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Fangraphs: Game Theory and 0-2 Meatballs


Can_of_corn

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http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/game-theory-0-2-meatballs-and-you/

It?s Game Theory, I guess, but Arneson lays out four simple criteria for pitchers as they make pitch decisions:

Choose a pitch the batter is likely to predict incorrectly

Choose a pitch the pitcher is likely to throw with good speed, location, and movement

Choose a pitch which will result in a suboptimal swing path, resulting either in a miss or weak contact

Choose a pitch which, if not put in play, worsens the batter?s Prediction State for the next pitch

One thing I observed made me think of the checklist above: both pitchers were able to freeze batters with 0-2 fastballs. Rather than waste pitches, these fastballs were seemingly thrown right down Main Street, middle/middle, over the heart of the plate.
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It’s an appealing option but runs counter what others in the game say: a good fastball is your best pitch. The potential for making a mistake and presenting the hitter with a more hittable option remains very real, which introduces some downside to the “keep’em guessing” model of pitching.

It's why Ubaldo has value.

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Choose a pitch the batter is likely to predict incorrectly

Choose a pitch the pitcher is likely to throw with good speed, location, and movement

Choose a pitch which will result in a suboptimal swing path, resulting either in a miss or weak contact

Choose a pitch which, if not put in play, worsens the batter?s Prediction State for the next pitch

Maybe especially on 0-2, but that's a good list in any count.

Chose a pitch and throw it with conviction.

And then this.

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