Pounding the zone by count
Table of contents for Strike Throwing with Pitch f/x
In part 1 of the series I dumped some big tables in here that looked at the rate at which teams threw a)strikes and b)the ball in the strike zone. Today we’ll continue along the same path, but we’ll start to differentiate based on count.
Pitches In the Strike Zone by Count
In 2008 teams pitchers through the ball in the strike zone (as defined by pitch f/x) at the following rates:
- 0-0: 48.0%
- 1-1: 45.0%
- 2-2: 43.0%
- 0-1: 40.0%
- 0-2: 27.1%
- 1-2: 34.6%
- 1-0: 49.8%
- 2-0: 51.6%
- 3-0: 49.9%
- 2-1: 51.2%
- 3-1: 55.9%
- 3-2: 53.8%
The table below displays how each team’s pitchers did in each count(click on the table to make it bigger):
My beloved Tigers are below the average across the board. Meanwhile the strike throwing Twins are considerably above average in terms of pounding the strike zone regardless of the count.
Let me pause for a moment to explain the coloring here. Redder colors denote higher values, greener colors lower values, and yellow in the middle. The deeper the color, the farther away from the mid point. (Excel 2007 can do this automatically under conditional formatting. I never had explored this int he 2007 version and I love it).
With the gradient explanation out of the way we can look for some trends.
- The Yankees and Mets tend to keep the ball out of the strike zone more often than not
- Cleveland pounded the strike zone unless they were behind in the count, and then it seemed as if they didn’t want to give in.
- The Angels were the opposite in that they threw it in the zone unless they were ahead in the count.
- The Red Sox pounded the zone when ahead, and stayed away when they were behind, but were fairly neutral with neutral counts.
- The A’s which have had a history of good pitching, didn’t really throw it in the zone too much in 2008
Pitches Thrown by Count
Of course knowing what happens in a particular count is only part of the battle. It’s probably worth looking at how often each team was throwing in a given count (and while we haven’t gotten to the “what happens when the pitch is thrown part” it probably has a bigger impact on performance I’d guess).
Below is the percent of pitches thrown by each team in a given count, with the same lovely shading.
Some stuff I notice here:
- The Twins have the highest percentage of 0-0 pitches, meaning that they are throwing fewer pitches in other counts and having the most short at-bats.
- Despite not throwing a lot of pitches in the zone, the Yankees seemed to work ahead more than behind.
- Baltimore, Oakland, Texas, Washington, Pittsburgh and Detroit threw a lot of pitches from behind in the count. That’s really not surprising.
None yet to speak of, except that if you’re behind in the count your pitching staff probably won’t fare well – but that is kind of a “duh” conclusion. I’m just presenting data at this point. Up next I’ll continue to dive into this and look at which staffs do the best job of getting hitters to go fishing by count.