Which is worse?

Which is worse for a pitcher and better for a hitter, a 2-0 count, or any 3 ball count?

As a hitter I’ve always despised full counts, it makes it more difficult to decide whether to swing or not, because you’re always taught to swing at anything close with two strikes but you’ve got to be disciplined with 3 balls because another ball gets you on base.

A 3-0 or 3-1 count and you’ll almost certainly get a fastball because most pitchers can’t throw anything else for strikes consistently and just don’t want to walk you and you can wait for a pitch in any location you want, so I like those better than 2-0 counts.

Obviously the 2-0 count is still an advantage and you’ll still likely get a fastball. But it is more likely that a pitcher tries to get you with an off-speed pitch. As a pitcher I’ve never had a problem with 2-0 counts because I can usually throw an off-speed pitch that looks good enough to swing at and get an out on one swing instead of letting him work the count.

3-2 I think sucks more for the batter.
3-0 or 3-1 are definitely hitters counts.
2-0 is still a hitters count but for a good pitcher they can get a quick out.

Are you looking statistically or just how it’s perceived from the Pitcher’s perspective?

The reason I asked, was because lately the 2 announcers doing the Indians games, have gotten fixated on how many times pitchers have started 2-0. For many years, and I daresay even now in most of the baseball world, one of the main things focused on was 1st pitch strikes.

The reasons for that are pretty simple. If the FPS is a BIP, that’s a good thing. Either the batter was out, which is a very good thing, or the batter get on, which has both good and bad points. A bad point is of course that he’s on, but a good point is, it happened on 1 pitch rather than making the pitcher waste energy on more pitches. If the 1st pitch is some other kind of strike, called, fouled, or swung at and missed, it puts the batter on the defensive, even if its just slightly, and opens up all kinds of options for the pitcher.

Now if the 1st pitch is a ball, a lot of things switch toward the pitcher having to get defensive. Of course the worst is a ball that’s an HBP, but a called ball can be pretty bad as well for the pitcher.Knowing all that, anyone can look at what goes on statistically, but you’d have to be very careful not to confuse umpire/scoreboard counts with “real” counts.

Looking at it from a pitcher or hitter’s perspective is something very different, because there’s really no way to know for sure what’s in someone’s mind. Anyone can say what they THINK should be in a pitcher or hitter’s mind, but its unlikely they’d be able to be correct in every instance for every pitcher. I think that’s part of the difference between a pitcher or hitter who’s successful and one that isn’t. Little things like a pitcher or hitter getting pi$$ed because he thinks a call was missed can affect what takes place. There a way to handle such things mentally that’s positive, and a way that’s negative, and I believe the way that’s done is very important.

Well said SK

While this doesn’t necessarily answer the question, the first 3 pitches to me are the most important. Getting to 1-2 (or better) should be the goal. The difference between 1-2 and 2-1 is staggering with regards to the hitter’s performance.

That’s why sequences of pitches should be mapped out based on the types of hitters, # of times through the order, and the results of the earlier pitches in the PA.

[quote=“kyleb”]While this doesn’t necessarily answer the question, the first 3 pitches to me are the most important. Getting to 1-2 (or better) should be the goal. The difference between 1-2 and 2-1 is staggering with regards to the hitter’s performance.

That’s why sequences of pitches should be mapped out based on the types of hitters, # of times through the order, and the results of the earlier pitches in the PA.[/quote]

With enough data points, anything could be chosen as the most important, but looking at it as to which pitch is “most” important once you get beyond the 1st pitch is really trying to pick the tiniest nit possible. Its not that its invalid, its that it’s a tremendous amount of data to sift through, analyze, and draw conclusions from in the 15-30 seconds between pitches during a game. Then throwing in the ability of the pitcher to actually execute what he’s trying to do while hoping the batter won’t, only makes the whole process more difficult. IOW, it ain’t as easy as it sounds. :wink:

Over the years I’ve looked for things in my data that show some kind of predictability, and I use that in making my judgments about various players. In looking at just the 1st pitch and what might come after,
I’ve found that there are only 2 things I’m willing to count on as predictable, K’s and BBs. The following links show what happened last season for our batters and pitchers.

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/batting12.pdf and do a find on KTAB
http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/pitching12a.pdf and another find on KTAB

It’s a pretty safe bet that if a batter walks, the 1st pitch was a ball, and if he Ks the 1st pitch was a strike. So to me, all other things aside, I want my pitchers throwing 1st pitch strikes because it may well be the deciding pitch in whether or not the result of the PA is something positive or negative.

I would not invite either to the dinner table…My incredible pitching coach was talking to me one day about certain aspects of strategic pitching, and he mentioned several salient points. First: figure out what the batter is looking for, and DON’T GIVE IT TO HIM! There are things to look for that might indicate that the batter is either sitting on a fast ball or looking for a particular other pitch, and pitchers need to have this information so they’ll know how to proceed. Second: your first pitch must be strike one. It might be a fast ball, or it might be an offspeed or breaking pitch: since I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of I would start off with the latter. Third: move the ball around, high, low, inside, outside, work the corners, CHANGE SPEEDS—and stay away from the middle of the plate unless you have a 97-plus piece of cheese. However you do it, get that first pitch in there for strike one and you’re ahead in the count. Which will make it easier to get strike two. And then maybe strike three? Ahhh…'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. :slight_smile: