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BP:How Does Quality of Contact Relate to BABIP?


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http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15562

This is actually part 2 part 1 is below

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15532

However, by using detailed HITf/x data provided by Sportvision from the 2008 season, I found that a major-league pitcher does not only control whether he gets ground balls or fly balls; he also has a significant degree of control over how hard the ball is hit. I used the batted ball speed in the plane of the playing field as the measure for quality of contact. I found that the best prediction for the speed of any given batted ball was influenced about 1.7 times as much by the batter?s typical batted ball speed as by the pitcher?s typical allowed batted ball speed, largely because there is wider variety in average batted ball speed among major-league batters than among major-league pitchers.

Mike Fast is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers.

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I will have to read these articles carefully when I have time, but all I can say is, I have said a zillion times that anyone who thinks that BABIP is purely a function of luck and out of the pitcher's control is crazy and doesn't actually watch baseball on a regular basis. Obviously luck plays a role, but it is a pretty minor factor in the grand scheme of things, IMO.

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http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15562

This is actually part 2 part 1 is below

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=15532

Mike Fast is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers.

found that a major-league pitcher does not only control whether he gets ground balls or fly balls; he also has a significant degree of control over how hard the ball is hit.

Interesting. The first point isn't surprisng. It's the reason why SIERA has become more prominant. That latter part seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom though.

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I will have to read these articles carefully when I have time, but all I can say is, I have said a zillion times that anyone who thinks that BABIP is purely a function of luck and out of the pitcher's control is crazy and doesn't actually watch baseball on a regular basis. Obviously luck plays a role, but it is a pretty minor factor in the grand scheme of things, IMO.

Yea, it is a lot to digest. Fast has been doing some amazing work. Wouldn't be surprised to see a team offer him a job in the near future.

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I will have to read these articles carefully when I have time, but all I can say is, I have said a zillion times that anyone who thinks that BABIP is purely a function of luck and out of the pitcher's control is crazy and doesn't actually watch baseball on a regular basis. Obviously luck plays a role, but it is a pretty minor factor in the grand scheme of things, IMO.

I get frustrated to no end with a lot of sportswriters nowadays that point to BABIP and immediately declare someone's success or failure as a result of luck.

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I will have to read these articles carefully when I have time, but all I can say is, I have said a zillion times that anyone who thinks that BABIP is purely a function of luck and out of the pitcher's control is crazy and doesn't actually watch baseball on a regular basis. Obviously luck plays a role, but it is a pretty minor factor in the grand scheme of things, IMO.

Has anyone who's studied the issue at all said BABIP was solely a function of luck, at least since about 20 minutes after McCracken's original article 10 years ago? That's pretty much a strawman at this point.

And the jury is definitely out on how much influence luck has on BABIP among MLB pitchers.

I love how one article comes out lending some nuance and shape to the DIPS discussion while posing a lot of questions, and the response even from Frobby is basically "if you think DIPS theory is right you need to get out of your mom's basement and watch some ball."

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Has anyone who's studied the issue at all said BABIP was solely a function of luck, at least since about 20 minutes after McCracken's original article 10 years ago? That's pretty much a strawman at this point.

And the jury is definitely out on how much influence luck has on BABIP among MLB pitchers.

I love how one article comes out lending some nuance and shape to the DIPS discussion while posing a lot of questions, and the response even from Frobby is basically "if you think DIPS theory is right you need to get out of your mom's basement and watch some ball."

Drungo: the universe of people who have "studied the issue at all" is a lot smaller than the universe of people who read Moneyball once and interpreted the chapter about McCracken to mean that batted ball outcomes are primarily a matter of luck, and still make that argument all the time, either directly or in discounting pitchers whose ERA exceeds their FIP or xFIP on a regular basis.

Anyway, rather than pursuing any criticism of how other people use or misuse the theory, let me just say that I am excited about the growing ability to use pitch f/x and hit f/x and soon field f/x, and how it will advance the ball. These two articles, and the recent articles analyzing catchers' abilities to block pitches and frame pitches, are some of the most interesting baseball-related analyses I've read in several years. I think we are entering a golden age of sabermetric research and that in 5-10 years the landscape will look very different than it did before.

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I found that a major-league pitcher does not only control whether he gets ground balls or fly balls; he also has a significant degree of control over how hard the ball is hit.

FINALLY! Somebody is thinking with their heads. Nothing got my blood boiling faster than the people who insisted pitchers have little to no control how hard a batter hits the ball. It just never made any sense. There is some luck that goes into BABIP just like there is "luck" in just about anything that involves sports. But pitchers who sink the ball or cut the ball can and do effect how hard batters normally hit the ball against them. Batters have a career BABIP of .262 against Mariano Rivera despite the fact the tradtional thought is a normal BABIP is .300, with anything under that being lucky and anything over unlucky. Hogwash.

Rivera's cutter is one of the hardest pitches to barrel due to it's extreme late movement. It's the same as pitchers who induce ground balls because they can sink the ball which in turn makes most batters hit the top half of the ball which send the ball towards the ground more times than not. The pitchers control all of that.

Somewhere along the line a study on BABIP superseded common sense, and hopefully the new data now will be the first step in understanding the limitations of BABIP.

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Drungo: the universe of people who have "studied the issue at all" is a lot smaller than the universe of people who read Moneyball once and interpreted the chapter about McCracken to mean that batted ball outcomes are primarily a matter of luck, and still make that argument all the time, either directly or in discounting pitchers whose ERA exceeds their FIP or xFIP on a regular basis.

Anyway, rather than pursuing any criticism of how other people use or misuse the theory, let me just say that I am excited about the growing ability to use pitch f/x and hit f/x and soon field f/x, and how it will advance the ball. These two articles, and the recent articles analyzing catchers' abilities to block pitches and frame pitches, are some of the most interesting baseball-related analyses I've read in several years. I think we are entering a golden age of sabermetric research and that in 5-10 years the landscape will look very different than it did before.

Agreed. The more data we have the better the results. I too read the catcher's article and thought it was one of the best things I've read in a long time. The next step is going to be getting these technologies like pitch f/x and hit f/x into the minor leagues and scouting will begin to get better as well. I know my evaluations have improved as I've had more and more statistical information available. If I had wFB, wCV, etc available for minor league pitchers I bet I could predict them a lot better.

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I actually didn't think the article was all that controversial. BABIP studies have been trending toward the idea of pitchers having "true mean" BABIPs that deviate slightly from .300 or whatever global mean is established. I also don't think the article is in any way definitive.

However, the use of hit f/x and the heralding of field f/x data is very exciting, and for that reason this was a fun read.

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