# Strike percentage

What is a good strikes thrown percentage to have?

It depends on the level you’re talking about, but in general, anything above 65% is pretty darn good, and anything lower than 58% is pretty bad, especially over an extended period of time. Anything in between is generally ok, and whether its good or bad depends a lot on the specific pitcher.

Just keep in mind though, that those percentages don’t equate 1:1 with “success”.

This may be a silly question, what about swinging strikes outside of the zone? Do you factor that into the ratio as a strike or ball.

For the purpose of pitch counts and strike percentage we count a strike as a strike whether it is a foul ball with two strikes, a swing at a pitch at eye level, curveball in the dirt or just a bad call by the ump.

Exactly right JP. Straight strike percentages are pretty black and white. If it’s not called a ball, it’s a strike. There are some folks like myself who separate strikes into balls in play and not, but the total strikes are still what they are.

Now when pitchers get to teams where they chart pitches, it may well be that a particular coach charts other things. FI, I know of one HS program in NC where they chart pitches as to whether they were in the strike zone or not, but that’s really difficult to do without the equipment MLB has set up in their parks.

As I see it, a strike is a strike is a strike, whether it be a called strike, a swinging strike, a foul ball—a foul bunt with two strikes—a foul tip right into the catcher’s mitt/ All strikes. And my personal ratio of strikes to balls was something like 5:1 or 6"1, and it averaged out to something like 90%, which I won’t quibble about. 8)

There is a thread on this from several mos. ago. A poster put forth a 5% per year number that seems to correlate well. A good 10 y.o. would then throw at least 50% strikes, 11 y.o. 55% etc… A lot of factors/variables but it gives you a tangible number.

That might work as long as the player is less than 13, but I seriously doubt it would hold up under close scrutiny. I just saw a stat that for 2009, the MLB average was between 63 and 64%. If the rule of thumb you gave held true even to age 14, it would have all pitchers trying to throw 70% strikes, and history tells us, that just isn’t possible for more than a very short period of time.

As I said before, 58-65% seem to be the high and low marks as far as reasonableness, no matter what the age, and that happens for different reasons at every age. But more and more, the data seems to point toward some other paradigm having a lot of meaning. FI, the percentage of 1st pitch strikes has gained a lot of importance over the last several years. And lately there’s been a lot of interest shown in the percentage of pitches thrown for strikes, depending on the count. FI, assuming all things are equal, would you prefer your pitchers to throw a lot of pitches when they were ahead, behind, or even in the count.

The bottom line is, pitchers who throw lots of strikes tend to be the ones who have the most success. But what that magic number is, is really impossible to say in a general way.

I think that 65% is a good number and anything above 70% might be too high. If your batter is down in the count 0-2 or 1-2 you’ll want stay slightly off the plate anyway. First pitch strikes are what you really want to focus on to get ahead in the count.

I’m always amazed at how many people think 65% is only a “good” number, when even ML pitchers who have that as a percentage are considered some of the best.

I don’t think there can ever be too high a strike percentage. I think a lot of folks confuse strike percentage with percentage of pitches in the strike zone, and many times they’re very different things. However, I do believe its possible to throw pitches in the strike zone that can and do get pitchers in trouble.

FI, throwing a 1st pitch 98MPH FB right down the middle will likely not produce a lot of problems, but throwing 3 or 4 in a row would sure give a good hitter a heck of an advantage. The trick isn’t where it is, but more where it is in relation to the last pitch.

It depends on the level you’re talking about, but in general, anything above 65% is pretty darn good, and anything lower than 58% is pretty bad, especially over an extended period of time. Anything in between is generally ok, and whether its good or bad depends a lot on the specific pitcher.

Just keep in mind though, that those percentages don’t equate 1:1 with “success”.[/quote]
So what you are saying is, 66% and above is pretty darn good and 57% and lower is pretty bad, and that means that 58-65 is generally ok.

[quote=“keepitfun”]So what you are saying is, 66% and above is pretty darn good and 57% and lower is pretty bad, and that means that 58-65 is generally ok.

