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Another stupid topic... (strike zone variances)


ESPNOwen

Okay, now we're arguing on the show whether calling the strike zone as it is written in the rule book would increase or decrease scoring. The main gyst of the argument is my co-host Mike's assertation that calling a high strike would diminish scoring. I disagree but have no way of proving whether either of us is right. Do you cats know if there's been studies on this? Google is no help.

 

Found this in the Seatle Times: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20011009&slug=bbnote09

Pitchers, helped by a bigger strike zone, regained a little ground in their never-ending battle with batters. Scoring was down 7.1 percent this season, home runs were down 4.2 percent and the overall earned-run average dipped 7.4 percent. There were 5,458 homers this season, an average of 2.25 per game. That was down from 5,693 homers and a record 2.34 average last year - and even below the 2.27 average in 1999.

 

Hopefully you find this topic as interesting as I do.

 

EDIT: Edited title to reflect subject --BtA

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My opinion only, but I don't think calling a high strike over the plate will change much. How often is that pitch thrown and and not swung at anyway? In my observation, the high pitches that don't get called strikes are at the outer edge of the strike zone anyway. It seems to me that if a pitch is high and over the plate, it is one of two things: the strikeout pitch when the pitcher is climbing the ladder or its a mistake.

 

The wide strike zone will certainly make the game go quicker. I went to last night's game, I think that was the quickest game I've been to in years.

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I don't think it would change much either way.

 

Let's assume all umps call balls and strikes exactly as defined. There would be more high strikes called, but in the meantime there would be less strikes that are off the plate - just ask Brian McCann last night or any batter who has faced Greg Maddux. Over the past decade the strike zone has become the same as me - short and wide. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/tongue.gif

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Mostly opinion, but I believe scoring would go down. To get the most carry out of the ball, the bat should be contacting the ball at a downward angle to get the backspin, which is easier to do when down in the zone. There is also some minor assistance in adjusting to a pitch further down in the zone by dropping the bat with the assistance of gravity, rather than trying to lift it at the last split second.

 

Can't think of where to get you much documentation on that theory right now, but a close similarity of increasing the height of the strike zone would be fastpitch softball, where several shows have studied the struggles of pro baseball players trying to catchup to a Jennie Finch pitch having to due with the change in contact points & angle (as the reaction time is quite similar for the slower but shorter pitch). While the riseball is not a real option in baseball, there might be some minor carryovers of trying to catch up with the high fastball.

 

Edit: I'm out of town, so let me know how your listeners tear that theory apart http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

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I guess I would wonder more what the long-term effect would be. Right away, we probably would see a little less scoring because hitters won't be accustomed to that being a strike. That would mean more strikeouts, less walks.

 

But over time, hitters will get used to the fact that the high pitch is a strike. If hitters adapt to it, that's not a bad pitch to hit.

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

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I don't think it would change much either way.

 

Let's assume all umps call balls and strikes exactly as defined. There would be more high strikes called, but in the meantime there would be less strikes that are off the plate - just ask Brian McCann last night or any batter who has faced Greg Maddux. Over the past decade the strike zone has become the same as me - short and wide. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/tongue.gif

To backup your point:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/images/uploads/sz_results2.png

Study Link
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But as that study points out, the called strike zone covers more area that the textbook one, especially for Rh batters. I'd assume that fact hurts the offense but it depends on what part of the 'contested" strike zone that batters get the most production from.
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