Pitcher's approach in 2 strike counts

Scorebook…again I love this back and fourth. I don’t know about you but stuff like this helps us to all learn as long as we are open minded.

As far as 0-2 counts I do not believe I ever suggested any thing as it would related to nibbling or wasting pitches. Matter of fact I know I said right out that I do not believe there is such a thing as a “wasted pitch.” Unless perhaps you have a big swinger up, it is 0-2, 1-2, you have him all amped up, he just jacked a 500 foot foul ball home run why not throw a FB high above his shoulders and see if you can get him to try and crush it.

Even in that scenario in my opinion that pitch would most definitely have a purpose behind it so in a sense it would not be a wasted pitch.

I always refer to and use the term “purpose pitch” simply because there should be a purpose behind every pitch a pitcher throws regardess of the level.

Furthermore as it pertains to your 4.5 pitches per I said earlier that if we g 0-2 we certainly do not want to get to 2-2.

In terms of college pitchers throwing strikes and compared to lets say what we would both preach to younger players in getting ahead as well as staying ahead or whatever else because I beleive it sounds as though we are on the same page there…let me better explain to perhaps clear things up.

If a college pitcher is constantly throwing first pitch strikes instead or working on the premise of throwing a strike with one of the first two pitches they are setting themselves up to perhaps get pounded.

Throwing first pitch strikes all the time at a collegiate level is not going to work out all that well many times. Then again if a certain lead off or second lead off/#9 batter is constantly taking a first pitch strike then why not go after him right away.

Addtionally speaking as it pertains to 0-2 counts and some of the posts made if at the collegiate level a pitcher is always trying to get hitters out by throwing 0-2 strikes they will be at risk for getting detected and perhaps pounded on counts they are ahead in.

As we all know giving up 0-2, 1-2, 0-1 hits is not something that is really acceptable especially in college. Therefore what I was saying is when pitchers are ahead in the counts in my opinion they should rarely work away because good hitters are looking to protect and also looking away. Now if a kid has lets say a good slidepiece with an 0-2 count why not throw it regardless of whether or not it is a strike because it very well may be he best pitch.

Transversely if again lets say in college it is a weekday non-conference game and you are throwing your #5 out there and it is an 0-2 count with limited options in terms of pitch selection why not set up the batter with lets say an un-hittable purpose pitch outside of a breaking ball, or slurve to set up say a weak straight change or fast ball outside by doubling up off the slot of the previous pitch…then again one could back door slot, inside slot or a few other options if they threw a purpose pitch on 0-2 rather then coming at them simply with the goal in mind that they need to get them out on 0-2 like someone else had mentioned.

Again nice goal but other ways (many ways) of looking at it.

As far as documentation on my approach I always preach to whatever the level of getting ahead. As a best case example for me in four seasons of fall ball and winter cage games I kept track of BA’s against specific counts for close to 1300 ABS. Now some of these were as mentioned “cage games” but our bench coach had been the Twins Equipment Manager for 37 seasons and had seen over 3000 big league games from the dugout so he was probably as qaulified as any to determine if a ball hit in the cage was perhaps indeed a hit or not…here are the numbers

0-2 .116
1-2 .148
2-2 .170
0-0 .264…we were an aggressive first pitch hitting team
3-2 .190
0-1 .209
3-0 .260
1-1 .269
2-1 .286
3-1 .356
1-0 .367
2-0 .399

A good friend of mine use to coach at Washington University and he provided to me the following chart for three complete seasons there…note the very similar correlations between counts on both charts.

0-2 .118
1-2 .151
2-2 .169
0-0 .186
3-2 .192
0-1 .199
3-0 .267
1-1 .269
2-1 .290
3-1 .369
1-0 .370
2-0 .386

As far as the distinct difference in average between the two at 3-1, 1-0 and 2-0 counts my opinion is pitchers at WU were of a far higher caliber then the pitchers I was managing at the NCAA DII program therefore they may have been able to make up some with stuff against the same types of bats as compared to the DII pitchers. Also we were a hitting focused team with one of the best hitting instructors in the country as our head coach, therefore we had some very good DII hitters during the times this chart was being put together…consequently when the bottom half of our DII kids were getting behind in the counts they were getting knocked around pretty good.

