Taking too many pitches?

These are actual stats from one of the teams in a local recreation league this summer. The first number beside each name is the SO+BB number for the 17 game season. The next two numbers are the OPS and SO/AB averages.

You see that the guys who do not let the pitcher decide their fate and put the ball in play have better OPS results. This seems to be master of the obvious stuff. The two outliers were a very weak kid with a slow bat and the other was the statistician’s son. The 4 kids who strike out more than 30% of the time had an OPS range of .595 to .228. The 6 kids who struck out less than 20% of the time had OPS range of .554 to 1.026. The 3 middle kids who struck out between 20-30% of the time had an OPS range of .486 to .585.

For example, Andrew’s total number of plate appearances that ended in either a SO or BB was 8. His OPS was 1.026 and he struck out 8.1% of the time.

Andrew 8 1.026 and .081
Bob 9 .917 .088
Charlie 9 .804 .091
David 9 .554 .172—very low power, puts the ball in play a lot, but very weakly (good rec league 2 hitter)
Eric 12 .955 .121
Frank 12 .595 .333
George 15 .559 .156
Howard 16 .486 .280
Isaac 19 .545 .269
James 21 .487 .222
Ken 22 .228 .300
Larry 23 .786 .345— head coach/statistician’s son ….just saying
Mike 25 .284 .393

To me, the data shows that the kids who took a lot of pitches and therefore had more BB and SO over the course of the season had inferior offensive numbers than those who tended to put the ball in play more. Kids who walk a lot also tend to strike out a lot. The percentage of BB and SO didn’t really matter, for example, if a kid had 10 walks and 6 strike outs didn’t really have statistically higher OPS. The fact that his cumulative number was 16 spoke more about where his OPS was more likely to be.


My son was not a good hitter once he hit high school. Struck out a lot.
I told him to stop taking so many pitches. Look first pitch FB and attack it. Most guys are throwing a first pitch FB, especially if the hitter (like my son) was not a power hitter.
As he progressed in varsity ball from a sophomore to a senior he got much better at attacking early and then fouling balls off he got behind…always looking to drive something in his “window”. He was never a stellar high school hitter, but, senior year had a batting average of .354 and an on base of over .450.
The interesting thing is once he stopped trying to work counts…taking pitches to try and avoid a K…he got much better at working walks.

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And there’s the other kind—the ones who do take a lot of pitches, working the count, hoping to draw a walk, just to get on base. You’ll see a lot of them in the major leagues, the ones who want to get on base any which way they can—a walk, a hit, get hit by a pitch, run out a missed third strike, whatever, doesn’t matter whether or not they get a hit. Especially the leadoff hitters. One thing to remember: whatever you do, don’t start them off with a fastball—come in there with a breaking or offspeed pitch to begin, and go for strike one. You have a good chance of getting them out!

I find this very interesting. I beleive it may be because the better hitters are more aggressive, not that being more aggressive makes you one of the best hitters, even though I believe it helps you out (not sure if that makes sense). The lesser hitters at that level may try to work the count to get on base, which will ultimately lead to more strikeouts and walks. For me personally, I love hitting the first pitch. One coach tried getting me to work the count, and I wasn’t having the same results. Another friend of mine was 6,7+ pitch at bats almost every time, and has a lot of success. But coming from a pitching standpoint, it makes you think more and more that you can’t just lay one in there first pitch everytime.