Continuing the Discussion on Pitching to Contact

In my article last week, I discussed the fallacies that exist behind the concept of pitching to contact.  A couple of days later, IIATMS newcomer, the Sporting Hippeaux, used swing rates to explain why pitchers like Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee were able to not only survive, but also excel despite their average to below average contact rates.  While it’s an incredibly compelling argument, I couldn’t help but wonder if the two pitchers he chose were merely outliers rather than the norm.  Surely, his hypothesis makes logical sense, but frequently what seems logical isn’t always logical in practice.  As a result, I decided to dig a little deeper.

Just to get us started, I’m first going to take a look at the top and bottom ten pitchers in Swing %.  In order to keep things consistent, I’ll use the same sample covering the 2006 to 2010 seasons, using only pitchers that pitched at least 700 innings.  Also, I’ll use the chart the same stats as before, but instead of tracking xFIP, I’ll instead track fWAR.*

* A hat tip to the Sporting Hippeaux for pointing out my glaring omission last week.  Somewhere @SI_JonHymen is smiling at my use of the phrase “hat tip.”

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Continuing the Discussion on Pitching to Contact

Weekend Round-Up – 4/24/2011

Good morning, and a Happy Easter to all of those who celebrate.  I’ve expanded my link-around yet again.  Yes, I’m constantly tinkering, but I’m hoping this is the last one for a while.  I think the new format makes the round-up more complete and easier to read.  (If you disagree, please tell me.)  I may add a few more sites down the road (and if you have any suggestions, please let me know), but for now, I think this might be one of the most complete on the web.

Dig in, and enjoy.

Tales from around the Yankee Blogosphere:

Tales from around the Red Sox Blogosphere:

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Weekend Round-Up – 4/24/2011

When Will They Ever Learn?

On Wednesday, Brien asked a rather pertinent question, “Why would you ever pitch to contact?” It’s one I’ve asked myself numerous times. To date, I’ve yet to come up with a reasonable answer to justify the supporting this concept. (Obviously, neither has Brien.) Believe me, I’ve tried. From a logical standpoint, it doesn’t make any sense—but more on that in a minute.

In Sunday’s New York Daily News, Bill Madden championed the illogical concept once again. This time, he uses Freddy Garcia’s start on Sunday as his “proof.”

“But on another miserable cold and damp afternoon at Yankee Stadium, the day after another abbreviated pratfall by Ivan Nova and the dispatching of Phil Hughes to the disabled list with a “dead arm,” Garcia, who had not started in 18 days, stepped into the void and turned in a gem against the powerful Texas Rangers Saturday. He allowed no runs, two hits and one walk in a tidy 84 pitches over six innings, and suddenly there was a ray of sunshine for a Yankee rotation back in shambles.

One can only hope Hughes and Nova were watching carefully as Garcia put on a pitching clinic on how to subdue quality hitters, over and over again, without the benefit of a 90-plus mph fastball. The stocky righty threw an even mix of 25 fastballs and 24 changeups, sprinkling in assorted splits and sliders – five different pitches in all, according to him – in breezing to his first win as a Yankee. There is reason to believe there will be many more, which would be a welcome relief for the beleaguered Cashman, embarrassed as he is by the failures of his homegrown starters along with the Pedro Feliciano signing fiasco.

Wow. There are so many things wrong with that segment that I’m even not sure where to begin. Still, I’ll give it the old college try.

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Continue reading When Will They Ever Learn?

Weekend Round-Up – 4/17/2011

Happy Sunday everyone! Here’s a quick and dirty rundown of this week’s links.

Around the Yankee blogosphere:

Around the Red Sox blogosphere:

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Weekend Round-Up – 4/17/2011

Weekend Round-Up – 4/10/2011

The Weekend Round-Up returns after being off for the past couple of Sundays! There are a ton of really great links from the past week, so let’s dive right in.

Around the Yankee blogosphere:

Around the Red Sox blogosphere:

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Weekend Round-Up – 4/10/2011

Projecting the Yankees – Part 4: The Bullpen

As much as I’d love to breakdown and project every Yankee player in the manner I did for Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira (and seriously, I would), I neither have the time, nor the energy to do so before the start of the season. Instead, over the next two weeks, I’ll be doing a four-part series where I share my thoughts and projections for most players on the Yankees projected 25-man roster. Here’s how the series will play out.