As far as it relates to my beliefs on calling pitches and you suggesting it is a good thing that I move forward in not calling all the pitches let me just say this…in high school I would be more apt to call pitches then in college due to many reasons. At the college level we called probably half the pitches during weekday games.

On weekends more often then not we would start out not calling pitches. If the tempo started out bad then either I would decide or the head coach would decide we were going to begin calling all pitches until he decided we were going to stop. Transversely we obviously had a lot of information in our hands per our opponents so if the head coach ever wanted to jump in or have me jump in we could call any pitch at any time per any situation.

I personally do not like calling pitches for one simple reason. There is little or no feel from the chair as compared to being on the dirt. With better and more experienced pitchers at any level you take away alot of the feel by being a catcher on a chair. Plus perhaps as importantly as any thing if a coach is constantly calling pitches your pitchers and catchers will never learn. Then again by calling pitches and doing it the right way a coach can most certainly teach his battery mates to call better games.

In closing we ALWAYS had and I still have to this day our pitcher and catcher sit next to one another in between every single inning. We also at the college level at one starting pitcher who already had thrown that week and perhaps against that particular opponent or was to throw against the next day keep a specialized tendancy chart and after every inning he would run through it with our catcher and then the catcher would run through it with the pitcher of record in the game.

That is about all I have to share from my side on 0-2 counts…I think I have written enough… :lol:

Describe it however you like, What you said was “constantly going at guys to get them out on 0-2 counts the adjustment to make would be real easy”. I don’t know how not “going at guy” could be described as anything other than nibbling or wasting pitches.

[quote]Even in that scenario in my opinion that pitch would most definitely have a purpose behind it so in a sense it would not be a wasted pitch.

I always refer to and use the term “purpose pitch” simply because there should be a purpose behind every pitch a pitcher throws regardess of the level. [/quote]

True. And sometimes the purpose is to throw a pitch not in the strike zone to, hoping the batter will “bite”, and thus get himself out while looking inept. That get more difficult to do, the higher up the ladder one goes, and there comes a point in time that the hitters seldom fall for a 55’ CU or an Uncle Charlie in the opposite batter’s box. As the players get better, the pitchers have to throw the ball much closer to the zone to make the hitters believe they have to swing.

I’m afraid you’ve misread what I was saying. The 4.5 had nothing at all to do with the number of pitches of anything. I was talking about the number of 0-2 counts in an average HS game I’ve scored.

[quote]In terms of college pitchers throwing strikes and compared to lets say what we would both preach to younger players in getting ahead as well as staying ahead or whatever else because I beleive it sounds as though we are on the same page there…let me better explain to perhaps clear things up.

If a college pitcher is constantly throwing first pitch strikes instead or working on the premise of throwing a strike with one of the first two pitches they are setting themselves up to perhaps get pounded.

Throwing first pitch strikes all the time at a collegiate level is not going to work out all that well many times. Then again if a certain lead off or second lead off/#9 batter is constantly taking a first pitch strike then why not go after him right away. [/quote]

Why would throwing 1st pitch strikes in college get a pitcher “pounded”, when it doesn’t at any level below or above? I don’t have a lot of college data, but here’s what I do have.

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/ktab.pdf

I don’t see anything that would indicate a pitcher throwing 1st pitch strikes is anything but an advantage. In fact it sure looks an awful lot like the HS data. Maybe you can help me out here. I feel as though I must be missing something in the discussion. What should I look at to see if throwing 1st pitch strikes leads to any trend other than a positive one?

I’m sorry but as I’ve said, I know of nothing that bears out what you’re saying. I might be able to get hold of Standfords data for several years or at least get some kind of proof that bears you out, but I need to know what to ask for.

[quote]As we all know giving up 0-2, 1-2, 0-1 hits is not something that is really acceptable especially in college. Therefore what I was saying is when pitchers are ahead in the counts in my opinion they should rarely work away because good hitters are looking to protect and also looking away. Now if a kid has lets say a good slidepiece with an 0-2 count why not throw it regardless of whether or not it is a strike because it very well may be he best pitch.

Transversely if again lets say in college it is a weekday non-conference game and you are throwing your #5 out there and it is an 0-2 count with limited options in terms of pitch selection why not set up the batter with lets say an un-hittable purpose pitch outside of a breaking ball, or slurve to set up say a weak straight change or fast ball outside by doubling up off the slot of the previous pitch…then again one could back door slot, inside slot or a few other options if they threw a purpose pitch on 0-2 rather then coming at them simply with the goal in mind that they need to get them out on 0-2 like someone else had mentioned.

