I was scoring a game the other day and remember thinking how there were so many foul balls and so few swings and misses. Later on I was watching a ML game and when an announcer said one of the pitchers really had “Swing and miss stuff”, I put the two together.
Later on I began looking for a way to pick out pitchers who had “Swing and miss stuff” and picked out a report I generate that best shows it to me. Please see pitchkinds3P.pdf
As you can see, our pitchers average 83.7% of all pitches swung at are contacted, and if that’s how someone wanted to define a pitcher’s “quality” sorting the pitchers by the percent of pitches swung at that are contacted is a simple way to do it. But, I wondered, how would I define “quality”? ERA, WHIP, or something else so I could test how well contacted percent defines quality. Any ideas?
As I was looking at that particular metric, it dawned on me that if contacted percent could define quality of pitchers, it should be able to do the same for hitters. Since I also run that metric for our hitters, it was pretty simple to pull it out. Please see pitchkinds3B.pdf
As you can see, the contacted percent is 83% for those hitters who’ve seen at least 70 pitches. Then it dawned on me that I had the same problem looking at hitters as I did with pitchers. How should a hitter’s “quality be defined to test whether contacted percent could identify it? BA, OBP, OPS, or something else? Any other ideas?
In the end, does contacted percent identify a hitter’s comprehension of the strike zone or a pitcher’s ability to make hitters think a pitch is someplace or something it isn’t?