you got an out, but it does matter how that pitcher got those outs. It's not always so much about the HR, because there are a lot of factors (park, wind) that come into play for a HR. GO produce more outs and double plays, which means less time for the pitcher on the mound and the team in the field and less runs. FO's, can be less attractive to the pitcher due to the fact that even though an out, it can mean the man on base advances. That's my perception anyway.

SO Pitchers in pro ball have lower low GO percentages. The guy who can strike out and produces lots of grounders is your well paid ML pitcher. Smile

You might want to talk to your pitching coach about it when you get back, remember those FO with metal bats are home runs.
 
Last edited by TPM August 6, 2010 9:04 PM
 
 
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August 6, 2010 9:38 PM

quote:
Originally posted by TPM:
GO produce more outs and double plays, which means less time for the pitcher on the mound and the team in the field and less runs. FO's, can be less attractive to the pitcher due to the fact that even though an out, it can mean the man on base advances. That's my perception anyway.


I agree with TPM.

I took a look at Fangraphs.com, and Jered Weaver and Phil Hughes both rank in the top 5 for highest fly ball percentage in baseball - and they were both All-Stars.

To add on TPM's comment, I would also say ground balls that get through, are most often singles, while fly balls that get through can be much more damaging.

Stu
 
 
 
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J H J H is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
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August 7, 2010 1:05 AM

Appreciate the input from both of you. I've spoken to a few people about this and they all suggest that perhaps I am not throwing with a significant downhill plane. ALthough I am pitching successfully at the level I am at right now, I know that as you continue to progress the talent goes up and I'd like to fine tune things in all ways. So once again, thanks for the input and I'll definitely speak to my pitching coach and present the information.
 
 
 
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August 9, 2010 2:24 PM

To build off what was already said- A lot depends upon where you are pitching- high in the zone or low in the zone. To add a little to that, a lot depends on strategy, movement of pitches, etc. Sinkerball pitchers get groudout after groundout because of their ability to throw the ball consistantly in the lower half of the zone with good movement down and to the side. Some closers in the game very rarely go down in the zone because their fastball is fast enough that catching up to it high in the zone or out of the zone is nearly impossible. When they do it is usually popped up.

I personally believe the downward plane of the ball is not what differentiates flyouts to ground outs. Sinkerball pitchers usually tend to have the least downward plane on a pitch because they generally (a few exceptions) throw from a lower arm slot. The better sinkerball pitchers are usually low 3/4 slot guys along with a few sidearm. Because they get less spin to keep the ball aloft and instead get more spin sideways on the ball the ball tends to sink and move to the side more. This does two things- 1.the ball ends up lower than the batter thinks it should thus causing the batter to end up too much on top of the ball, and- 2.the ball moves more to the side reducing the batters ability to make solid contact consistantly. These two factors are the trademarks of a good ground out sinkerball pitcher.

Strategy along with ball movement can do a lot to induce more "K's" or more groundouts. I have a book I have read and applied in coaching called "the mental game of baseball". It talks about doing the unobvious and challenging batters more in the strike zone. For instance- in a 2-2 count a good batter will more than likely swing at a lower strike than a higher strike. So, instead of trying to blow the high cheese by him, do the unobvious and challengs him down and in with a fastabll. Chances are (I have a personal testimony of this) the batter will either strike out or hit a weak grounder to third or short. The problem with the high cheese is that the pitcher has to have really good velocity to be effective up there.

As for breaking balls. I am of the belief that unless it has really hard breaking action it should be used conservatively to just keep batters off balance- don't let them get too comfortable with hitting your fastabll. A good hard breaking ball has the same effect as a sinkerballer and should be thrown in counts to induce the hitter to swing. When kept low or outside the zone, either inside or out, the batter will only be able to hit weak grounders back to the mound or third.
 
 
 