Again nice goal but other ways (many ways) of looking at it. [/quote]

I’ll see what I can do to prove that one way or the other, but again, its difficult to do that working in the dark. :wink:

Sorry, I don’t care if it was Pete, Cal , and Nomar making the determinations, I never use data for something like this unless there’s a game on a field and an umpire. Why not just use data from the games?

You should read this. http://faculty.engr.utexas.edu/bickel/Papers/AVG_by_Count.pdf

Computing BA or anything else really by pitch count has pretty much worn out it usefulness in the current state of Sabemetrics. Now its understood that there’s one heck of a difference between BA and BIP, and the umpire’s count as opposed to the real count, as it pertains to just about everything.

Anyone can go to places like http://www.theoleballgame.com/batting-average-analysis.html and get what supposedly is the ultimate in insight, but the truth is, the entire subject is far too complicated than just computing a BA based on what the count was on the scoreboard. Now-a-daze people realize that the pitch sequence has a tremendous amount of influence on what happens, as does whether there are runners on base or not. I quit looking at BA by count when I read that article several years ago. :wink:

I really can’t say about how much difference there is between the different divisions in college. It’s a lot like trying to look at the Fr, JV, and V ball in HS. Its all HSB, but the differences are substantial. Then when you get into the different divisions of schools, things get even wilder. Here in Ca there are 7, count ‘em 7 different divisions.

[quote]As far as it relates to my beliefs on calling pitches and you suggesting it is a good thing that I move forward in not calling all the pitches let me just say this…in high school I would be more apt to call pitches then in college due to many reasons. At the college level we called probably half the pitches during weekday games.

On weekends more often then not we would start out not calling pitches. If the tempo started out bad then either I would decide or the head coach would decide we were going to begin calling all pitches until he decided we were going to stop. Transversely we obviously had a lot of information in our hands per our opponents so if the head coach ever wanted to jump in or have me jump in we could call any pitch at any time per any situation.

I personally do not like calling pitches for one simple reason. There is little or no feel from the chair as compared to being on the dirt. With better and more experienced pitchers at any level you take away alot of the feel by being a catcher on a chair. Plus perhaps as importantly as any thing if a coach is constantly calling pitches your pitchers and catchers will never learn. Then again by calling pitches and doing it the right way a coach can most certainly teach his battery mates to call better games. [/quote]

I’ve always maintained that if a coach can do it, he should be able to pass on that knowledge to the pitchers and catchers outside of the games. Its not as though its rocket science. Its really an art that can only be refined by exercising it. Trying to learn it by assimilation does nothing by drag the process out. Of course, that’s only my opinion. :wink:

I don’t think people realize how much those little things help.

Its nothing but knowledge transfer! :wink:

Scorekeeper…again good banter.

When you say you don’t know how not going at a guy is not nibbling and wasting pitches I digress. You even mentioned yourself about pitch progression. Pitching in part is having command of the strike zone and the areas around it; hopefully we can atleast agree on that.

First pitch strikes all the time does absolutely become predictable but again one certainly does not want to get into too many 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 counts so again the fine line.

First strikes can absolutely be an advantage; why would they not. Yet how much better to stress not being predictable and for the pitchers who can do it try to have them work on throwing a strike with no less then one of the first two pitches in a sequence.

Also these approaches of both of us depend on the kid and the level. Is the kids capable of throwing multiple pitches over the plate for first pitch strikes or is he locked in to only having command of his fast ball like most high school kids are…

…I beleive true command of a pitch is having the confidence and ability to throw that pitch in any count, in any situation to any hitter at any time.

Mosts high school kids would be lucky to have command of one pitch.

Most non-DII or DII kids who are not All Americans or All Region players would normally only have true command of two pitches.

DI kids 2-3 and professionals who knows…a whole other topic all together.

0-2 strikes at a constant will be very easy to figure out especially if those are lets say 80-90% fast balls. So if you don’t understand what I am trying to get across I too am in the dark on this one.

