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  • Taking pitches on 3-0 count

    When I was in high school I played baseball and wasn't the greatest hitter in the world. My coach always told the team to take a pitch when the count was 3-0 and I would but once I swung and hit a laser down the right field line for a triple. My coach wasn't happy about that and told me that is not how baseball is played and you always take a pitch on a 3-0 count. I understood that if the pitcher is wild or its late in the game and your best hitter is up next you would take a pitch but I have seen batters stand there with their bat on their shoulders as if they were telling the pitcher that they are giving them the strike. Why? Your going to pass up a great pitch to hit for a pitch that isn't that great for you to hit. I am no expert on the art of hitting so I would like to hear opinions on hitting with a 3-0 count.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Orioles5 View Post
    When I was in high school I played baseball and wasn't the greatest hitter in the world. My coach always told the team to take a pitch when the count was 3-0 and I would but once I swung and hit a laser down the right field line for a triple. My coach wasn't happy about that and told me that is not how baseball is played and you always take a pitch on a 3-0 count. I understood that if the pitcher is wild or its late in the game and your best hitter is up next you would take a pitch but I have seen batters stand there with their bat on their shoulders as if they were telling the pitcher that they are giving them the strike. Why? Your going to pass up a great pitch to hit for a pitch that isn't that great for you to hit. I am no expert on the art of hitting so I would like to hear opinions on hitting with a 3-0 count.
    1. At 3-0, your chances of getting on base (i.e., not making an out) are very high.
    2. Even at 3-1, you still have the huge advantage.

    It's simply more risk than reward.

    You're likely to get the same quality pitch on 3-1 as your are 3-0, so why take the chance on making an out 3-0.

    It's the same why coaches don;t want pitchers to throw the ball down the middle of the plate on 0-2. But coach, what if I can get the batter to swing and miss? Again, so much risk, so little reward.

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    • #3
      The pitcher has thrown three straight balls. There's a high chance at that point that you will draw a walk. My guess is that most batters would draw a walk 70 percent of the time. If you swing, you'll probably get a hit only 20 percent of the time.

      Now, there are situations where the batter should swing. For example, the batter is one of your best and the on-deck batter strikes out every time he bats. And there are two outs. I have told kids to swing at anything close in those situations. Because I know that a walk will most likely do nothing. This spring, I had one kid who could strike out on three pitches in the dirt. We had a 3-0 count on the batter with runners on second and third. And the guy on third was too slow to score on a passed ball. I had to have a hit, and I got a home run. And the kid who was on deck struck out as usual.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
        The pitcher has thrown three straight balls. There's a high chance at that point that you will draw a walk. My guess is that most batters would draw a walk 70 percent of the time. If you swing, you'll probably get a hit only 20 percent of the time.
        Well, you've come to the right place to find out the percentages. I'm interested to know as well. The numbers won't come from me, but I know somebody will chime in with the stats.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by johnlanza View Post
          Well, you've come to the right place to find out the percentages. I'm interested to know as well. The numbers won't come from me, but I know somebody will chime in with the stats.
          I sort of figured that someone would let us know. But I hate math and don't intend to figure out this one on my own. i think it depends on some variables. For example, do you assume that the pitcher throws 60-70 percent strikes? If he throws 60 percent strikes, there is a 40 percent chance that he'll throw a ball on each of the next three pitches. Of course, he just threw three balls. Therefore, you might want to adjust the pitcher's overall strike percentage.

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          • #6
            Well, I don’t know if this will be the “definitive” answer, but it might prove interesting. Go to each of the links below, and doo FIND on “threeb”. You’ll see a metric I’ve done for quite a while that shows what happens on the next pitch. The first is the numbers are for our hitters, and the 2nd is the numbers for our pitchers. But both cover the 2007 thru 2012 seasons for the HS team I score for.

            http://www.infosports.com/scorekeepe...s/cbatting.pdf

            http://www.infosports.com/scorekeepe.../cpitching.pdf

            My personal feeling is, the best chance for reaching base without causing an out, which is of course a primary goal of the game, but I also feel that the best chance for getting a “grooved” pitch is on 3-0. The thing is, a ball in play will produce a batter reaching a base without causing an out less often than a batter watching that 4th pitch.
            The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by HeinekenMan View Post
              The pitcher has thrown three straight balls. There's a high chance at that point that you will draw a walk. My guess is that most batters would draw a walk 70 percent of the time. If you swing, you'll probably get a hit only 20 percent of the time.
              In 2011 in MLB, players batted .361 with a 3-0 count. In 2010, it was .411. There is no better count to swing. The reason is because batters know that the pitch is likely going to be a fastball, and they're not likely to swing at pitches that aren't right where they want them.