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August 9, 2010 3:27 PM

GBM,
I am not sure if your comments are directed toward JH and based on personal experience/personal testimony in college, College Summer Wood bat leagues and MILB or you are speaking to the game as it is played at HS?
That can be a very different game at the college and Milb level, in my opinion.
The hitters that JH is pitching too are not quite as restricted as my reading of your post suggests you think they might be.
While I would agree that there is success with throwing the pitch that is "unobvious," I don't agree with the way you have applied that.
To me, at the level JH is competing, it means, for instance, being able to throw a change in a 2-0, 3-1 count, with runners on base and still being able to throw it for a strike and hold the runner. It means being able to pitch backwards in innings 4-5-6 from innings 1-2-3, for instance.
What often times makes pitchers successful, without consideration of GO vs FO percentage, when they get to college and Milb, is the ability to command 3 pitches and to throw them in any situation. It makes a huge difference if they are throwing a 2 seam and 4 seam fastball, with command of both along with a change and a breaking ball.
It also makes a difference if there is a sinking vs. tailing action.
Without ever having seen JH, but knowing he is a lefty Mad , his higher FO percentage suggests to me he has tailing on his FB and further suggests he is able to change speeds effectively so hitters are getting on their front foot and elevating his pitches.
Knowing JH pitched primarily in relief, the question that I would pose that would need to be considered is whether he would have similar results the second time through a line up when hitters have seen him one time, seen every pitch he throws, and begin to make adjustments.
In college and Milb, if a pitcher is so predictable that he is primarily using breaking balls to keep a "hitter off balance," he is usually going to get crushed whether he throws his fastball 90, 94 or 98, unless he can doing something to create later movement off his fastball between a 2 seam vs 4 seam.
Additionally, if a pitcher is throwing a curve ball in a curve ball situation, whether he keeps it low on the inside or outside part of the plate, good Milb and college hitters are not going to "hit weak grounders back to the mound or third."
 
Last edited by infielddad August 9, 2010 4:46 PM
 
 
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August 9, 2010 5:34 PM

I didn't know that JH was a lefty.

Gee I wish that every pitch my sinkerballer produced a groundout. Frown

The other night, Josh Johnson threw a pitch to Rasmus, who hit the ball way out in front of him, producing a FO that Albert scored on from home. I am not sure what the pitch was. I say Johsnon was lucky he didn't have two runs scored on him.
 
 
 
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August 9, 2010 5:50 PM

Just to pick a nit, there are more outs "per capita" from flyballs than from ground balls, at least at the mlb level. The big question is who is giving up more line drives? If a pitcher can give up mostly fly balls and/or ground balls they will do fine more often than not. More hits come on ground balls but far fewer extra base hits so they tend to have similar results overall. Every pitcher is different and should play to their own strengths. For some that is being a fly ball pitcher and for some that is being a ground ball pitcher. It is the line drive pitchers who are in big trouble as going from a faulty memory it seems that about 20 or 25% of fly balls result in hits, 33% of ground balls result in hits and 70% of line drives result in hits. Of course 0% of strikeouts result in hits. In other words, try to avoid solid contact in whatever way works best for you.
 
 
 
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August 9, 2010 11:32 PM

quote:
Originally posted by infielddad:
GBM,
I am not sure if your comments are directed toward JH and based on personal experience/personal testimony in college, College Summer Wood bat leagues and MILB or you are speaking to the game as it is played at HS?
That can be a very different game at the college and Milb level, in my opinion.
The hitters that JH is pitching too are not quite as restricted as my reading of your post suggests you think they might be.
While I would agree that there is success with throwing the pitch that is "unobvious," I don't agree with the way you have applied that.
To me, at the level JH is competing, it means, for instance, being able to throw a change in a 2-0, 3-1 count, with runners on base and still being able to throw it for a strike and hold the runner. It means being able to pitch backwards in innings 4-5-6 from innings 1-2-3, for instance.
What often times makes pitchers successful, without consideration of GO vs FO percentage, when they get to college and Milb, is the ability to command 3 pitches and to throw them in any situation. It makes a huge difference if they are throwing a 2 seam and 4 seam fastball, with command of both along with a change and a breaking ball.
It also makes a difference if there is a sinking vs. tailing action.
Without ever having seen JH, but knowing he is a lefty Mad , his higher FO percentage suggests to me he has tailing on his FB and further suggests he is able to change speeds effectively so hitters are getting on their front foot and elevating his pitches.
Knowing JH pitched primarily in relief, the question that I would pose that would need to be considered is whether he would have similar results the second time through a line up when hitters have seen him one time, seen every pitch he throws, and begin to make adjustments.
In college and Milb, if a pitcher is so predictable that he is primarily using breaking balls to keep a "hitter off balance," he is usually going to get crushed whether he throws his fastball 90, 94 or 98, unless he can doing something to create later movement off his fastball between a 2 seam vs 4 seam.
Additionally, if a pitcher is throwing a curve ball in a curve ball situation, whether he keeps it low on the inside or outside part of the plate, good Milb and college hitters are not going to "hit weak grounders back to the mound or third."


