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?

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Original Post

Why not robots pitch and hit?

Bob

Consultant posted:

Why not robots pitch and hit?

Bob

What in the world does that mean? If you don't think contact % means anything, why not either say so or say nothing?

Stats -

What about the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) stat for pitchers, and Weighted On Base Percentage (wOBA) for hitters?

Or, since you are interested in the "quality" of contact, maybe Batting Average for Balls in Play (BABIP) for both pitchers and hitters? A pitcher might pitch to a lot of contact, but a low BABIP would indicate that hitters are not squaring up well against him. Likewise, a hitter with a high BABIP is making quality contact.

Swing and misses are related to the pitchers performance/deceptiveness not the batters accuracy.

The statistic for batters would be skewed because you can't account for which pitchers they faced in an overall statistic.  If you isolate it to each pitcher you would have useful data but the chances of one batter facing the same pitcher for 50+ pitches in a season are slim to none.

I would hypothesize that contact rate might have a few hidden flaws that might not always tell the correct story.  On one hand, a pitcher with lots of strike outs and a low contact rate probably has some good stuff and the batter with lots of hits and high percentage can bat well.  However, once you start to look for trends in the middle of the pack, on contact rate alone, things would break down.  The secondary measure is definitely needed, but introduces another set or "error" in the data.  I think you can spot some outliers, but not sure you could end up stack ranking based on any two sets of data with contact percentage being one of them.  Contact below the ball often results in a foul ball whereas contact above the ball often results in a ground out.  If you do proceed, the comment about using BABIP seems as good as a secondary measure as one might use.

I think it might be worthwhile to use the contact rate as a secondary measure when looking at a particular pitcher's effectiveness, or lack thereof, to see perhaps whether swing-and-miss is a part of the equation versus searching for "quality" in the general population.

If TrackMan would just become commercially available for under \$500 than most of this discussion would go away and you could get almost infinite detail as to the outcome of each individual pitch and truly start tracking how balls are hit, including hard hit outs, to get a handle on how the batters and pitchers fare in mashing or preventing mashing.

Matt Reiland posted:

Stats -

What about the Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) stat for pitchers, and Weighted On Base Percentage (wOBA) for hitters?

Or, since you are interested in the "quality" of contact, maybe Batting Average for Balls in Play (BABIP) for both pitchers and hitters? A pitcher might pitch to a lot of contact, but a low BABIP would indicate that hitters are not squaring up well against him. Likewise, a hitter with a high BABIP is making quality contact.

Good questions Matt. I’ll try to respond to each one.

FIP for pitchers where it isn’t possible to get a league average in order to compute the constant means the result isn’t usable. wOBA is the same since there are no linear weights for any level I know of below professional baseball, and for sure not for HSV.

That brings us to BABIP. As you can see by the attachment, I do BABIP for both hitters and pitchers. Here’s the problem. In order to make heads or tails out of any metric, you have to look at other ones in order to get any decent context.

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CaCO3Girl posted:

Swing and misses are related to the pitchers performance/deceptiveness not the batters accuracy.

The statistic for batters would be skewed because you can't account for which pitchers they faced in an overall statistic.  If you isolate it to each pitcher you would have useful data but the chances of one batter facing the same pitcher for 50+ pitches in a season are slim to none.

That’s why for lower levels where there’s no mandatory entry of all stats, trying to compare players from different teams just won’t provide valid information. However, comparing teammates will provide information that’s pretty good.

In any case though, what you’re pointing out is why most stats are computed as percentages or ratios based on the entirety of all games in order to get an average.

2017LHPscrewball posted:

…If TrackMan would just become commercially available for under \$500 than most of this discussion would go away and you could get almost infinite detail as to the outcome of each individual pitch and truly start tracking how balls are hit, including hard hit outs, to get a handle on how the batters and pitchers fare in mashing or preventing mashing.

Yes, you could definitely get a lot more detail if everyone used TrackMan, but I wonder if any more people would be using that data than use what’s available now without it. You can lead a horse to water …

stat heads love contact rate,  swing out of zone rate,   for hitters and pitchers.  Its a key statistic to see if someone is for real,  smoke and mirrors etc.     Here is an article about  the Brewers Thames discussing this very thing from fangraphs.    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs...st-eric-thames-stat/

gunner34 posted:

stat heads love contact rate,  swing out of zone rate,   for hitters and pitchers.  Its a key statistic to see if someone is for real,  smoke and mirrors etc.     …

Unfortunately for amateurs, there’s no accurate way to determine a swing out of zone rate.

I used to track similar stats back when I kept the book for our rec league.  I'm not really a baseball guy (unless my kid is playing ), and certainly not a stats guy, but I did learn enough to score the game and keep the book.

In an effort to try and learn a little more, I would take the book home and then put the game into an app (GameChanger or 6-4-3).   Since those programs allow you to track the pitches, I started also tracking in the book  - numbering the pitches in the box, and using a C, S, or F for strikes (called, swung, or foul).  My son was pitching, so I was also interested in his FPS % (especially at the rec level where most coaches will tell their kids to always take the first pitch!)

Using that information, I was able to start tracking the kids in regards to their ability/willingness to hit the ball, or see who was constantly watching good pitches.  At  the younger ages it can be helpful to know if somebody is hitting the ball and advancing runners versus somebody that is afraid to swing the bat, or maybe just doesn't know what the strike zone is.  I guess it also helped me to know that my kid was good at putting the ball in play - just not so good at actually getting on base!

I think the coaches found it useful as far as setting the line-up and which kids needed more work on batting.

Of course this was youth rec league - I assume at the high school level most kids can hit (unless they are taken strictly for their play at a position, in which case you are just going to hide them in the line-up where they can do the least damage).

I had no idea there was actual statistics for that kind of stuff, but doesn't surprise me since it seems like there is a stat for everything in baseball!

Tom Helper posted:

… My son was pitching, so I was also interested in his FPS % (especially at the rec level where most coaches will tell their kids to always take the first pitch!)

Using that information, I was able to start tracking the kids in regards to their ability/willingness to hit the ball, or see who was constantly watching good pitches.

See aggressive.pdf. Might give you some ideas.

At  the younger ages it can be helpful to know if somebody is hitting the ball and advancing runners versus somebody that is afraid to swing the bat, or maybe just doesn't know what the strike zone is.  I guess it also helped me to know that my kid was good at putting the ball in play - just not so good at actually getting on base!

I think it’s useful to know who advances runners at any level. See mru01.pdf.

…Of course this was youth rec league - I assume at the high school level most kids can hit (unless they are taken strictly for their play at a position, in which case you are just going to hide them in the line-up where they can do the least damage).

Actually, even at the HS level most players aren’t very good hitters.

I had no idea there was actual statistics for that kind of stuff, but doesn't surprise me since it seems like there is a stat for everything in baseball!

Yeah, ain’t it great?

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