Part 1 – The Infield/Catcher

Part 2 – The Outfield/Designated Hitter

Part 3 – The Starting Rotation

Part 4 – The Bullpen

The projection system I’m using is one I created during the 2010 DC Snowpocalypse for the sole purpose of identifying undervalued players for one of my fantasy baseball drafts.* While I’ll be the first to admit there are revisions and refinements that still need to be made to the system, it does a pretty good job of identifying a player’s true talent level. Additionally, for reference, I’ve included projections from Marcel and Bill James (available freely through Fangraphs), so you can make appropriate comparisons.

* Yes, I was channeling my inner Billy Beane. Then again, what do you expect from a guy whose IIATMS screen name and original blog was titled “Billy Beane is my Hero.” To make a long story short, I breezed to a first place finish in my league before biting it in the playoffs in typical Moneyball fashion. It was irony in its purest form.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Projecting the Yankees – Part 4: The Bullpen

Projecting the 2011 Yankees: Part 3 – The Starting Rotation

As much as I’d love to breakdown and project every Yankee player in the manner I did for Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira (and seriously, I would), I neither have the time, nor the energy to do so before the start of the season. Instead, over the next two weeks, I’ll be doing a four-part series where I share my thoughts and projections for most players on the Yankees projected 25-man roster. Here’s how the series will play out.

Part 1 – The Infield/Catcher

Part 2 – The Outfield/Designated Hitter

Part 3 – The Starting Rotation

Part 4 – The Bullpen

The projection system I’m using is one I created during the 2010 DC Snowpocalypse for the sole purpose of identifying undervalued players for one of my fantasy baseball drafts.* While I’ll be the first to admit there are revisions and refinements that still need to be made to the system, it does a pretty good job of identifying a player’s true talent level. Additionally, for reference, I’ve included projections from Marcel and Bill James (available freely through Fangraphs), so you can make appropriate comparisons.

* Yes, I was channeling my inner Billy Beane. Then again, what do you expect from a guy whose IIATMS screen name and original blog was titled “Billy Beane is my Hero.” To make a long story short, I breezed to a first place finish in my league before biting it in the playoffs in typical Moneyball fashion. It was irony in its purest form.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Projecting the 2011 Yankees: Part 3 – The Starting Rotation

Projecting the 2011 Yankees – Part 2: The Outfield

As much as I’d love to breakdown and project every Yankee player in the manner I did for Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira (and seriously, I would), I neither have the time, nor the energy to do so before the start of the season. Instead, over the next two weeks, I’ll be doing a four-part series where I share my thoughts and projections for most players on the Yankees projected 25-man roster. Here’s how the series will play out.

Part 1 – The Infield/Catcher

Part 2 – The Outfield/Designated Hitter

Part 3 – The Starting Rotation

Part 4 – The Bullpen

The projection system I’m using is one I created during the 2010 DC Snowpocalypse for the sole purpose of identifying undervalued players for one of my fantasy baseball drafts.* While I’ll be the first to admit there are revisions and refinements that still need to be made to the system, it does a pretty good job of identifying a player’s true talent level. Additionally, for reference, I’ve included projections from Marcel and Bill James (available freely through Fangraphs), so you can make appropriate comparisons.

* Yes, I was channeling my inner Billy Beane. Then again, what do you expect from a guy whose IIATMS screen name and original blog was titled “Billy Beane is my Hero.” To make a long story short, I breezed to a first place finish in my league before biting it in the playoffs in typical Moneyball fashion. It was irony in its purest form.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Projecting the 2011 Yankees – Part 2: The Outfield

Projecting the 2011 Yankees – Part 1: The Infield

As much as I’d love to breakdown and project every Yankee player in the manner I did for Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira (and seriously, I would), I neither have the time, nor the energy to do so before the start of the season. Instead, over the next two weeks, I’ll be doing a four-part series where I share my thoughts and projections for most players on the Yankees projected 25-man roster. Here’s how the series will play out.

Part 1 – The Infield/Catcher

Part 2 – The Outfield/Designated Hitter

Part 3 – The Starting Rotation

Part 4 – The Bullpen

The projection system I’m using is one I created during the 2010 DC Snowpocalypse for the sole purpose of identifying undervalued players for one of my fantasy baseball drafts.* While I’ll be the first to admit there are revisions and refinements that still need to be made to the system, it does a pretty good job of identifying a player’s true talent level. Additionally, for reference, I’ve included projections from Marcel and Bill James (available freely through Fangraphs), so you can make appropriate comparisons.

* Yes, I was channeling my inner Billy Beane. Then again, what do you expect from a guy whose IIATMS screen name and original blog was titled “Billy Beane is my Hero.” To make a long story short, I breezed to a first place finish in my league before biting it in the playoffs in typical Moneyball fashion. It was irony in its purest form.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Projecting the 2011 Yankees – Part 1: The Infield