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Thread: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

  1. #106
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    I think Dusty is spot on and I personally hate the argument that strikeouts are no different than any other out because you are cherry picking outcomes to meet your argument.

    The fact is when you strikeout there is a 0.2% chance of something positive happening. When you don't strike out there is roughly a 35% chance of something positive happening and I will not even bother talking about productive outs.

    I also despise the argument about comparing the OPS with the highest K rate guys, to the OPS of the lowest K rate guys. Since the names were brought up in an earlier post I will use those as an example. Here are the OPS number of Jay Bruce and Marco Scutaro with 2 strike counts. For point of comparison I threw in Chris Davis and Drew Stubbs (just to see how bad strikeouts are when you have no power

    0-2 Bruce .289------Scutaro .209 -------Davis .465 ------Stubbs .128
    1-2 Bruce .392------Scutaro .712 -------Davis .518 ------Stubbs .314
    2-2 Bruce .505------Scutaro .500 -------Davis .483 ------Stubbs .461
    3-2 Bruce .821------Scutaro 1.016------ Davis 1.263-----Stubbs .553

    Is Scutaro a more productive hitter than Bruce with 2 strikes. I would say he is. Look if your a big swinger and you want to go for the downs on 0 or 1 strike counts I have no issue with it. In fact when you look at the high OPS guys, that is when then do the overwhelming amount of their damage and where their OPS difference is significant over the low power/low k guys. With 2 strikes though you need to change your approach because it is pretty obvious all that power does not benefit you when you are catching nothing but air.

    Since I am on a rant I will throw this other issue that has been sticking in my craw lately. The whole Ted Williams theory of hitting, where you work deep into the count to get a better pitch is nowhere near as effective as it once was.

    Back in Ted Williams day, pitchers would throw 200 pitches in a game. They would try to get you to chase a bad pitch or 2 early in the count and work back to the zone later on, hence his theory worked well. In today's baseball with pitch counts front and center, pitchers try to get ahead 0-1, so its very possible the best pitch you will see is the first one.

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  4. #107
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
    Remember when espn used to keep track of productive outs, and they were going to prove just how important they were to run production?

    Remember at the end of the season the top three or four teams in productive outs were the three or four worse teams at scoring runs?

    Remember how espn stopped keeping track if productive outs?

    Good times.
    I don't remember. Probably because I avoid ESPN whenever possible. I am curious, though, how they defined "productive outs."
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  5. #108
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    The "sabre crowd" says you should swing HARD, because hard contact is how you get more hits (especially extra-base hits). The goal is to get on base (via hit, walk, hit-by-pitch) and get as far around the bases as possible. The best way to accomplish this is to swing HARD and swing only at the best pitches to hit. The "sabre crowd" hates all outs, including strikeouts (no more, no less -- the same). The object is to avoid an out and score a run. Trying to "put the ball in play" can often be counterproductive to that goal because that approach leads to weaker contact (which is less likely to be a hit or extra-base hit) and eliminates the possibility of a walk.
    I'm about as far from being in the "saber crowd" as possible, but that being said...I agree with most all of this. But the point I've been trying to make is more about what seems to be frustrating Dusty. Standing there and watching the third strike sail past you...while it's not eliminating the possibility of a walk (the ump COULD call it a ball), what Dusty is wanting is his hitters being aggressive IN THE ZONE. Not to swing at balls. Not being against walks. Walks are good things. But being patient and passive and waiting for that perfect pitch to swing at...yes it may lead to more walks, but it will also lead to passive hitters, hitters being FORCED into a pitchers count, hitters being reactive instead of active, etc.

    Swinging hard is great, but not if it's not a controlled hard swing. Pitchers throw harder than ever now...the speed of the ball alone will generate some of the power. I'm not saying hitters should become slap hitters. I'm saying that swinging hard is not the optimal approach every single pitch. Being aggressive in the zone, early in the count, is the right way IMO. Working the count has it's good points, but if you're letting strikes sail past, then your forcing yourself onto the defensive. With 2 strikes you're forcing yourself into a position of having to protect the plate and become more vulnerable to a pitchers' pitch. Dusty's complaint is that he sees today's hitters let too many hittable strikes sail past and puts them into a hole.

