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  • new all time high in strike outs

    This year we have an all time high in Ks again. mlb pitching struck out 7.6 batters per 9 innings. last year also was an all time high at 7.1.

    what do you think is the reason for this? the K rates have been going up for many years. of course now the approach is more swinging for the fences and less contact hitting but during the steroid era players were also swinging for the fences and the HR rates actually a tad higher than now but the K rates only in the mid 6 range.
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

  • #2
    Pitchers are resorting to different pitches to get batters out. I've noticed that a lot of guys are using a two-seamer or cutter as their primary pitch in place of a straight fastball. These are difficult to make contact with and can run you into an 0-2 count quickly. Then it's just a matter of getting the third one. Hitters may also be psychologically impacted; they're going up there expecting to strikeout more.

    Replacing a straight fastball with one that cuts, sinks, or runs is what has been main cause (along with decrease in PEDs) of the recent pitching era. Others like Sean Casey agree. In the 1930s, some guys benefited from the use of the slider before it became mainstream (I made a hefty post on this in a thread I believe about Lefty Grove). Because the slider was so rare at first, it really helped guys like Lefty Grove, Bob Feller, and Bob Lemon gain recognition. The same can be applied for the heavy reliance on a moving fastball instead of straight heat. Greg Maddux, Mariano Rivera, and Kevin Brown perfomred very well in tough eras because they were primarily using a pitch that wasn't as common.

    At least, that's my hypothesis
    "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dominik View Post
      what do you think is the reason for this?
      Here's one reason.

      PITCHERS WITH AVG. FASTBALL VELOCITY OF 95+
      2007: 11
      2008: 16
      2009: 24
      2010: 29
      2011: 35
      2012: ??

      Comment


      • #4
        What has happened to walks over the last few years. Maybe guys are just taking more pitches.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by brett View Post
          What has happened to walks over the last few years. Maybe guys are just taking more pitches.
          The modern philosophy in baseball is to see as many pitches as possible. That means more walks and more Ks. I know that sounds too simplistic, but if you think about it, its impossible to walk with less than 3 balls, and impossible to K unless there are 2 strikes.
          The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by brett View Post
            What has happened to walks over the last few years. Maybe guys are just taking more pitches.
            Walks per game, from Baseball Reference:

            NL

            2012 3.01 (lowest since 1988, if I'm reading it right)
            2011 3.10
            2010 3.24
            2009 3.45

            2005 3.24
            2000 3.75 (Highest since 1900; 1999 was the next-highest)
            1995 3.31
            1990 3.20

            AL

            2012 3.04 (second lowest since 1968)
            2011 3.08
            2010 3.25
            2009 3.39

            2005 3.00 (lowest since 1911)
            2000 3.75
            1995 3.75
            1990 3.37

            All the AL highs are between 1935 and 1956 (they were high then in the NL too). 1996 was the highest since then, with 3.79.

            It would appear that walks are currently trending down, not up.
            Patrick

            "Can't anybody play this here game?" -- Casey Stengel

            Comment


            • #7
              I'll write this and prepare to duck. As I see it, MLB is in decline, a rather steep decline, in fact. Many here know that I am an older guy, a Red Sox fan since before our WW II involvement after Pearl Harbor. That means I was rooting for the likes of Ted Williams and Tex Hughson as a Jackson Heights [Queens] NY kids firmly in the camp of "Yankee haters."

              I hope this doesn't come across as some old geezer downplaying everything that took place after 1970. That is not the case at all. In sum, here are some of my observations:

              1. In a United States that was largely agrarian, baseball was a natural, with open fields, undeveloped plots, even inner city lots that were untended and largely held by people to were absentee investors in city real property. The U.S. had rural socio-political collectives that made for ready sponsors of local teams. Inner city taverns, restaurants, liquor stores, delis sponsored teams that were walking ads for their trades; and with a manufacturing base, all sorts of large and small supply businesses also promoted baseball through sponsored teams. In short: it was lcal and national; and it was "home grown."

              2. Determined by largely geography, baseball was a spring and summber game, March through October [maybe], a time of year associayed with outdoors and fun in the sun. Kids not directly exposed to fields of play, innovated with stick ball, stoop ball, one-o-cat, SWAKO [strike box], punch ball ... maybe requiring a sawed off broom handle, a discarded tennis ball, or any rubber ball of the right size. In this sense, it was KID dominated, not at all influenced by alduly supervision.

              3. The entire land mass was a breeding ground for talent; and schools, high school amd institutions of higher learning just added to the organized base. With AAA, AA, A, B, BB, C and D leagues [MLB affiliated] the talent pool seemed infinite.

              4. The MLB game as we know it today began after 1900. I use 1901 as the start date. Others may opt for 1902 or 1903 because of rule discrepancies. Before that time, I consider "the game" another game altogether. This is NOT a knock on earlier players. They lacked equipment; their rules were essentially different; their wear and tear were different. To me, it's loke comparing professional cricket to baseball.

              5. At the highest paid level, MLB players "cheated" at every opportunity. It is fact that fans loved the guys who always sought an "edge" over the opposition. Pitchers and catchers had sharp belt buckles; spit, emory, Vaseline, shining waxes, dirt all were ground into the ball [often used through much/most] to make it move better and quirkier. Batters returned the compliment with nails, rubber [cork] and other foreign matter surgically implanted into customized bats. Batting had one basic cardinal rule: make contact and keep the ball in play. [In other words, don't whiff!]

