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View Full Version : Chase Headley on hitting



M2
03-13-2008, 01:43 AM
"I think the strikeout is one of the most overrated stats in baseball,Ē Headley said. "Itís an out just like anything else. You can pretty much tell how Iím hitting by the counts. If somebody is on base, Iím trying to do some damage. But if thereís nobody on base, I like to see some pitches.Ē

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=800

I love unflappable hitters. He's tearing it up this spring and it's looking like he'll be the starting 3B in San Diego.

WMR
03-13-2008, 01:50 AM
Dusty just popped a blood vessel.

KronoRed
03-13-2008, 01:53 AM
He's not a "winner"

Patrick Bateman
03-13-2008, 02:16 AM
He's a good fit for their park too. Headley's on base skills should play out fine in Petco. Getting on base via the walk primarily, but he also doesn't need the long ball to be an effctive hitter. More of a line drive type of guy. So I think Petco will have less of an effect on him than it would say Kevin Kouzmanoff who needs homers and power to be an effective use of a line-up slot.

It's always refreshing to hear a guy like that who has his head on straight when it comes to hitting. Much like Brian Bannister, it sure makes a guy like Headley easy to root for when he has a clear understanding of what needs to be done to be an effective player. Joey Votto is a good example of that too.

cincinnati chili
03-13-2008, 02:50 AM
He's a good fit for their park too. Headley's on base skills should play out fine in Petco. Getting on base via the walk primarily, but he also doesn't need the long ball to be an effctive hitter. More of a line drive type of guy. So I think Petco will have less of an effect on him than it would say Kevin Kouzmanoff who needs homers and power to be an effective use of a line-up slot.



I dunno. I love Headley and Kouzmanoff, but has ANYBODY hit particularly well in that park? Look at the splits of some of the Padres better hitters over the last few years. They do their damage on the road.

Ravenlord
03-13-2008, 03:05 AM
wonder how long it will be before we hear someone say he's a selfish player?

Steve4192
03-13-2008, 08:23 AM
Baseclogger IMO

lollipopcurve
03-13-2008, 08:26 AM
If somebody is on base, I’m trying to do some damage.

Uhh, as in "I'm up there hacking at the first good pitch I see."

That IS what Baker is talking about when he talks about what should be going on in the middle of the order.

Benihana
03-13-2008, 11:30 AM
If he's gonna start at 3B, is Kouzmanoff on the bench?

RedsManRick
03-13-2008, 11:41 AM
One of Headley and Kouz is moving to LF. Not sure which.

princeton
03-13-2008, 11:44 AM
wasn't he in Blazing Saddles?

Chip R
03-13-2008, 11:51 AM
wasn't he in Blazing Saddles?


That's Hedley.

http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/b/b0/300px-Godothatvoodoo.jpg

M2
03-13-2008, 12:02 PM
One of Headley and Kouz is moving to LF. Not sure which.

Kouz, supposedly Headley can play some defense at 3B.

Patrick Bateman
03-13-2008, 12:08 PM
I dunno. I love Headley and Kouzmanoff, but has ANYBODY hit particularly well in that park? Look at the splits of some of the Padres better hitters over the last few years. They do their damage on the road.

I didn't say that he wouldn't be negatively affected, I basically said he is more immune than other guys... partly because his biggest strength IMO, is walking, which remains independant from his home park. Obviously any guys' power will be sapped, but Headley should still be able to produce in other ways and be an effective hitter considering Petco's standards.

PuffyPig
03-13-2008, 02:15 PM
Strikeouts overrated?

Well yes, if you are comparing strikeouts to other outs, there's little diffence.

But with what everyone knows about BABIP, putting more balls into play will increase your hits. You just don't want to do so at the expense of decreasing your power or accepting fewer walks.

RedsManRick
03-13-2008, 02:56 PM
Strikeouts overrated?

Well yes, if you are comparing strikeouts to other outs, there's little diffence.

But with what everyone knows about BABIP, putting more balls into play will increase your hits. You just don't want to do so at the expense of decreasing your power or accepting fewer walks.

Generally agree. But there were 25+ times last year where I sure wish Phillips would've struck out.

M2
03-13-2008, 04:29 PM
But with what everyone knows about BABIP, putting more balls into play will increase your hits. You just don't want to do so at the expense of decreasing your power or accepting fewer walks.

That's not what we know about BABIP. Hitters can be all over the place with BABIP. If you make effective contact and have good pitch selection, you can be up above .300. If you're Juan Castro then you make a lot of contact, but only get a .262 BABIP out of it.

So it's entirely likely that in an effort to make more contact, you'd get fewer hits because you were putting too many lazy balls in play.

REDREAD
03-14-2008, 04:02 PM
So it's entirely likely that in an effort to make more contact, you'd get fewer hits because you were putting too many lazy balls in play.

Which is why I totally disagree with the whole BABIP and luck theory in regards to pitchers.

Some pitchers are just plain bad. The strikes they throw are very hittable, thus hitters get good hacks at them.

I agree that good fielding can reduce BABIP, but that factor seems to be overlooked in many of these discussions.. and the conclusion is that the only skill out a pitcher can get is a strikeout.. Which ignores pitchers like Rivera that have made a living off of throwing pitches that are almost impossible to get good contact on.

I do agree with you, that going up there, trying to make any contact and hoping the BABIP gods bless you is not a winning formula. I've never heard any good hitter espouse that theory.

I can see the logic of a pitcher that has three balls in the count throwing a pitch that he is confident he can throw for strikes to avoid the walk, even if that means the hitter has a better chance of hitting it, because a fielder might bail him out, whereas there's no defense against the walk.

