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Thread: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

  1. #16
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Pick a good one and sock it. Letting fat ones go by is just as poor from a plate discipline standpoint as swinging at bad ones. Unless you track whether the first pitch was a fat one or a bad one, I'm not sure how tracking this stat tells you anything without a ton of assumptions that may or may not be true.

    I'll say this though, for a team that swings at a lot of first pitches, they sure strike out a lot. Seems like swinging at the first one and putting it in play would cut the strike outs down even if they just become weak grounders to second base. Also, the recent versions of the Reds seem to let more fat ones go by without swinging than teams I've watched in recent memory. I thought getting rid of Stubbs would help that (it has) but there are still a ton of guys who gawk at pitches they should be crushing. The single worst PA that I saw over the horrible Road trip was Xavier Paul striking out with guys on base while letting a hanging curve, belt high over the middle go by for Strike 2. He may as well have gone up there with a blindfold on.

    Plate discipline isn't about taking pitches. It's about swinging at the right pitches. This team's problem isn't as much about the swinging or the taking, it's about the picking.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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  4. #17
    Member Ironman92's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Pick a good one and sock it. Letting fat ones go by is just as poor from a plate discipline standpoint as swinging at bad ones. Unless you track whether the first pitch was a fat one or a bad one, I'm not sure how tracking this stat tells you anything without a ton of assumptions that may or may not be true.

    I'll say this though, for a team that swings at a lot of first pitches, they sure strike out a lot. Seems like swinging at the first one and putting it in play would cut the strike outs down even if they just become weak grounders to second base. Also, the recent versions of the Reds seem to let more fat ones go by without swinging than teams I've watched in recent memory. I thought getting rid of Stubbs would help that (it has) but there are still a ton of guys who gawk at pitches they should be crushing. The single worst PA that I saw over the horrible Road trip was Xavier Paul striking out with guys on base while letting a hanging curve, belt high over the middle go by for Strike 2. He may as well have gone up there with a blindfold on.

    Plate discipline isn't about taking pitches. It's about swinging at the right pitches. This team's problem isn't as much about the swinging or the taking, it's about the picking.
    I thought Frazier PH after Heisey doubled with no outs was worse than Paul's....a weak 1st pitch PULL to the SS.

  5. #18
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironman92 View Post
    I thought Frazier PH after Heisey doubled with no outs was worse than Paul's....a weak 1st pitch PULL to the SS.
    There was a lot of failure on that road trip. It happens when teams slump. I don't know if Frazier's swing was on a bad pitch just because it was on the first pitch and didn't yield a good result (an assumption made around here far too often). He does swing at quite a few bad ones though, so its possible.

    I know for sure that Paul let one of the absolute fattest pitches I've seen go by without taking the bat off his shoulder. The PA before that, Bruce had a pitch that was almost as fat and missed (or maybe it was a foul tip) but at least he gave it a go. Some times guys fail. Can't really get upset about it. Just letting it go by is a lot worse IMO.
    Last edited by mth123; 07-02-2013 at 04:06 AM.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  6. #19
    Member RadfordVA's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    I'll say this though, for a team that swings at a lot of first pitches, they sure strike out a lot. Seems like swinging at the first one and putting it in play would cut the strike outs down even if they just become weak grounders to second base. Also, the recent versions of the Reds seem to let more fat ones go by without swinging than teams I've watched in recent memory. I thought getting rid of Stubbs would help that (it has) but there are still a ton of guys who gawk at pitches they should be crushing. The single worst PA that I saw over the horrible Road trip was Xavier Paul striking out with guys on base while letting a hanging curve, belt high over the middle go by for Strike 2. He may as well have gone up there with a blindfold on.

    Plate discipline isn't about taking pitches. It's about swinging at the right pitches. This team's problem isn't as much about the swinging or the taking, it's about the picking.
    The Reds strike out 20% of the time. League average is 19.9%. So they are not as bad at contact as it seems to us at times. Braves lead the league and Pirates are 3rd in highest k %. So you can win doing it even more than the Reds.

    They also have the best strikeout to walk ratio in the NL.

  7. #20
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Quote Originally Posted by RadfordVA View Post
    The Reds strike out 20% of the time. League average is 19.9%. So they are not as bad at contact as it seems to us at times. Braves lead the league and Pirates are 3rd in highest k %. So you can win doing it even more than the Reds.

    They also have the best strikeout to walk ratio in the NL.
    Sure, but if they are putting so many first pitches in play, seems like they should be way below the league average for K's.

