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Does keeping the ball "down" really induce more groundballs?


Redgrape

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I've read and listened to analysts speak about how a pitcher, "Needs to keep the ball down" in order to induce more groundballs and/or less homeruns. I've kind of felt like this was b.s., and I came across this article that supports my claim (kind of).

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/why-do-sinking-fastballs-cause-groundballs/

The article is about sinking fastballs. But if you look at the data, although lower balls down the middle did create more ground balls than higher balls, it seems like the more important thing is keeping the ball away. Pitches away from the hitter created significantly more ground balls than pitchers in on the hitter. And the interesting thing is in this data balls belt high and away actually created more grounders than low and away, again supporting the theory that pitching away is better for inducing groundballs.

Although this data isn't perfect, I'm surprised that most people still believe the "keep it down" philosophy when it may not hold water.

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I could be incorrect but I believe inducing grounders requires getting the hitter to swing over the top of the ball. One reason why outside pitches might create more grounders is that the hitters are reaching for the ball, and if they're trying to pull rather than making the adjustment to go the other way, they will probably swing over the top of the ball.

(I haven't read the article yet, so if it says something like that I apologize ;) )

I do think that theoretically you can pitch up and get grounders, but you have to get the hitter to think the ball is going to be even higher than it is, but it's difficult to do.

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I could be incorrect but I believe inducing grounders requires getting the hitter to swing over the top of the ball. One reason why outside pitches might create more grounders is that the hitters are reaching for the ball, and if they're trying to pull rather than making the adjustment to go the other way, they will probably swing over the top of the ball.

(I haven't read the article yet, so if it says something like that I apologize ;) )

I do think that theoretically you can pitch up and get grounders, but you have to get the hitter to think the ball is going to be even higher than it is, but it's difficult to do.

The action of "rolling over" a pitch (your top hand rotating over your lead hand after you reach extension) lifts the barrel slightly off its plane, which leads to contact higher on the ball than the aimed plane would otherwise produce. That's what causes the weak groundballs to the pull side on outside pitches. This happens when the batter makes contact out in front of the plate on an outside pitch -- the contat occurs later in the swing than it should, and often times after the wrists roll.

When you hear about someone capable of driving the ball the opposite way, they are allowing the ball "to travel", which shortens the distance between barrel and ball and allows the hitter to make contact prior to achieving full extension. It produces harder contact while the barrel is still accelerating. The angle of impact pushes the ball to the opposite field because contact is made behind the hitter.

The opposite is true on inside pitches, with the batter "turning on it" when he is able to get the barrel to contact out in front of the plate, and "jammed" when the barrel doesn't get there (often producing soft contact the other way).

To the opening post, pitch location is not as important as pitch plane. Groundballs are produced when the plan of the bat and the plane of the ball match up such that contact is made on the upper half of the ball. The ability to throw at a downward angle makes it more difficult for the batter to "match planes", which is what keeps the barrel in the zone for the maximum amount of time and leads to the hardest amount of contact.

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The action of "rolling over" a pitch (your top hand rotating over your lead hand after you reach extension) lifts the barrel slightly off its plane, which leads to contact higher on the ball than the aimed plane would otherwise produce. That's what causes the weak groundballs to the pull side on outside pitches. This happens when the batter makes contact out in front of the plate on an outside pitch -- the contat occurs later in the swing than it should, and often times after the wrists roll.

When you hear about someone capable of driving the ball the opposite way, they are allowing the ball "to travel", which shortens the distance between barrel and ball and allows the hitter to make contact prior to achieving full extension. It produces harder contact while the barrel is still accelerating. The angle of impact pushes the ball to the opposite field because contact is made behind the hitter.

The opposite is true on inside pitches, with the batter "turning on it" when he is able to get the barrel to contact out in front of the plate, and "jammed" when the barrel doesn't get there (often producing soft contact the other way).

To the opening post, pitch location is not as important as pitch plane. Groundballs are produced when the plan of the bat and the plane of the ball match up such that contact is made on the upper half of the ball. The ability to throw at a downward angle makes it more difficult for the batter to "match planes", which is what keeps the barrel in the zone for the maximum amount of time and leads to the hardest amount of contact.

Nerd.

:D

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The action of "rolling over" a pitch (your top hand rotating over your lead hand after you reach extension) lifts the barrel slightly off its plane, which leads to contact higher on the ball than the aimed plane would otherwise produce. That's what causes the weak groundballs to the pull side on outside pitches. This happens when the batter makes contact out in front of the plate on an outside pitch -- the contat occurs later in the swing than it should, and often times after the wrists roll.

When you hear about someone capable of driving the ball the opposite way, they are allowing the ball "to travel", which shortens the distance between barrel and ball and allows the hitter to make contact prior to achieving full extension. It produces harder contact while the barrel is still accelerating. The angle of impact pushes the ball to the opposite field because contact is made behind the hitter.

The opposite is true on inside pitches, with the batter "turning on it" when he is able to get the barrel to contact out in front of the plate, and "jammed" when the barrel doesn't get there (often producing soft contact the other way).

To the opening post, pitch location is not as important as pitch plane. Groundballs are produced when the plan of the bat and the plane of the ball match up such that contact is made on the upper half of the ball. The ability to throw at a downward angle makes it more difficult for the batter to "match planes", which is what keeps the barrel in the zone for the maximum amount of time and leads to the hardest amount of contact.

Excellent post. My point, however, was that it seems most people in baseball think the act of just throwing the ball in the low part of the zone is going to induce the most groundballs, which doesn't seem to be the case.

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Excellent post. My point, however, was that it seems most people in baseball think the act of just throwing the ball in the low part of the zone is going to induce the most groundballs, which doesn't seem to be the case.

You are correct. It is much more pitch plane than it is pitch location.

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