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Thread: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

  1. #46
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    I view it that baseball is a constantly evolving sport. Finding those diamond-hard gems of truth is difficult. There is a lot of fools gold out there. And its a constantly moving target. Some truths are discovered and players take advantage. But then the opposition isn't standing still and then they take countermeasures. Rinse and repeat. That game within the game is what I find endlessly fascinting.

    Pay attention to the open sky

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  4. #47
    OlafTheBlack Dan's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I've been saying for a while that plate discipline isn't just about taking and seeing a lot of pitches. The purpose is to wait for a good pitch to hit. The less discussed portion of plate discipline is the part where you jump all over the fat one that finally comes. Guys like Ted Williams (and Babe Ruth before him) weren't taking because the goal was to get a walk. Their purpose was to wait until they got a pitch they could murder. Walks are a nice consolation prize that helps the team and rewards a guy for not getting himself out, but the purpose is to smack the snot out of the ball not to simply draw a walk.
    Agreed. The goal of every hitter when he goes up is to get a good pitch to hit. Hell, wasn't it Babe Ruth who said the key to hitting was getting a good pitch and socking it? Sometimes that pitch comes on the very first pitch of the AB and sometimes it doesn't come until the 10th. Sometimes you get walked before you see that pitch.

    I've always thought that K/BB ratio, not the number of K or BB a hitter has, is the best indication of a good hitter. If the K/BB ratio is 3:1 or better a hitter is going to see decent success. A ratio of 2:1 or better and he's going to do very well. And the rare breed that has a 1:1 ratio is outstanding in the game. But what does that MEAN?

    It means that the batter is only choosing strikes to swing at. And when he does see a strike to swing at, he's swinging aggressively. Not always making contact, because it's damn hard to hit a thrown baseball, but when contact is made the ball goes hard off the bat. And that's the key.
    Sabermetrics is this: A batter's goal is to extend the inning. Extend enough innings and you're going to score runs. Extend more innings than your opponent and you're going to score more runs than him.

    Forget the rain. It's never an official game until the Reds piss away a run between third base and home plate. - Bluegrass Redleg

  5. #48
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by redssince75 View Post
    It was either him or Mota (I get my Manny's confused), who gave one of my favorite baseball quotes ever, "you can't walk off the island."
    There's something to that, though.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

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  6. #49
    Member Crumbley's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by redssince75 View Post
    I don't have it in front of me, but SI ran an analysis last week that 30+ million fewer TV viewers watched the 2012 World Series than 30 years ago. And it's a steady decline, not an up and down thing. So not just millions. MILLIONSSSSSS.
    These people weren't fans, they watched the World Series because it was a big, live event in an era where there was far less competition for eyeballs. I care nothing about the NBA, but if I had no Internet and three television channels, I'd watch every playoff game that aired.

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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    There's something to that, though.

    I absolutely agree.

  9. #51
    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by scott91575 View Post
    His numbers are cherry picked. He doesn't even touch on the fact that runs increased for the vast majority of the timeframe he shows an increase in strikeouts and first pitches taken. He also ignores Votto's numbers last year (which directly refute his argument) and instead makes a point based on a small sample size this year. That is most definitely cherry picking, and is horrible writing. Anyone trying to make the point he is making would certainly check Votto's trend prior to this year to make sure it fits his point. Either he is lazy or purposely misleading the reader in order to make a name for himself by trying to point out something that simply does not exist.

    As for diminishing returns, are you telling me less than 1 extra strikeout a game causes over half a run less a game? Runs are dramatically down over just the last few years while the approach we are talking about is something over 2 decades in the process. It's a huge reach to think there is some sort of cliff at 7 strikeouts a game.

    The simple reasoning is staring everyone in the face. Slugging percentage and batting average are down. Now, if you think the current approach to hitting has effect on slugging and BA, then that makes no sense since slugging is still higher than the 80's and BA is very similar. There simply is no correlation how hard you want to try. Everyone knows the reason for the reduction in runs, and it seems like there is an endless number of people trying to make a name for themselves by trying to point out something less obvious. Occam's razor.

    Let's face it. We all know what happened in the 90's and 2000's. Numbers are simply returning to the levels we saw in the 1980's. If numbers were at historical lows I would tend to agree, but they are not. They have just returned to the norm.
    There are two fewer balls being put in play in nine innings than there were five years ago. There are three fewer balls in play than there were 10 years ago. There are four fewer balls in play than there were 20 years ago. There are five fewer balls in play than 30 years ago.

    Do those extra strikeouts account for the entire drop in runs? No, but it's foolish not to act like that's not a big deal. Tom Tango and many others have regressed these events with Markov chains over the years.

