[quote=“Steven Ellis”]In preparation for the upcoming varsity baseball season, I’ve been reviewing our pitching staff’s 2010 stats. I was not part of the program in 2010, but am just trying to get a feel for the kids. Anything pop out?
Over the course of 21 games the varsity pitching staff threw 2636 pitches.
1605 were strikes
1031 were balls.
64% were strikes[/quote]
That’s a tremendous strike percentage. I’d be real careful about messing with anything that would affect it much at all. Of course, it could be that somehow the pitches weren’t being correctly counted, but that’s easy enough to verify.
[quote]In that same period of time we faced 772 hitters.
We threw a first pitch strike 58%
Hitters avg’d 3.41 pitches per at bat. [/quote]
That’s almost 38 batters per game. That sure seems like a very very high number of ABs per game.
The FPS is pretty much normal, and the number of pitches per batter seems pretty good too. I’m just wondering how the additional 17+ batters more than the minimum per game were spread around. That’s an average of more than 2 runners per inning, and that’s scary.
[quote]Opposing Leadoff hitters:
Reached base successfully 73 times out of 173.33 innings. 42% of the time over the course of the season the opponent reached base to start the inning.
Here is a breakdown of the 73
40 were by hits
17 by BB/HBP
16 by errors
Of the 17 BB/HBP 8 scored.
Of the 40 hits 24 scored.
Of the 16 errors 8 scored.
So 55% of the time a runner reached base to start an inning he scored.[/quote]
The 55% seems to be average. I can’t say for sure about the normal of the different categories, but from what I can see, they seem pretty average as well.
I can’t tell without being there to witness the person who scored those games, but assuming s/he did a good job of judging hits/errors, and without having access to quite a few other metrics, I’m gonna guess your team would make its biggest gains by working on defense. Here’s my reasoning: if the team averages well over 2 runners per inning, the very last thing they want to do is allow that 1st batter to get on, and the easiest way to help the pitchers is by helping the defense.
I’ve never looked at it for our guys, but my guess is the pitchers who do the best at keeping LO hitters off the bases, are the one’s who consistently force the hitters to swing at the ball early in the count, and of course that means throwing lots of strikes to stay away from 3 ball counts. In general, it also likely means fewer HBP’s because there’ll be less nibbling.
So how does one get the pitchers to do that? The only way I know, is to simply have them become much more aggressive about challenging the hitters. Since LO hitters are only batting .231 why not challenge them some more? Isn’t it better to have them get a hit or reach on an error earlier in the count, than to have them walk later on? At least if they put the ball in play, there’s some chance it gets turned into an out.
The trick is twofold. One is definitely to get the pitchers to have the challenging mindset. They’ll have to really believe they’re going to go right the hitters, and that they’ll win the battle. They’ll also have to be fully confident that if they do go after the hitter, they’re not gonna get jerked out of the game.
My personal opinion is, the best way to create the kind of mindset in a pitcher that he’s in control of the situation, is to allow him to determine the pitch and location he wants to use. Of course that means coaches get out of the calling pitches from the bench business, and I seriously doubt that’s gonna happen on a wide scale basis. But, there’s an alternative. In the preseason scrimmages and early games with no league implications, let the kids go! Give them the opportunity to screw up. If they prove they can’t handle the task, its easy enough to take over.
The other part of the trick is to determine whether or not the pitchers really do have the ability to hit spots with the precision you believe they can. FI, its pretty stupid to call for a FB low and inside if the chances that it might end up over the middle at the waist are pretty good. In order to make that determination, one has to make a real effort to find the truth.
[l]Assuming you have a video camera and a tripod, bring it with you to the bullpens. Assuming there’s room to set it up somewhere behind the pitchers where the catcher can be clearly seen, do that. Then zoom in until the catcher pretty much fills the frame.
Then have them throw their pen, making sure you speak loudly enough so the camera mic will pick it up, and announce where the pitch is intended to go, and say if you thought that spot was hit, and if it was missed, by how much. Do not look at the vid at the field!!!
Take it home, and when you have lots of time to look at it and study it, do that. When you do, make sure you have a tablet handy, and mark down how accurately each pitch type was thrown. FI, 2 seam FB attempt low away to RHB, missed 6” up and in. CU attempt middle and down, missed 1’ low. Curve, attempt high backdoor to RHB, missed 9” outside and low.
It shouldn’t be too difficult if you use the catcher’s mitt as a target. I suggest you have an asst or a friend “score” the pitches along with you.
I may be very wrong, but I suspect you’re gonna learn something about your pitchers that will help you a lot![/i]