    Not really the point, The point is that some of these stats that people grab onto don't really tell us what people like to read into them. This one seems like one of those. I don't think knowing that the Reds put more first pitches into play than anyone tells us anything. Heck, it might mean that the Reds have a reputation for taking too much so pitchers are up there throwing it over the middle of the plate to get ahead in the count. All it really tells us is that there is more information needed to see if it means anything. Instead, people latch on, assume it means what they want it to mean and use it as another reason to rip Dusty.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  8. #21
    Member RedsBrick's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    It depends on the pitcher...

    Last night, Kickham, was trying to get the ball over the plate. In the 4 run second, 6 of the 8 batters swung at the first pitch. 5 hits were collected and 4 runs crossed.

    However, in the 3 run third, 7 batters and only 1 first pitch swing.

    Overall...30 PAs for the Reds last night...10 first pitch swings.

    The Reds swing at the first pitch 32% of the time for the season (along with the Braves and Brewers), most in MLB. League avg is 27%.
    Last edited by RedsBrick; 07-02-2013 at 06:49 AM.

  9. #22
    Member 757690's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Sure, but if they are putting so many first pitches in play, seems like they should be way below the league average for K's.

    Not really the point, The point is that some of these stats that people grab onto don't really tell us what people like to read into them. This one seems like one of those. I don't think knowing that the Reds put more first pitches into play than anyone tells us anything. Heck, it might mean that the Reds have a reputation for taking too much so pitchers are up there throwing it over the middle of the plate to get ahead in the count. All it really tells us is that there is more information needed to see if it means anything. Instead, people latch on, assume it means what they want it to mean and use it as another reason to rip Dusty.
    I agree and would make an even stronger argument that stats in this case are meaningless.

    The heart of a baseball game is the battle between the pitcher and the hitter, the closest thing to a chess match among the physical sports. It's what makes baseball so fascinating, entertaining and enriching. You simply can't quantify that, you can't summarize it into a set of numbers and contain its meaning.

    As you stated in another post, and in your signature, the key to hitting is getting that one good pitch to hit, and the key to pitching is to get the batter to swing at pitches that aren't gootd to hit. That's the chess match.

    So it doesn't matter what number pitch that hittable pitch is thrown, or what number pitch the hitter hits, or even what type of pitch. What matters is who won the battle. Did the pitcher get the batter to swing at a pitcher's pitch, or was the hitter able to find that hittable pitch to crush? It is literally impossible to develop a stat that encompasses that. Not even "in the zone" and "outside the zone" stats cover this, as there are plenty of pitcher's pitches that are "in the zone" and even some hitter's pitches that are "outside the zone."

    The only way to even try to understand and appreciate this battle is to watch it, batter by batter. It's also the most fun.
    Last edited by 757690; 07-02-2013 at 07:48 AM.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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  11. #23
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Well put 757690. Especially in today's world of endless video, everyone knows everyone else's tendencies and patterns. A first pitch fastball hitter will rarely see a first pitch fastball to hit. Or will he? He knows the pitcher knows this and the pitcher knows the hitter knows that he knows so maybe he'll double cross him....or something like that anyway. Now I'm confused.
    Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

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  12. #24
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Watching Kontos eat up Frazier after his good work on the LHP...to me...was what Baker was alluding to. Frazier went back to swinging at balls, especially on strike three swing....that was not near being a strike halfway to the plate, same with the previous one...and taking the previous one to strike 2 swing right down the plate.
    He was guessing badly and when you have guess hitters like Frazier, Heisey and even Bruce...you can look bad swinging and then taking fat ones. Bruce is better and produces more, but Frazier, Hesiey and when Stubbs was here ..can all look like pitchers hitting. Cozart is the one who seems to like the 1st pitch approach a lot.

  13. #25
    Member Rantly's Avatar
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    Re: Reds problem with swinging at first pitches

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsBrick View Post
    It depends on the pitcher...

    Last night, Kickham, was trying to get the ball over the plate. In the 4 run second, 6 of the 8 batters swung at the first pitch. 5 hits were collected and 4 runs crossed.

    However, in the 3 run third, 7 batters and only 1 first pitch swing.

    Overall...30 PAs for the Reds last night...10 first pitch swings.

    The Reds swing at the first pitch 32% of the time for the season (along with the Braves and Brewers), most in MLB. League avg is 27%.
    Exactly! Depends on the pitcher and sometimes the umpire, what is his strike zone like.


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