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Fivethirtyeight: Pitchers do have some control over how hard a ball is hit.


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Ran across this article today on the control a pitcher has over how hard the ball is hit. This has always made sense to me, but never really was quantified in FIP and BABIP. The article is interesting in itself, but I found it really interesting that of every pitcher in baseball, Chen has the highest suppression of batted ball velocity relative to average.

The article considers this as a consistent reason his ERA has outperformed his FIP.

Of note, Britton and O'Day also suppressed batted ball velocity, as did Ubaldo to a lesser extent. Miguel, Bud, and Tillman were all pretty significantly the other direction.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a-baseballs-exit-velocity-is-five-parts-hitter-one-part-pitcher/

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Interesting but the sample size seems very small to be publishing an article of this type.

The idea that Miguel is poor at this is fascinating given his tendency to have a below average BABIP against him.

It's interesting, but agree that the article appears to be making rather broad statements about pitchers in general without offering up a lot of supporting information. How quickly does "batted ball velocity suppression" stabilize? The data appears to be from less than 1/3rd of one season. The article states that a league-max 1.5 mph decrease equates with a 0.013 decrease in BABIP. Is that context adjusted for defense and type of ball hit? Is it the same for flyball and groundball pitchers? Is a 0.013 decrease in BABIP really worth a quarter of a run off your RA? The concept is very interesting, but I'll need a lot more background information before I accept the conclusions.

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It's interesting, but agree that the article appears to be making rather broad statements about pitchers in general without offering up a lot of supporting information. How quickly does "batted ball velocity suppression" stabilize? The data appears to be from less than 1/3rd of one season. The article states that a league-max 1.5 mph decrease equates with a 0.013 decrease in BABIP. Is that context adjusted for defense and type of ball hit? Is it the same for flyball and groundball pitchers? Is a 0.013 decrease in BABIP really worth a quarter of a run off your RA? The concept is very interesting, but I'll need a lot more background information before I accept the conclusions.

They have this new toy, and they are doing all sorts of new things with it, and they want to share.

I don't blame them but they would be better served waiting and refining their data.

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I just find it amusing that a concept that has been basic to pitching since the beginning of baseball is just now being considered as possibly valid by the numbers. The best SO pitchers rarely get more than 1/3 of their outs by K's. Are they really just lucky on the other 2/3? The question is to what extent are the other 2/3 outs due to inducing poor contact, not whether is a skill pitchers can control. They have been doing that for years. As the velo numbers from batted balls become more specific the numbers will catch up to reality.

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They have this new toy, and they are doing all sorts of new things with it, and they want to share.

I don't blame them but they would be better served waiting and refining their data.

"Some" and "outliars" were to be expected. Larger samples, further refinement of the data and/or ability to of identify the outliars would certainly be more meaningful.

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They have this new toy, and they are doing all sorts of new things with it, and they want to share.

I don't blame them but they would be better served waiting and refining their data.

I would have shared it, but been open about the many questions this leads to that they don't have answers for just yet.

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I just find it amusing that a concept that has been basic to pitching since the beginning of baseball is just now being considered as possibly valid by the numbers. The best SO pitchers rarely get more than 1/3 of their outs by K's. Are they really just lucky on the other 2/3? The question is to what extent are the other 2/3 outs due to inducing poor contact, not whether is a skill pitchers can control. They have been doing that for years. As the velo numbers from batted balls become more specific the numbers will catch up to reality.

BABIP control has been talked about as a real thing since a few months after McCracken's original article came out. But what is the magnitude and impact? It appears to be quite small, much smaller than the effect of controlling Ks, BBs, and HRs.

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BABIP control has been talked about as a real thing since a few months after McCracken's original article came out. But what is the magnitude and impact? It appears to be quite small, much smaller than the effect of controlling Ks, BBs, and HRs.

Exactly. On the far range the pitchers are currently showing an effect that is 20% the effect that elite hitters have. The article suggests the it might be worth a quarter of a run per start.

That isn't exactly what folks were suggesting before McCraken released his findings.

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BABIP control has been talked about as a real thing since a few months after McCracken's original article came out. But what is the magnitude and impact? It appears to be quite small, much smaller than the effect of controlling Ks, BBs, and HRs.
If it was as insignificant as the metrics failure to measure is, then it would have long since been abandoned. Look how much bunting and base stealing has been eschewed, since the numbers have shown it not as effective at first thought.
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If it was as insignificant as the metrics failure to measure is, then it would have long since been abandoned. Look how much bunting and base stealing has been eschewed, since the numbers have shown it not as effective at first thought.

I don't know how you would abandon BABIP suppression. It seems to be a natural outcome of pitching certain ways. Many of the same approaches that get you strikeouts and limit homers and walks will lead to some suppression of hard contact.

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