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Thread: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

  1. #16
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    There's absolutely no evidence that suggests the overcaution of pitchers has led to healthier pitchers. In fact, there might be more trips to the DL now than 30 years ago.
    I don't think there is overcaution, but rather smart caution and it keeps good pitchers throwing at peak effectiveness more often. Today, teams are more likely to put a pitcher on the DL if he has pain or soreness than they used to be. They used to have guys pitch hurt all the time. Eventually they realized that guys don't pitch as effectively when they are sore or have minor injuries. Maladies are now diagnosed more readily due to improved MRI technology. So actual injuries can now be distinguished from "normal soreness" and treated properly with modern medical procedure to quickly return the pitcher to maximum effectiveness instead of letting him continue to pitch at reduced effectiveness like they did in times gone by.

    Compared to 30 years ago, pitchers today throw several mph harder on average.

    • When a pitcher in yesteryear got hurt they continued to pitch in a less effective manner, or else they broke down and were permanently replaced by a less effective pitcher.
    • Pitchers today get better medical care and soon get back to full effectiveness. The best pitchers stay on the mound longer and at a higher rate of effectiveness than if they pitched in prior decades. This is a major reason why strikeouts are up and scoring is down.


    Compared to 30 years ago, pitchers throw several mph harder on average. The fact that pitchers are throwing harder than ever before puts a lot more torque and stress on their ligaments and rotator cuffs, which leads to increased risk of injury. Some of this strain is alleviated by more careful handling, pitch counts, innings limits etc.

    Bigger, stronger pitchers throwing harder means more risk of injury.
    Better, more careful handling of pitchers means less risk of injury.

    Careful handling of injured pitchers prevents minor injuries from turning into career-ending injuries and keeps pitchers performing at peak effectiveness more often.

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  3. #17
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    That is what Dave Cameron may be suggesting with his article today at Fangraphs:



    Basically, the strikeout rate has climbed dramatically since the Pitch F/X systems have been installed in all stadiums. The swinging strike rate hasn't increased really, but the called strike rate has.

    It is interesting. Go check it out.
    This would certainly help explain why there has been a trend toward a less prolific offense since 2007.

    Also, if the dramatically increased K rate was simply the outcome of a trend for hitters to take more pitches, why hasn't the BB rate also increased? Why has the BB/K rate dropped so sharply since 2007?
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Pitchers are taller from 2006-2013? Where are you seeing this data?
    Overall height in baseball has continued to increase over the years (especially the most recent years), and I do need to find the breakdown for pitchers again. I did it once before but I did not bookmark it. IIRC, pitchers have seen the biggest jump in height over recent years, and account for almost all of that recent increase that you see in the graph below. I am sure there are many factors here, such as better specialization at lower levels (so tall guys are more likely to become pitchers) and greater emphasis by teams to draft tall pitchers and develop them.




  5. #19
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    That average height for catchers is surprising to me. I always picture the stereotypical catcher as being a squaty sort of fellow...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Ya just gotta appreciate any thread in the modern interwebs that drops a Tom Lawless bomb.

    Impressive, well played.

  7. #21
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Scott, from 2006-2009, pitches average height was less than 0.2 inches of difference.

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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Scott, from 2006-2009, pitches average height was less than 0.2 inches of difference.
    First of all, 0.2 is not some negligible amount when you consider the sample size. On top of that, it's a 4 year span. That is way above normal increases in height.

    It's not like every pitcher was just 0.2 inches taller. Think of it this way. Add 2 inches to 10% of the pitchers in the major leagues. You don't think that is not significant? 2 inches for a pitcher is a pretty big deal.

    Now, you can debate the effect of height on strikeouts, but 0.2 more inches for an entire population is not a small amount. What did you expect, a 5 inch increase or something? 0.2 is dramatic when you compare it to the other positions.

    BTW...it's now 4 years since then. If the rate is the same, is it now 0.35-0.4 inches. Please tell me still don't think that is insignificant.
    Last edited by scott91575; 04-15-2013 at 05:46 AM.

  9. #23
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Oh, and am I the only one who looks at this graph and wonders how anyone can link more called strikes to PitchFX?



    Seems fairly linear all the way back to 1988.

    I'm sorry, but the only thing I get from that article is strikeouts were up dramatically about the same time pitchfx was introduced. I don't really see the correlation.

    Let's take a look at the K rate over the history of baseball...



    Strikeouts have had many increases very similar to the years shown in the article, but I don't think there were too many pitchfx machines back then.

    Like I stated earlier, a huge hole in all of this is the accuracy of umpires since the time pitchFX as introduced. I am not sure why that is missing. He has the number of pitches in the strike zone, and I would think there is data if the umpire called a strike or not. You can then find out if PitchFX is indeed having an effect on umpires, and then you can do some sort of correlation. It still wouldn't be rock solid, but it would at least prove the effectiveness of PitchFX in improving umpire accuracy. Just stating umpires are calling more strikes does not mean they are more accurate, and it also does not mean PitchFX is the reason (as stated earlier, baseball has continually pushed the umpires to call higher stikes ever since the 80's). That is another piece missing, where are the increase in called strikes coming from? If it's all over the place, then maybe PitchFX could be the reason as umpires are forced to focus more on their accuracy. If it's one particular zone, it could simply be an emphasis to call more strikes in a certain area.

    I am not saying it's not possible or wrong. I am just stating the correlation based on the data presented is pretty weak.

  10. #24
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    I'm not seeing a lot of players who develop two strike swings. So many guys nowadays are swinging for the fences on 0-2 just like 2-0. Brandon Phillips is one example.

  11. #25
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    Not sure the cause -but it sure makes for less exciting baseball- 3 true outcomes baseball is boring and part of me wonders if there needs to be some type of adjustment made, but i'm not sure what needs to occur. Sometimes, there is an adjustment and unintended consequences occur. Maybe this is a poor example- when i was a kid, the NFL wanted to emphasize more passing in the league - so they made the field wider...thinking that this would help passing. What it really helped was the running game - guys had more room to turn the corner. Everybody and their brother rushed for 1,000 yards (14 game season).

    I think the height of pitchers may make a difference -great point. Atomic -that's a pretty good list.

    Brutus, I'm not sure that more trips to the DL makes your point- but i may be wrong - i wasn't sure what side you were trying to come down on.

    Antedotal -but it does appear the K zone is bigger than it used to be (95-2007?) when the umps appeared to do away with the high strike and the low strike -along with the wide strike ....wait ....they just did away with strikes.

  12. #26
    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: Is Pitch F/X responsible for the recent surge in strikeouts?

    These pitch trak technologies seem to exaggerate the strike zone if the definition is "anything that touches the box outlined is a strike". Some of those pitches will just barely nick the line with 3/4 of the ball on the outside of the box. Looking at those with my own eyes tells me they are unhittable and outside of a strike zone that I'm comfortable with.


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