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