    Fool around with Tango's Markov run event calculator. You'll find if you put numbers in for a normal game of at-bats, hits, doubles, homers, walks and strikeouts, and adjust only three strikeouts fewer with one additional hit, you get almost a half a run extra being scored.

    Bottom line is those strikeouts do make a difference.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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  11. #52
    Posting in Dynarama M2's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by IslandRed View Post
    I think his theory is nuts when it comes to the inference that Joey Votto is doing something wrong.

    I do think that he might be onto something for the typical hitter with respect to the patience having reached the counter-productive stage. Like you said, pitchers are trying to avoid giving up the multi-run bombs and the good pitchers are really good at limiting walks these days. Seeing pitches for the sake of seeing pitches against a guy who's pounding the zone doesn't work out very well for the average guy.
    Agreed on the latter point, though I think it's exaggeration on Verducci's part that hitters were taking pitches for the sake of taking pitches. After expansion in 1993 (and again in 1998) too many pitchers weren't equipped to handle more powerful hitters with the ability to drive the ball the other way in small parks. Suddenly it wasn't even safe on the outer half of the plate. Their reaction was to throw garbage. Steve Avery was loath to go near the strike zone at the end of his career. Hitters, rightly, chose not to swing at garbage and to force pitchers into throwing them pitches over the heart of the plate.

    Now that we have a generation of pitchers who can pound the outside edges of the zone, hitters are adapting. The drive-the-ball and get-on-base principles of hitting are still in place. It's just that they're working under different conditions. However, it means that the guys who can still work the count and draw lots of walks are extremely valuable. More valuable than ever, and that's the part I think Verducci got backwards.
    Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong

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  12. #53
    Future Fame of Holler WildcatFan's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    I think you have to come up to bat with a patient mindset based on the pitcher you're facing. For example, against Cliff Lee earlier this year, Votto went 2-for-3 while taking only one strike and taking his first swing on one of the first two pitches two out of the three at-bats. He knows Lee is loathe to walk anyone, so he had a much different approach against him than he would against, say, Phil Irwin the day before, who walked four guys in 4 2/3 innings--Votto twice.

    You can't let a pitcher with questionable control beat you on pitches outside the strike zone. Votto isn't taking pitches just to take them (although he does feel he's in more control the deeper the count goes), but rather he's adapting his approach for the situation.

    Is he missing pitches he should be hitting right now? Absolutely. But it's April, and that happens to lots of good hitters. The difference between Votto and most hitters is he maximizes his value when he maybe doesn't have his best swing at the time. He just happens to walk at a rate we haven't seen since Bonds (intentional BBs excluded, of course). And he's still a .320 hitter when he does swing, and you can't ask for anything more from the guy. If you want to sacrifice 40 times on base for a couple home runs per season, be my guest. But that doesn't make this team better, in the long run.
    "I never argue with people who say baseball is boring, because baseball is boring. And then, suddenly, it isn't. And that's what makes it great." - Joe Posnanski

  13. #54
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    No one seems to be grappling with the fact that long ABs are boring for the casual fan. Moving from evidence to anecdote, I know that's a problem for me (about the third time a game I see a guy foul off five straight two-strike pitches, my remote gets itchy), my dad (used to be a big baseball fan, hasn't watched a game in ten years), and lots of kids I know (the game is "too slow"). Maybe they should cut it back to 2 strikes and 3 balls, or something.

  14. #55
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Marty was talking about this article during the game today. He swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by redssince75 View Post
    He's on to at least one thing, for me it's a lot less fun, just as a fan of the game, to watch a guy work a count, than it is to watch a guy who goes up there hacking.
    Different strokes and all that. I love seeing a guy grind out an 11 pitch at bat. It's the most pure part of the game. The battle between pitcher and hitter.

  16. #57
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    And FWIW, I think Verducci's argument doesn't hold water. Offense is down because pitching is better right now than it was before and there's a lot of crappy hitters playing every day. And that will change. It's cyclical. After expansion in the 90s the pitching got watered down, on top of PEDs and whatever else. Now the pitching has caught back up.

  17. #58
    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by redssince75 View Post
    I'm sure that's true for you and many hard core baseball fans. However, a major topic of conversation over the last decade is why baseball is losing so many fans (millions upon millions). A major factor always discussed is the slowness of the game.

    "Working the count" surely contributes to this.
    I doubt it.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  18. #59
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: SI Verducci: Virtue, and victory, no longer synonymous with patience at the plate

    Quote Originally Posted by redssince75 View Post
    ....Maybe they should cut it back to 2 strikes and 3 balls, or something.
    heresy!


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