There are obviously many many factors into what makes a pitcher successful at different levels. My response was made in general terms. There are many things that could be covered and there are also as many strategies as there are pitching coaches. One must pitch to ones strengths, that was what I was getting at. Once a player knows his strengths he can be successful at any level and it won't really matter if he is a FO or a GO or a K type of pitcher. Things do change as they go up levels and as such pitchers learn to tweak or change pitches accordingly.

I know what works for my son and have been able to pitch him to his strengths for the most part. The differences between my son and his teamates are entirely different. That is pretty much the case on every team at any level. Some excell at throwing a two seam while others excell with the 4 seam.

For instance, my son gets tremendous late tailing action when he throws his 4 seam at about 95% of his top velocity. He doesn't throw a two seam for the obvious reason that he doesn't get as much tailing action. Arm slot has a lot to do with tailing and sinking action. Guys who throw more over the top can incorporate the 2 seam to get more movement on the ball.

Additionally, a hard breaking ball, thrown at any level will draw weak grounders back to the pitcher and infielders if he is effective at selling the pitch as a fastball out of the hand. It acts just like a CU because it is both slower and comes into the zone at or below the bottom of the strike zone.

Generally, Most pitchers really only throw one or the other fastball grip not both. Different roles have different uses also. A closer really only needs two different pitches- say- a fastball and an offspeed pitch. A set-up guy may have three or four different pitches. Some starters have 4-5 pitches while others have only 2. Any can be dominant based off their individual ability and technical skill.

I have seen plenty of MiLB and MLB pitchers who devastate batters with a combo of a hard slider and a tailing fastball. When mixed with going up and down and in and out in the strike zone and varrying speeds slightly, it can appear as if they have an arsenal of different pitches.

Pitching is about making adjustments at each new level. What works at one stage may not work at the next. Probably one of the most overlooked areas is the role of the catcher and how well he knows batters and the pitchers strengths and weaknesses. A bad catcher can blow it big time for a quality pitcher.
 
 
 
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August 10, 2010 12:43 AM

Let's just say some of the information in that post turned my world of baseball upside down.
4 seamer with more tail and movement than a 2 seamer?
Most pitchers throw a 4 seam or a 2 seam, not both?
Many in Milb who dominate with 2 pitches, precise command and location for each, combined with the ability to also change speed on each? Many in Milb?
Why would they be in Milb with those types of skills especially if they are devastating hitters?
Once a pitcher knows his strengths he can be successful at any level?
I guess we just have learned or seen a lot of different things.
 
Last edited by infielddad August 10, 2010 7:53 AM
 
 
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August 10, 2010 3:54 AM

quote:
Once a player knows his strengths he can be successful at any level and it won't really matter if he is a FO or a GO or a K type of pitcher. Things do change as they go up levels and as such pitchers learn to tweak or change pitches accordingly.



as do the hitters.which is why so many good pitchers are released every year. Wink
 
 
 
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August 10, 2010 4:08 PM

quote:
Originally posted by 20dad:
quote:
Once a player knows his strengths he can be successful at any level and it won't really matter if he is a FO or a GO or a K type of pitcher. Things do change as they go up levels and as such pitchers learn to tweak or change pitches accordingly.



as do the hitters.which is why so many good pitchers are released every year. Wink


Amen to that.

DK is not a an over the top guy and he throws a 2 seamer as well as a 4 seamer (for when he throws the heat). IMO, 14 year olds should be using both. You can use the 2 seam almost like a breaking ball.
4 seamer has it's own movement and tailspin as does the 2 seamer but the we all know that the beauty of the 2 seam is it's sink and it's own movement. My son's 4 seam doesn't move that much. Some pitchers can throw both well and some can't.
A starter needs 3 pitches or more to throw for strikes to reach the ML level. One pitcher on son's team, before he went down with elbow issues (while working on the curbeball) was told he will never make it to the highest level because he only had two quality pitches, and not high on velo. He was a league leader in wins with pinpoint control. Go figure that one out.

Most relievers in milb with 2 pitches only pitch one inning or two max because they can't get though it a second time with 2 pitches. MLB closers usually were starters with at least 3 pitches at one time but throw really hard and have more suitable personalities for that job. You are in luck if you have a good cut fastball and or slider (not until later on though) You can keep them guessing with inside/outside up, down and away, etc.

Knowing your strengths does not always lead to success. Using it effectively does. JMO.
 
Last edited by TPM August 10, 2010 4:42 PM
 
 
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August 10, 2010 8:13 PM

JH,

You considered a power pitcher? Many go "up the ladder" and are likely to get more fly outs.