How so? There’s a range that generally means a pitcher CAN have “success”. Above that number almost always means he WILL have success, and below that always means he WON’T. But none of them is a guarantee of anything because each pitcher is different in what he throws, the style with which he throws them, and his ability to execute what he’s attempting to do.

FI, a pitcher who generally would be considered a “power” pitcher might have a lot of success at 58%, where a “finesse” pitcher at the same percentage might get bashed all over the place. So in order to have the same “success”, they’re strike percentages could be at very different places. And the team behind the pitcher makes a big difference as well. Throwing a lot of strikes generally means pitching to a lot of contact. That’s a great idea if the defense is a solid one, but not so much if it isn’t.

People often put too much stock in a number meaning the same thing to everyone, but in reality it doesn’t happen that way.

I’m always amazed at how many people think 65% is only a “good” number, when even ML pitchers who have that as a percentage are considered some of the best.

I don’t think there can ever be too high a strike percentage. I think a lot of folks confuse strike percentage with percentage of pitches in the strike zone, and many times they’re very different things. However, I do believe its possible to throw pitches in the strike zone that can and do get pitchers in trouble.

FI, throwing a 1st pitch 98MPH FB right down the middle will likely not produce a lot of problems, but throwing 3 or 4 in a row would sure give a good hitter a heck of an advantage. The trick isn’t where it is, but more where it is in relation to the last pitch. ;)[/quote]

This is what I mean

I haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. Could you please explain, using more than a few words coupled with a quote given with no context?

Above 70% I think can be a bad thing especially if the pitcher isn’t overpowering. If a pitcher can blow fastballs by hitters then the more the better.

Assuming a pitcher that is above average but not overpowering 70%+ can be probelmatic for a couple reasons. First if a pitcher is throwing that many strikes a significan number will likely be over the center of the plate and that will spell trouble. Second the other team can start zonining in because they know they are going to get strikes. Case in point on my son’s 16U team they had a pitcher who throws pretty good (mid 70’s) threw about 60 pitches and 45 for strikes. He gave up 8 runs in two innings. He started off ok by striking out the first two then started getting rocked.

If a pitcher can throw 70%+ strikes then I would encourage him to start trying to hit corners and that will decrease the strike % and increase the number of weakly hit balls. Having command both inside and outside the strike zone is very important and throwing a few balls will also keep the hitters off balance.

dave,

I know that’s standard thinking, but if you look at it real hard and think a lot about it, I believe some things will come to light that might make you rethink what you’re saying, or at least might make you change the points at which you think trouble might happen.

Let’s go overboard a bit and try to imagine the impossible, a pitcher who never misses the strike zone. At least one positive is gonna be, he’ll never walk or hit anyone.

Now you’re correct that because every pitch would be in the strike zone, more would likely be over the center of the plate, but does that guarantee trouble? Well it would if every pitch were in the center of the plate, but there’s nothing that would indicate that happening.

Here’s a good way to get an idea about what might happen. Didja ever watch a live pitching BP? Keeping in mind that the object of BP is to throw the ball in the middle of the strike zone, how many of those pitches would be turned into hits with a decent defense in the field? Now toss in that BP pitchers are moving the ball around on purpose, throwing pitches different speeds with different rotations.

A hitter would NEVER see a hitter’s count, therefore he’d always be in a defensive mode because he’d always be behind in the count if the 1st pitch didn’t get put into play. And think about this. If neither of the 1st 2 pitches got put into play, he’d ALWAYS be 0-2, and knowing that if he doesn’t hit that nest pitch he’s gonna be out unless the catcher drops it.

Back to reality, you can’t extrapolate every outcome based on what you boy’s team did to 1 pitcher who threw 75% strikes. Did all 8 runs come off of clean hits, with no errors, BB’s or HBPs?

I know conventional thinking is that balls not in the center of the strike zone will only be hit weakly, but that’s a misconception that’s blown way out of proportion to the truth. Pitches not just on the very edges of the zone regularly get crushed, but so do pitches that shouldn’t even have been swung at because they were so far off the zone. Does that happen as often as if the pitch is in the middle of the zone? Heck no! But not because it can’t. Rather, its because there’s not many of those pitches swung at.