    (I've got more to add I think, but he kids are really distracting me right now...sorry)
    Last edited by _Sir_Charles_; 09-14-2013 at 10:15 PM. Reason: typo
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by Cant Touch This View Post
    I agree with all of this up until the point of avoiding "putting the ball in play." And for that, I go back to a hitter behind in the count who makes adjustments to his approach for the purpose of making contact.

    Again, I realize some contact outs will be counterproductive. But I stand firmly that strikeouts have NO chance of accomplishing anything positive. So if a hitter has the opportunity to create action - do it.

    I guess where we disagree is this: To me, swinging hard (no adjustments) on an 0-2 count with a runner on second and nobody out is not a good approach. If I understand your argument correctly, you disagree with me on this.
    The hitter is always trying to create action, he is not trying to strike out. He is trying to get on base and accumulate as many bases as possible. When he fails it doesn't matter if he strikes out or makes contact on average.

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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by krm1580 View Post
    Look if your a big swinger and you want to go for the downs on 0 or 1 strike counts I have no issue with it. In fact when you look at the high OPS guys, that is when then do the overwhelming amount of their damage and where their OPS difference is significant over the low power/low k guys. With 2 strikes though you need to change your approach because it is pretty obvious all that power does not benefit you when you are catching nothing but air.
    This is how I was taught to hit. It's how I coach my kids to hit. Swing hard at good pitches with a hitter's count. But get wide, shorten the stick, and protect the plate with two strikes. Of course, in youth baseball, any ball in play has a greater chance of being productive than at advanced levels - but I still believe in the value of a ball in play over a strikeout at ANY level.
    A flute with no holes is not a flute. A doughnut with no holes is a danish. -- Zen Philosopher Basho

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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    I'm about as far from being in the "saber crowd" as possible, but that being said...I agree with most all of this. But the point I've been trying to make is more about what seems to be frustrating Dusty. Standing there and watching the third strike sail past you...while it's not eliminating the possibility of a walk (the ump COULD call it a ball), what Dusty is wanting is his hitters being aggressive IN THE ZONE. Not to swing at balls. Not being against walks. Walks are good things. But being patient and passive and waiting for that perfect pitch to swing at...yes it may lead to more walks, but it will also lead to passive hitters, hitters being FORCED into a pitchers count, hitters being reactive instead of active, etc.

    Swinging hard is great, but not if it's not a controlled hard swing. Pitchers throw harder than ever now...the speed of the ball alone will generate some of the power. I'm not saying hitters should become slap hitters. I'm saying that swinging hard is not the optimal approach every single pitch. Being aggressive in the zone, early in the count, is the right way IMO. Working the count has it's good points, but if you're letting strikes sail past, then your forcing yourself onto the defensive. With 2 strikes your forcing yourself into a position of having to protect the plate and become more vulnerable to a pitchers' pitch. Dusty's complaint is that he sees today's hitters let too many hittable strikes sail past and puts them into a hole.

    (I've got more to add I think, but he kids are really distracting me right now...sorry)
    OK good points.

    I will just add that the Reds most productive hitters are the ones that strike out the most. The least productive hitters strike out the least. I don't think it is wise to encourage your best hitters to be more like your worst hitters.

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  10. #112
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by Cant Touch This View Post
    Of course I do - but that goes both ways.
    Okay, good. I'm no expert, just really a bystander in this debate -- but so far I've seen no actual data backing up the macro-version of what you and others are saying about putting the ball in play (and making an out) being better than striking out (and making an out). I'd be eager to see that evidence, but haven't so far. As far as I know, the data contradicts the intuition on this one. By all means, prove this wrong.

    In other news, I share your consternation about what I'm doing on a Saturday night. On the other hand, my couch over here is pretty comfortable, so I'm probably going to turn on BREAKING BAD pretty soon instead of continuing this. So you can wait to respond until tomorrow if you want. :-)

  11. #113
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by Cant Touch This View Post
    I agree with all of this up until the point of avoiding "putting the ball in play." And for that, I go back to a hitter behind in the count who makes adjustments to his approach for the purpose of making contact.