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              • #8
                Most coaches like it because the perception is that your chances of getting on base are really high for taking 3-0. Furthermore, it's pretty likely the pitch you get 3-0 will be the same one you get at 3-1, so it gets you a chance to see the 3-1 pitch (not of course true for really good pitchers). I preach patience at the high school level, so generally I like taking 3-0 for the reasons above, but on the other hand every now and then you should be attacking the 3-0 pitch. You can't let the other team assume they can just throw it down the middle and you'll automatically take. Something on the order of take 4 times out of 5, swing at the meatball which is about 1 out of 5 times. Just enough to put doubt into the other teams head.
                The outcome of our children is infinitely more important than the outcome of any game they will ever play

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ipitch View Post
                  In 2011 in MLB, players batted .361 with a 3-0 count. In 2010, it was .411. There is no better count to swing. The reason is because batters know that the pitch is likely going to be a fastball, and they're not likely to swing at pitches that aren't right where they want them.
                  As far as batting average, how similar are the results of a 2-0 pitch? Just asking because, just as in a 3-0 count, a fastball is likely to be on the way...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ipitch View Post
                    In 2011 in MLB, players batted .361 with a 3-0 count. In 2010, it was .411. There is no better count to swing. The reason is because batters know that the pitch is likely going to be a fastball, and they're not likely to swing at pitches that aren't right where they want them.
                    You can't compare what MLB'ers do with youth through high school players. They are far more disciplined hitters. But your numbers (.361 and .411) still show there's a less than 40% chance (average over two years provided) of getting on base even swinging on 3-0. Now it would be important to know the percentage of hitters that walk once the count hits 3-0. The numbers may be different, but the same application would apply at any level.

                    The hitting scenario will also have impact on whether a hitter is allowed to swing 3-0. If runners are on second and third with the best hitter up and first base open a hit has more value than a walk. But even then it depends on the coaches confidence in the next hitter.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by johnlanza View Post
                      As far as batting average, how similar are the results of a 2-0 pitch?
                      .355 and .347 for 2011 and 2010.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ipitch View Post
                        In 2011 in MLB, players batted .361 with a 3-0 count. In 2010, it was .411. There is no better count to swing. The reason is because batters know that the pitch is likely going to be a fastball, and they're not likely to swing at pitches that aren't right where they want them.
                        Using those numbers, if there 1,000 players who got to 3-0 and all swung at that 4th pitch, at best 411 would reach base safely. From my numbers, if 1,000 players got to 3-0, 860 would reach on walks. Sorry, to me its purely a numbers thing, and 860 trumps 411 every time.
                        The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                          You can't compare what MLB'ers do with youth through high school players. They are far more disciplined hitters. But your numbers (.361 and .411) still show there's a less than 40% chance (average over two years provided) of getting on base even swinging on 3-0. Now it would be important to know the percentage of hitters that walk once the count hits 3-0. The numbers may be different, but the same application would apply at any level.
                          I just posted the MLB numbers because HeinekenMan said "If you swing, you'll probably get a hit only 20 percent of the time." I would be very surprised if that's true based on the MLB numbers. The batting average on 3-0 counts almost has to be higher than the overall batting average (at any level of baseball).

                          Just to clarify one thing - there is a ~39% chance of getting on base when you put the ball in play with a 3-0 count in MLB. An additional percentage of players swing and miss (or foul) and still end up walking.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                            You can't compare what MLB'ers do with youth through high school players. They are far more disciplined hitters.
                            That's what I was thinking. There are far more idiots in HS than in MLB. Tell a HS kid they have the green light on 3-0 and very often you'll get a kid that's swinging on 3-0 provided the ball isn't in the dirt.

                            At the HS level, if a batter did not swing at all for the remainder of the at bat when having a 3-0 count, I'd bet they get on base 65% of the time.

                            But your numbers (.361 and .411) still show there's a less than 40% chance (average over two years provided) of getting on base even swinging on 3-0. Now it would be important to know the percentage of hitters that walk once the count hits 3-0. The numbers may be different, but the same application would apply at any level.
                            You also take into account what the OBP is on 3-1.

                            Originally Posted by ipitch
                            In 2011 in MLB, players batted .361 with a 3-0 count. In 2010, it was .411. There is no better count to swing.
                            Talk about looking at it the wrong way.

                            Try this ...

                            ... On 3-0 counts, MLB batters that swung and put the ball in play made an out 60% of the time.

                            That's why you don;t swing on 3-0 (generally speaking).

                            I think with your big bat yup with runners on, you consider it. Everyone else takes ... even the best hitters in the best count at the highest level made an out 60% of the time. Sixty. Percent.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
                              Talk about looking at it the wrong way.

                              Try this ...

                              ... On 3-0 counts, MLB batters that swung and put the ball in play made an out 60% of the time.

                              That's why you don;t swing on 3-0 (generally speaking).

                              I think with your big bat yup with runners on, you consider it. Everyone else takes ... even the best hitters in the best count at the highest level made an out 60% of the time. Sixty. Percent.
                              I said "There is no better count to swing", but what I really meant was "batting averages are the highest on 3-0 counts." I never meant to imply that swinging at a 3-0 pitch is a great idea. I don't think I've ever done it myself (in a game that counted).

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