All in all, what I said earlier I stand behind, and its backed up by numbers in many different ways. Pitchers who throw a higher percentage of strikes TEND to have more success than those that don’t.

I disagree with the premise if a pitcher threw 100% strikes he would always be in a pitchers count and therefore defensive. If a hitter knows he is getting a strike he doesn’t have to make a decision of whether to swing or not.

My main premis is that if a pitcher consistently throws 75% strikes unless there is a lot of movement and changing speeds, hitters will hone in on that and start hitting him. Hitting is also contagious and others will also. I would recommend that a pitcher that throws that many strikes really start focusing in on spotting pitches and being able to throw pitches on the black or just off the plate which will be difficult to hit and just might be called a strike anyway. The goal is to throw 2/3+ quality pitches not just strikes.

dave,

Its good that you disagree, but it doesn’t mean your premise is correct.

Let’s begin with this. I disagree with the premise if a pitcher threw 100% strikes he would always be in a pitchers count and therefore defensive.

I never said a pitcher would always be in a pitcher’s count! I said a hitter would NEVER see a hitter’s count. IOW, the count could be even, but the pitcher would NEVER be behind.

Now let’s look at this. If a hitter knows he is getting a strike he doesn’t have to make a decision of whether to swing or not.

True. But so what? He still has to be able to read the pitch and put the bat where it needs to be. The way things normally are, hitters can afford not to swing at even close pitches because there’s good chance that the pitch won’t be a strike. If for sure it would be a strike, the hitter would eventually be forced to swing at pitches that didn’t give the best odds for making good contact.

My main premis is that if a pitcher consistently throws 75% strikes unless there is a lot of movement and changing speeds, hitters will hone in on that and start hitting him.

Almost every pitcher is taught to do that now. Why would it change? No pitcher worth the powder to blow him to the Devil tries to throw balls! The object it to try to make the batter either miss or not connect solidly if he swings, or to get the umpire to call a strike if he doesn’t. I don’t understand why throwing a high percentage of strikes would change that.

Hitting is also contagious and others will also. While it’s a great sound byte, there is absolutely no proof of that. It’s a perception to be sure, but perception and fact aren’t the same thing. Here’s our team’s pitchers and hitters for the last 5 years, and shows what hits followed. http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/4dave.pdf

I don’t claim that to be the case for ALL HS players everywhere, for every game, but it at least gives an idea about what really happens.

I would recommend that a pitcher that throws that many strikes really start focusing in on spotting pitches and being able to throw pitches on the black or just off the plate which will be difficult to hit and just might be called a strike anyway.

Why would you only recommend that to pitchers who throw a lot of strikes?

The goal is to throw 2/3+ quality pitches not just strikes.

What gives you the idea that I was endorsing just laying the ball in there like it was BP, just to get a higher strike percentage. I’m sorry, but if I was a pitcher, my GOAL would be to throw 100% quality pitches.

Great exchange dave! It makes me think, and that’s always a good thing.

Hey scorekeeper

Why is it that your opinion is the only one that ever matters or that you are always right and everyone else is wrong.
You spoil more threads on this site than anyone I’ve seen.
I thought a forum was for open minded discussions, not shove it down your throat opinions.
I’ve noticed you have your own website, why dont you use that for your one sided discussions.

keepitfun

I’ve never stopped anyone from expressing their opinion, but opinion’s aren’t facts, and if they can’t stand challenge, they’re not even good opinions. Are you angry because I challenged your opinion? You jumped in and told me I contradicted myself, and I tried to explain my thinking. When you replied with some kind of cryptic thing I didn’t understand, I said I didn’t understand and asked for further explanation, and the next thing from you is this post accusing me basically of not being willing to allow anyone else’s an opinion, and say I “spoil” threads.

If you’ve looked at my website, you should have noticed that its purpose is not to express anyone’s opinion. It purely there to provide information about the HS team I score for.

Don’t assume that when someone challenges someone else, they don’t respect that person. I assure you I respect you , but its pretty obvious its not reciprocated.