    Again, I realize some contact outs will be counterproductive. But I stand firmly that strikeouts have NO chance of accomplishing anything positive. So if a hitter has the opportunity to create action - do it.

    I guess where we disagree is this: To me, swinging hard (no adjustments) on an 0-2 count with a runner on second and nobody out is not a good approach. If I understand your argument correctly, you disagree with me on this.
    100% in agreement.
    2014 predictions:
    99-63 WS champs (Cards take 2nd WC, Mil 3rd, Pit 4th, Chi 5th)
    Bruce/Votto neck and neck MVP race (neither takes it)
    Bailey CYA winner
    Hamilton ROY & GG

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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    The hitter is always trying to create action, he is not trying to strike out. He is trying to get on base and accumulate as many bases as possible. When he fails it doesn't matter if he strikes out or makes contact on average.
    I'm not disagreeing with this. I think where we differ is that you believe a hitter shouldn't make an effort to NOT strikeout. He should swing hard no matter what because stats have proven an out is an out is an out - so if you're going to make an out anyway, might as well swing for the fences.

    I just don't subscribe to that theory.
    A flute with no holes is not a flute. A doughnut with no holes is a danish. -- Zen Philosopher Basho

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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Does anyone feel like the best hitters aren't already putting the ball in play as much as they should?
    They don't think it be like it is, but it do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Schuler View Post
    He has also taught me that even when the Reds win it is important to focus on the fact that they could have lost.

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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    If it made the hitter a less effective hitter, it would be the dumbest thing to make a hitter do. One gets the sense Dusty would've kept Adam Dunn in Louisville.
    On the flip side treat Drew Stubbs like Cal Ripken Jr

  15. #117
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Reality check- guys who strike out actually swing the bat.... Or is this a discussion where one side is arguing its better to make contact then get called out on strikes?

    Gotta ask given the way this discussion has been framed by some in this thread....
    "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

  16. #118
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by RedEye View Post
    This is not a simple question as it is utterly devoid of context.

    What is the macro-level proof that the traditionalists / situationalists have to lodge against the argument that AD is citing in this thread? (i.e. that K's aren't worse than other outs in the grand scheme of things).

    I've seen a lot of cyber yelling on this thread, and the so-called "saber crowd" has engaged with the situational evidence cited by the old-stat boys. What I haven't seen is evidence -- or at least compelling empirical evidence -- that strikeouts are different than other outs in the grand scheme.

    So... what's the counter-evidence to the Tango tables AD cited earlier? And please don't bring up such-and-such "common sense" game situations that have already been mentioned. That's not the plane of ideas I'm interested in here, and it's not what I need to be convinced.
    How on earth is it void of context?

    I'll ask you the same question I asked earlier... how do you propose a team scores if they don't make contact? I'm more a part of the "saber crowd" than I am the "old stat boys" but it's totally lacking common sense to suggest it's not better to put the ball in play. You don't score runs if you can't make contact. That's a very simple truism that should be easier to comprehend than this.
    "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

  17. #119
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    Could you break that down into slash lines please? I am wondering if the low strikeout guys have higher batting averages while the higher strikeout guys have higher OBPs and SLGs.
    Top 50 K Rates (Highest): .261 BA/.334 OBP/.452 SLG
    Bottom 50 K Rates (Lowest): .280 BA/.333 OBP/.415 SLG
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

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  18. #120
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    Re: "No matter what the stat boys say, you put the ball in play." - Dusty

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus View Post
    How on earth is it void of context?

    I'll ask you the same question I asked earlier... how do you propose a team scores if they don't make contact?
    It's devoid of context because you are not clear whether the question pertains to an individual game situation (which is what Can't Touch This keeps citing) or larger questions of player productivity (which is what AD keeps citing). What I want to see is evidence that K's are empirically worse for run production than putting the ball in play. I'm more than open to changing my opinion on things, but I haven't seen compelling evidence to do so yet -- or at least not in a form I can understand.
    Last edited by RedEye; 09-14-2013 at 09:45 PM.


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