M2
03-14-2008, 04:14 PM
I'd say that if you're an awful pitcher (e.g. Phil Dumatrait), then you should suffer a high BABIP. Yet if you're generally of major league quality then the law of large numbers takes over.

Steve4192
03-14-2008, 04:34 PM
I'd say that if you're an awful pitcher (e.g. Phil Dumatrait), then you should suffer a high BABIP.

You have to remember though that truly awful pitchers allow a lot more balls to be put in play, vastly increasing the denominator in the BABIP calculation.

RedsManRick
03-14-2008, 04:41 PM
Which is why I totally disagree with the whole BABIP and luck theory in regards to pitchers.

Some pitchers are just plain bad. The strikes they throw are very hittable, thus hitters get good hacks at them.

I agree that good fielding can reduce BABIP, but that factor seems to be overlooked in many of these discussions.. and the conclusion is that the only skill out a pitcher can get is a strikeout.. Which ignores pitchers like Rivera that have made a living off of throwing pitches that are almost impossible to get good contact on.

I do agree with you, that going up there, trying to make any contact and hoping the BABIP gods bless you is not a winning formula. I've never heard any good hitter espouse that theory.

I can see the logic of a pitcher that has three balls in the count throwing a pitch that he is confident he can throw for strikes to avoid the walk, even if that means the hitter has a better chance of hitting it, because a fielder might bail him out, whereas there's no defense against the walk.

This is a misconception. Yes pitchers DO have the ability to control their BABIP. It's just that it isn't very useful because it's so hard to tell whether the observed BABIP is a result of actual pitcher ability, or just random variation.

Short Version:
- BABIP is noisy (much of it's variation is not due to actual pitcher ability) due to all of the influences on it
- K/9, BB/9, HR/9 are much less noisy due to a relative small number of influences
- The nosier a variable is, the bigger the sample you need to get an accurate measure of the underlying ability it represents. The sample size of a season is big enough for the 3 rate stats such that it tracks pretty well year to year for a given pitcher. A single season is not a big enough sample size for BABIP -- it jumps all over the place for a given pitcher from one year to the next.
- Over the long run, K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 can account for the vast majority of pitcher performance.

Thus, BABIP is only marginally useful for determining actual pitcher skill (and often misleading), and even then, only after you aggregate a lot of seasons -- by which point that pitcher's skill may have changed relative to how well he currently pitches.

Long Version:

Given the population of pitchers who are good enough to have success in the major leagues, the differences between them in their BABIP is quite small relative to the variation in a given year from those same pitchers. The "natural" fluctuation of BABIP from year to year is just much bigger than the actual skill differences between pitchers. This means that given a single season of BABIP, or even multiple seasons of BABIP, it's nearly impossible to tell how much of the observed variation is due to the skill of the pitcher to get sustainable worse contact and how was just the result of things beyond his control such as defense and random variation.

We often see a guy put up a .260 BABIP season, which is many standard deviations away from his career value. Imagine if next year, Matt Belisle struck out 10 guys per 9 innings -- a level of performance associated with a small handful of starters throughout major league history. Imagine the next year he came back down to 6 per 9. That just doesn't happen. K/9 is much steadier. But it happens with BABIP all the time.

The reason stats like BB/9, K/9, and HR/9 vary much less than BABIP, because there are fewer influences on them. There's no defense involved and they are very cut and dry. While there are many flavors of hits, a walk is a walk and a K is a K for the purpose of the metric. This makes these things much more stable from year to year, and thus much better indications of the pitcher's ability.

HR/9 is interesting. The reality is that if a guy can control his line drive rate, that's going to show up in his home run rate and strikeout rate. HR tend to be a product of easy to hit balls and strikeouts the product of hard to hits ones. So once you control for his strikeouts and his homers, you've already accounted for a lot of the underlying skill which results in BABIP control -- but you measure it more accurately because you don't bring the defense in to the equation.

Mariano Rivera is a perfect example of why we don't really need to use BABIP control as a measure of the pitcher, even if it is "within his control". Rivera has one of the lowest career BABIP marks of all-time at .279. Look at his K/9, BB/9 and HR/9. He's got a high K/9, a low BB/9, and a historically low HR/9. But he's had BABIP seasons ranging from .223 to .335. Oddly enough, he actually pitched better in the .335 season. It's just that in the course of a single season, the random variation of batted ball types and the impact of his defense overshadowed how well he was pitching. Over time, that BABIP regressed to reflect his true ability, but in any given year, it was a pretty poor indicator.

Lastly, even if your BABIP is mediocre, like Randy Johnson's, an extreme ability to miss bats or avoid walks can still add up to an effective pitcher.

So to summarize, yes, pitchers do "control" their BABIP. However, because BABIP captures a lot more information than how well the guy actually is pitching, it's a lot noisier and requires a much, much bigger sample before we can tell where the pitcher's ability lies. A single season's worth of BABIP is virtually worthless in telling us how good the pitcher is and will be in the future. And because, in the long run, the variance in pitcher's ability to control contact quality is smaller the differences in their ability to strike guys out, avoid walks, and avoid homers, it simply isn't a very good metric to measure the true skill of a pitcher.

M2
03-14-2008, 05:01 PM
You have to remember though that truly awful pitchers allow a lot more balls to be put in play, vastly increasing the denominator in the BABIP calculation.

Yes, though no one lets them pitch all that much so it's hard for them to wag the dog (I'm distinguishing between bad and awful here - rough fault line 6.00 ERA).