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Metric for Balls/Strikes


In an era where everything in baseball can be quantified, does a resource exist that tracks the number of balls/ strikes a player or team sees each game/ season? What I'm most interested in is a metric that would show the number of balls swung at by a player or team. I would think Questec (sp?) would have that data available, but I doubt they would publish it?

 

I'm interested because some of the hitting whoas can never be quantified. Are they too tight, thining too much, swinging for the fences, etc. But what could be proven is a hunch many of us have around here, that the Brewers simply swing at too many pitches outside the strike zone. But without data, it's just an explanation that sounds good with no proof.

 

It would be very interesting to see what percentage of balls the Brewers swing at vs the league average, and vs the top OBP teams in the league. My bet is that there's a direct correlation. Of course, you would still need to correct the problem... Just details.

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I was actually just looking at this today. Here is a link to Prince Fielder's Stats on Fangraphs.com. At the bottom of the page are strike zone statistics.

 

O-Swing% = % of the time the player swings at pitches outside the zone

Z-Swing% = % of the time the player swings at pitches inside the zone

Swing% = % of the time the player swings for all pitches

O-Contact% = % of the time the player makes contact when swinging at pitches outside the zone

Z-Contact% = % of the time the player makes contact when swinging at pitches inside the zone

Contact% = % of the time the player makes conatact when swinging at all pitches

Zone% = % of the time the player sees a pitch inside the zone

Pitches = Total pitches seen

 

When I have sometime, I'll consolidate this data comparing how the rest of the league stacks up against the Brewers as far as "plate discipline" goes.

 

Hope this helps

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Player PA O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% Pitches P/PA
R. Weeks 172 18.32% 58.02% 38.80% 50.85% 88.94% 80.23% 51.58% 696 4.047
M. Cameron 52 16.35% 68.07% 43.95% 47.06% 80.25% 74.49% 53.36% 223 4.288
R. Braun 161 34.23% 67.15% 51.12% 58.43% 90.76% 80.22% 51.31% 562 3.491
P. Fielder 158 24.59% 71.38% 46.52% 60.00% 85.94% 78.65% 46.86% 608 3.848
C. Hart 149 22.01% 70.28% 49.90% 54.35% 85.07% 79.35% 57.78% 533 3.577
B. Hall 153 24.83% 59.75% 43.35% 52.11% 82.38% 74.24% 53.04% 642 4.196
J. Hardy 140 20.70% 57.77% 54.68% 78.72% 91.23% 88.53% 56.60% 563 4.021
J. Kendall 131 17.45% 56.25% 38.68% 83.78% 94.44% 92.27% 54.70% 490 3.740
1116 22.93% 63.03% 45.86% 60.14% 87.63% 81.20% 52.96% 4317 3.868

I put some of the more interesting numbers in bold.

 

- Just a note to remember, Cameron only has 52 PAs this year.

 

- Hart has the 2nd lowest P/PA on the team amongst starters, would putting him leadoff affect this? Would it affect his hitting in general?

 

- I think we can put to bed the notion that JJ isn't getting stuff to hit because he is in front of the pitcher. He leads the team in balls in the zone.

 

- Kendall pretty much doesn't miss the ball when he swings. Seems to me like he's perfect for the roll he is in.

 

Edit: I accidentally put Weeks' ABs, not PAs in my first draft. (4.8 p/PA seemed VERY high)

 

Cubs PA O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% Pitches P/PA
R. Theriot 157 17.60% 55.85% 38.43% 72.73% 97.60% 92.42% 54.46% 587 3.739
A. Soriano 102 41.90% 73.68% 56.50% 64.00% 81.25% 74.33% 45.92% 355 3.480
D. Lee 171 16.62% 64.31% 40.96% 66.67% 91.28% 86.40% 51.05% 699 4.088
A. Ramirez 150 24.31% 71.23% 47.64% 57.17% 85.71% 78.39% 49.74% 609 4.060
K. Fukudome 159 15.79% 65.88% 41.36% 58.82% 90.54% 84.62% 51.06% 685 4.308
G. Soto 144 17.18% 65.02% 41.14% 35.56% 80.12% 70.83% 50.10% 563 3.910
M. DeRosa 147 17.04% 62.77% 40.40% 52.17% 81.36% 75.34% 51.09% 576 3.918
F. Pie 70 33.93% 67.20% 51.48% 50.00% 80.95% 71.31% 52.74% 253 3.614
1100 21.11% 65.04% 43.46% 57.92% 86.91% 80.00% 50.89% 4327 3.934

Cardinals PA O-Swing% Z-Swing% Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% Zone% Pitches P/PA
S. Schumaker 152 18.00% 66.04% 44.89% 57.78% 93.81% 87.45% 55.99% 586 3.855
A. Kennedy
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- Weeks P/PA, wow! That's really good, even for a leadoff hitter.

 

While it's better than being a free swinger, I'm not sure if higher is always better. As I mentioned in my thread, I consider what he does "fake plate discipline" as he just swings at less pitches overall. He's swung at 9% less pitches out of the strike zone than average but also almost 9% less balls in the strike zone. Maybe Weeks should spend more time worrying about what he thinks he should do to increase HIS chances of a favorable outcome for his PA.

 

Braun is still among the lead leaders in swing% of balls outside of the zone (although it's improved a bit):

 

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=100&type=4&season=2008

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I would think Questec (sp?) would have that data available, but I doubt they would publish it?
I worked for Questec a few years ago, and unless they have changed, they don't track that. They are only interested in called strikes or balls. When a player swings, the system doesn't use those pitches when grading the umps, so they are basically discarded.
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- I think we can put to bed the notion that JJ isn't getting stuff to hit because he is in front of the pitcher. He leads the team in balls in the zone.

 

Yes -- let's please do so. Zman, incredible work on those charts. Thanks a bunch for slogging through all that!

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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A nitpick - Hardy's overall swing % looked impossibly high to me so I checked it and it should be 41.68%.

 

I second TLB's appreciative note though - this is full of interesting stuff:

 

- Pujols's numbers, across the board, are disgustingly good.

 

- Aramis Ramirez doesn't look here like the sort of hitter who has sustainably doubled his walk rate (he HAS doubled his walk rate, but my money's on flukish variance over fundamental approach change), so that's encouraging.

 

- Soriano's approach is a cosmic joke. Oh, how I cannot wait until his bat speed drops off just the teensiest bit and his contract begins to resemble Zito's in millstone factor.

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