If you are in the dark on some of these cut and dry opinions of mine that I feel have been atleast explained relatively well then I also don’t know what to say other then you may be so much more smarter then me and into the numbers more then what I am into we will each never understand one another.

Any data is good data and you are obviously a data guy. However as a coach one does not always have the time to be consumed with data.

Computing BA by pitch counts is an outstanding way of providing visuals to pitchers so they can better get it. Heck a guy could simply make up the data and put the numbers on paper however he liked…that would be a coaching technique to gain the attention of his pitchers so they can see something on paper that tells them what they should already know in that hitter counts are bad and pitcher counts are good…

Honestly you are putting me in the dark to some extent but again I think that may be because you are a numbers guy and I only am to an extent when I feel it is applicable. Im a players style coach due to varying reasons.

Regarding umpire counts versus real counts I really don’t know what you are talking about because to me there is only one count that matters and that would be the one that is in the book and on the umps clicker.

Pertaining to pitch progression I am real big on it and I mentioned some things about slotting…perhaps you should look into that a bit and then we might be more on the same page.

As far as differences between DI, DII and DII or whatever divisions some times the differences can be huge other times not so much at the collegiate level. For instance you have programs at lower divisions in CA that could compete up a few nothces. There are JUCOS in TX, and AZ that could walk right into a lot of DI conferences and do just fine.

The top say ten DIII programs in the country could easily compete with the top 20 DII programs. The top 20 DII programs in the country could easily compete with the top 20-30 DI programs and probably higher then that.

In HS the differences are basically the same but there would not be many HS sophomore teams that could compete at varsity levels in too many areas if any. Transversely not a lot of HS JV teams out there who could compete at the varsity level either…although on any given day if a team has a guy on the bump they can beat nearly anyone.

In closing we could apparently discuss all this all day long and I do like that as well as respect what you say but I beleive I have come to the conclusion that we different in our approaches because you are a hard core numbers guy and I am not.

As you mentioned I too have said enough and I believe we have nearly beaten this to death to the point of both of us being in the dark. I look foward to seeing you on the board again.

With regard to coaches calling pitches: there’s a story about Casey Stengel, who at times was guilty of micromanaging.
When Yogi Berra was learning the ins and outs of catching, Stengel would call the pitches from the dugout all the time, which did not sit well with the pitchers. They wanted Yogi to see the game through their eyes, not the manager’s—and Allie Reynolds finally did something about it. One day during a game ol’ Case was calling the pitches—and Reynolds insisted that Yogi watch him and not the guy on the dugout bench. Every time Yogi would start to look toward the dugout Reynolds would insist that the catcher watch him, and it went back and forth like that. Stengel even threatened to fine Yogi, but Reynolds kept insisting that Yogi, who by now was thoroughly confused, continue to watch him—and finally the pitcher won out. This was a big breakthrough for Berra, who got the idea that he was supposed to call the pitches; he went on to become one of the all-time great catchers in the game. 8)

We can, although I seriously doubt that we’d agree on the degree of accuracy pitchers have. :wink:

I think I said before that I don’t quite understand how you can say there’s so much predictability in it. The only thing I see predictable about it, is that the batter knows the pitcher’s gonna try to get ahead in the count on the 1st pitch, and that doesn’t mean the ball will always be a cock-shot FB. It may be thought of that way by pitchers who are throwers, but pitchers with some skill will use that skill to keep the batter in some suspense. Of course the pitcher who has little or not control of pitch selection or location has lost the greatest advantage he has, but that’s not the issue.

Well, to be honest, you’re the only person I’ve ever communicated with who believes not throwing strikes is a good thing in any way shape or form. Lol. But seriously, I get what you’re saying, but I think the connotation you’re putting on “STRESS” and “PREDICTABILITY” is a bit misplaced. To me, there shouldn’t be any more “stress” over throwing a 1st pitch strike than throwing any other pitch for a strike. That’s because everything I’ve been taught and believe, is that a pitcher should try to throw every pitch with the purpose of getting a strike.

Agree. But it still doesn’t matter because even if the only pitch he can control at all is a weak FB, he still has to throw the pitch. And if he’s afraid to pitch to contact, he really has to learn to overcome that or get off the mound.

Do you not think its important not to just execute throwing that pitch, but throwing it most of the time where he wants it?

True.

I can believe that.