I wouldn't listen too much to the throw downhill proponents. The angle of attack is really pretty slight from release point to no more than bottom of knees from 55' release points, or so. The biggest difference between 3/4 and high 3/4 slot is usually body lean.

Clemmens was about a 50/50 GO to AO pitcher. He went to splitters with a guy on first to try to induce the double-play ball. He also went up the ladder most of his career to induce the fly out, or K.

When the wind was blowing hard into the face of the hitter, I told my son to throw it up in the zone, not down. I wanted the fly balls.


"If you get to be my age and don't have humility, you weren't paying attention."
 
Last edited by baseballpapa August 10, 2010 8:14 PM
 
 
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J H J H is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
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August 13, 2010 8:54 PM

baseballpapa- No, I am not a power pitcher by any means. In fact, I am often the softest throwing pitcher on the team I'm on. Announcers often describe me as "the soft-tossing lefty that they seem to not be able to figure out" (That last part is included only on the occasion that I'm pitching well).

This summer my K/9 was 7.48. My sophomore year of college (my most recent year) it was 5.92. So I do occassionally strike guys out, but it's not because I blow them away with power stuff. Most of the time its an off speed pitch in the dirt, or a high fastball after consecutive curveballs, things like that.

My repertoire consists of both a 4-seamer and a 2-seamer (I use both often, and for different reasons throughout the game), a big curveball and a circle changeup. I've been working on a cutter in bullpens and it's been improving, but I want to continue to throw it during sides before I become comfortable enough to consistently use it in a game.

infielddad is right, I have been coming exclusively out of the bullpen. Although I have had extended outings several times through the order with various levels of success, I haven't been able to get an effective view of how hitters are able to adjust after seeing me, and therefore can't really answer that question.

I appreciate all the insight from everyone, and have taken everything into account. Keep the discussion coming, please. I believe that any piece of advice should be thought out, analyzed, and tried before coming to a conclusion. A lot of opinions I see on these boards are things I disagree with, but I still like to put thought into it before deciding if it's good advice for me or not. Different things work for different people, and if someone can help me find a way to make myself better by sharing what they know, then by all means bring it on.
 
 
 
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August 13, 2010 10:20 PM

I love a guy who studies the game. Play until they rip the jersey off your back -- don't ever offer it, then take what you learn and coach others.

Also, most of us on this website would say to take whatever any of us say with a grain of salt.

The average K's per inning is .75, hits are 1 per inning and walks .35 per inning (or so) in the MLB. You seem to be right in there in the competition you play. There is a lot of room for a good arm out of the bullpen who can go through an order once or spot pitch.

Your pitches seem to lend more to a fly-out than ground out, but if you develop the cutter with a downward tilt and not a flat movement, you should induce ground balls with it. How does your change move? Is it down and in to lefties and away from right handed hitters?

I wish you the best.
 
 
 
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J H J H is offline. Click for Member Snapshot.
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August 14, 2010 1:30 AM

baseballpapa- Yes, it is a traditional lefty circle change as you described. I can make it move horizontally or vertically more or less depending on how much pronation I create upon release, and I've been working hard at improving consistency with that pitch. I'm a big fan of working backwards off a changeup...I've thrown first pitch changeups, I've thrown 2-0 changeups, I've thrown 4 consecutive changeups. I feel that if you are able to repeat your delivery and locate, a good changeup is the most lethal pitch to have in a repertoire.

In 60 innings pitched this year I gave up 45 hits (6 for extra bases..5 doubles and 1 HR), walked 19 batters (3 intentionally) and struck out 42. So in terms of the MLB averages that you stated, I would say that at the level I am playing at currently, I am right around par with those.

I have a detailed account of my own statistics that I compile. I've seen many people get wrapped up in their own stats so much that it hinders the way they pitch. But I do it more for analysis...first pitch strikes ratio, Strike/Ball ratio, WHIP, opponent's slugging %, ERA. I like to go at-bat by at-bat of games I pitched and pick out mistakes I made and try to replay it and fix them in front of a mirror. Little things like this I feel have helped me get a bit of an edge on some of my competition mentally. I don't have the size or stuff a lot of the other guys have so I feel that I need to beat them by repeating my delivery and reliving situations so that when the time comes to take the mound, I just trust my stuff and go. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say I throw 100 pitches in my head for every 1 pitch I throw in a game.

I think that's part of what prompted my initial GO% vs. FO% question...just wanted to learn more about myself as a pitcher and build off of that.
 
Last edited by J H August 14, 2010 1:34 AM
 
 
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