This form I use to consider the strike percentage of a prospect that I may be considering in addition to the overall control factor of his appearance. On this sheet I consider strikes, hits, fouls all to be STRIKES in the computations. For rookies and pitchers returning from rehab, this consideration takes a lot of pressure off them and is fair and reasonable.
Coaches have a ton of things to consider when reviewing players for a roster spot, determining a Rotation’s makeup, which pitcher to schedule for which game/playoffs/best-three-out-of-five, and so on. So, to make the job a little easier but still add substance to the decision making process, there is a step-by-step method that a lot of us use. Some methods are really involved and complicated while others are pretty straight forward. However, regardless of the system or methods used – we all try to cover three things – first, collect detail, second- sift through the detail and summarize, third – take the summaries and make some broad brush assumptions in total. Why this approach? Well, when a coach is dealing with hundreds of potential prospects in addition to an actual roster, he/she has to move as quickly and as deliberately as possible. Also, when it’s decision time, a coach has to hang his/her hat on something. (more about that later) So, let me give you some of the TITLES and the reasoning behind them for the Reference Sheet that I posted recently.
Total At Bats 21……......…4……....4…..……5………….......5……….....3
Total Innings 5……….....1……....1....…… …1…………......1……....…1
Appearance % 140%.....133%..133%.....167%.........167%....100%
Of the total innings under review here, this pitcher faced 21 batters for five innings. Since there are three(3) batters per inning, and if our pitcher went 1-2-3 then his appearance % would be 100%.
This a quick look-see at his performance. However, as a matter of course, things don’t go that smoothly. So, again – a quick look see draws my attention to what inning or innings gave – or started to give our guy problems and how did he react. Again, what I’m looking for are quick references to “what-why-how come.” I don’t want to be reading the Great American Novel. Hence, it appears that our boy was doing pretty good right up until the third inning. His appearance percentage jumped to 167% and stayed that way for the next inning. But why? As we’ll see further down on our reference some of it was due to his fault and some of it was due to fielding errors. (more on that in a minute). But now look at his fifth inning – the kid bounces back and its 1-2-3. In the fifth he strikes two out and pitches for the fielding play. Like I said in the beginning, I use this sheet to give a quick glimpse – usually days after a game, of how a rookie or a pitcher returning from rehab did.
Fielding errors can add four(4) to nine(9) pitches to a pitcher’s pitch count instantly. Not to mention the loss in concentration and other things. Fielding errors can really test your metal. So, do you bounce back or do you crumble? By the way – just a question on the side… say your club has five fielding errors in a row….. does the coach come out and replace the offending fielder… or does he go to the bullpen? (Just asking?)
Take a look at how our pitcher did with respect to STRIKE PERCENTAGES. The kid stayed in there and did himself some good.
Although in the second inning our pitcher walked a batter, then in the third he walked another batter and his club made a fielding error in that same inning, he still maintained a respectable strikeout percentage of 50% and 60%. But in the fourth inning his percentage went way down – 20%, but, he did bounce back in the fifth with 67%. The fourth inning is an exception here, but I do see consistency as a rule.
To summarize, Reference sheet are designed to give a glimpse in time of events – first with topical information, then summary, then if needed supporting detail…. but not overwhelming detail. In addition these Reference Sheets have to have some sort of meaning that can be applied across the board with respect to other players (pitchers). And still support the volatile nature of amateur athletics with a host of timing and resource issues that are in orbit at any given time.
And finally – this is being directed to you Diesel specifically because you seem to have more than just a passing interest here and I wouldn’t be surprised if you went into some sort of coaching role in the future. In the beginning of this post I mentioned:
……. Also, when it’s decision time, a coach has to hang his/her hat on something………
When it comes time to direct a player elsewhere like during the cut and elimination phase, or the shifting of the rotation schedule of a player, etc., this can be awkward for some. As a matter of principle I never make a decision or suggest to my skipper making such moves – lightly. I must have the best facts and figures available to me so I can do what’s right for the player, my skipper and the club. Most of the time this process, as unpleasant as it is, goes off without a hitch. Usually there are no surprises for anybody. However, there have been on accusations a formal meeting with representatives from all sorts of places wanting to know exactly how a certain decision was reached. Sometimes these meetings can get a bit vocal. Having a fair and balanced set of facts that’s applied to everyone on the rotation is very helpful to say the least.
Outstanding question Diesel.