Many yes, but I don’t think MOST have true command of 2-3 in DI. In the pros, starters yes. Most need an arsenal to get through a line up. But relievers is a different story.

[quote]

[quote]0-2 strikes at a constant will be very easy to figure out especially if those are lets say 80-90% fast balls. So if you don’t understand what I am trying to get across I too am in the dark on this one.

If you are in the dark on some of these cut and dry opinions of mine that I feel have been atleast explained relatively well then I also don’t know what to say other then you may be so much more smarter then me and into the numbers more then what I am into we will each never understand one another. [/quote]

Rather than trying to figure out what’s in each other’s head, let me ask you this. Pick the level of ball, and assume the baseball gods decided to play a trick on everyone. For one game they made the pitchers incapable of throwing anything other than their best FB minus about 5% of its velocity, and further made every itch split the dish at the belt. What do you think the final score would be?

I understand that. That’s why God made statisticians. ROFL! Statisticians provide things coaches and manager use to coach and manage.

If you read that article, you’ll understand why when I ran my metric I ran it two ways. Once for “normal” BA, and once for BABIP. You can see the results here: http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/count52.pdf

Helping pitchers “get it” is something that should be done much lower than the pros. College, or HS.

LOL! S’ok to be confused a bit. I’m not trying to do that, but it often happens when one’s deep held beliefs are challenged. You don’t understand why something so simple to you can’t be grasped by someone else. Have faith! I do understand what you’re saying. We only differ as to the degree of belief.

Here again. it depends on who’s keeping your book. In my book, I don’t just mark balls and strikes. I mark which pitch it was in the at bat. Some folks mark whether it was a swing and miss, foul, or called strike as well, but I don’t get that detailed because no coach has ever asked for it.

But I’ll try to show you what I mean by the different counts. Please look at http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/test.pdf

What that is, is all the different ways 1-2 count ABs finished, and how they got to that last pitch. O is an out, E is an ROE, N is no at bat, and of course H is a hit. The no at bat could be a sac or something like a 2 out pickoff.

Even realizing that there’s more than one progression because of all the different ways to finish, there’s still a lot of different possibilities. FI, would you call the same pitch on 1-2 if the AB went SBS as one that had gone SSSSB OR SSSSBSS? That’s what I mean by progression and real count. the real cont for the 1st example would be 1-2, the 2nd 1-4, and the 3rd 1-6.

My purpose isn’t to be contrary or add confusion. Its only to point out that all umpires counts are not the same, and pitches and locations shouldn’t be called purely by what the umpire’s count is because that ignores what has taken place before.

Slotting? Would you mind defining that? The only thing in baseball I’m familiar with having to do with slots would be arm slots, and that doesn’t make sense in this context.

[quote]As far as differences between DI, DII and DII or whatever divisions some times the differences can be huge other times not so much at the collegiate level. For instance you have programs at lower divisions in CA that could compete up a few nothces. There are JUCOS in TX, and AZ that could walk right into a lot of DI conferences and do just fine.

The top say ten DIII programs in the country could easily compete with the top 20 DII programs. The top 20 DII programs in the country could easily compete with the top 20-30 DI programs and probably higher then that. [/quote]

That’s true, and it’s a shame those programs don’t get the kind of recognition they deserve.

In HS, almost everything depends on the strength of the program and how its set up. We have a few schools out here that have 50-100 player going out for the Fr team. That gives the program an entirely different dynamic than one that only has a dozen or so trying to make the Fr team. Then there are programs that for one reason or another don’t have a Fr program.

This year all 8 HSs in our school district had to drop Fr sports. The end result will be our JV teams should be monsters, but fewer kids will get to be on the teams. Then there are some places that are so small, they have MS kids on the HS teams.

Actually, its not that I’m so much a numbers guy as one who just likes to see things in proper context and backed up with proof. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth many many times I assure you, but it never bothers me fully to consider what the other guy is saying because that’s how learning takes place.

Heck, I don’t think you’re in the dark at all, and I know other than a few things like what ‘slotting’ is, I’m following you really well. I love it when guys like yourself attempt to explain your thinking in such great detail. It shows commitment and belief in what you teach. Haven’t got a lot of use for those who take the “because I said so” or “because that’s the way its always been” approach, then get angry when challenged.

I’m sure we’ll be at it again soon, and I look forward to it!