              6. The slider is nothing new. It was the old "out-drop," a sinking curve with variations of "hard curve," soft curve, nickel curve, dime curve. Pitchers with hands large enough threw the fork ball; and others reversed arm release curve to produced the screwball, which was also known as the "outshoot." Contrary to much current opinion about fastball motion, a MOVING FASTBALL was always important. When I was a kid playing sandlot ball, old-timers discussing "hot" local pitchers were not impressed by flamethrowers, favoring the kid whose fastball "moved."

              7. For me, the Golden Age of Baseball [beginning to end of peak arc] was 1921 through 1960. WW II had an impact with lasting ripple effects that {I am convinced] accelerated the decline in the 1960s. Post War real estate development and the building of the Interstate Highway system absorbed lots of playing areas; farms selling off acres for further development consumed as many more; and larger lots per dwelling decimated what was left. It moved from being a kid's game to organized youth recreation, adult surpervised and adult sponsored. There is a difference.

              8. Little League has done a great deal of good. However, it helped to parse out even further a declining "kid" participation in the game: fewer teams, more competion for team slots. It also developed better young players at executing baseball games on shrunken diamonds; but that did not necessarily translate so neatly to regulation diamonds. Moreover, much adult "coaching" was not done by baseball-savvy mentors.

              9. The competitive nature of Little League, with media exposure and near MLB quality playing fields and lighting systems, seeded ADULT weaknesses in maximizing competitive edge: ringers called in for playoff rosters, big kids [who turned out to be older than league parameters] ... the kind of stuff that made pitchers dominate. In later generations, aluminum bats gave little kids a sense of bat speed [not really possessed] which was compounded by aluminum bats used in the NCAA. A 21 year old collge grad slugger could, feasibly, have been raised and groomed and matured in a greenhouse of aluminum bats.

              I look at the 2010-2012 rosters, and I see a decline in the game. First baseman batting .240 with 20 HRs and 120 Ks; scattered bench depth; endless turnover in total roster names and numbers. I am reminded of the WW II years and the seasons immediately preceding 1969. I see starters increasingly going fewer innings and yielding to specialists who seem increasingly to lack longevity.

              I love the game; but I am saddened by what my eyes are telling me. The finer nuances of strategic play have eroded, surrendering to all-or-nothing power play. Defensive play is outstanding; but an old cynical observation has held, since at least 1920, "Shake a baseball talent tree, and you'll find few gifted batters; but you'll be peppered in a rain of falling gloves." Even at that, glove technology had expanded, much as ballparks have been shrunken.

              We now have global integration and that's a good thing. I do note that some of the rising and upper tier stars in the batting game are Hispanic. I have an assured suspicion that it is because they are a generation or two closer to the old-fashioned American sandlot ball of 90 years ago.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by brett View Post
                What has happened to walks over the last few years. Maybe guys are just taking more pitches.
                http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/bat.shtml

                BBs are higher than in the 60s of course but still lowest in 30 years. the drop is rather insignificant though since BBs were always between 3.1 and 3.3 the last 10 years. the only time it was higher (3.5-37) was in the late 90s to early 00s.

                OBP is lowest since 1988. HRs are slightly up compared to the last 2 years though (not as high as in the steroid era of course).

                I think the pitchers stuff is a big reason. with the low zone batters could groove a rotational power swing to hit a lot of bombs. offense went up a lot so pitchers countered with the variety of moving FBs (the cutter in the last 5 years and especially the sinking FB which might be the most important pitch today) and an array of offspeed pitches. with the long big swings it is harder to adjust to this movement. I think this is also way they throw relatively straight late breaking ball instead of big curves. to the big curve you can adjust better with that big swing.

                Also I think umpires start to call the high zone a little more. not all the way up to the letters but at least they call more waist to belly button high pitches. this makes it harder too.

                we will see if hitters start to shorten up a little again to make more contact. for example this years giants are a team of contact hitters (exept posey and maybe belt) and they did well so far. I'm not suggesting the should become ichiro like slappers but maybe more gap power hitters with 25-30 bombs like joey votto instead of guys like bautista or granderson.
                Last edited by dominik; 10-25-2012, 11:46 AM.
                I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by honus14 View Post
                  …It would appear that walks are currently trending down, not up.
                  That doesn’t surprise me in the least. The reason is, it only takes 3 strikes to get a K, but 4 to get a walk. Couple that with the drive for pitchers to get that 1st pitch strike, and what you’re left with is a pitcher only needing 2 more strikes for a K, but he still has 4 balls to give up the walk.

                  I only have limited data for HS, but out of 10,890 hitters the 1st pitch strike has averaged 56.4%. If the ML percentage is anything like that, and I assume is even better, that’s a large likelihood of a K rather than a walk.

                  Again, this is only HS data, but of 1,858 Ks, 1,211 came after a 1st pitch strike, and of 1,053 BBs, only 250 came after a 1st pitch strike. If those trends are at least the same in the ML, there’s a 12.8 better chance of a K than a BB.
                  The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dominik View Post
                    …I think the pitchers stuff is a big reason.
                    That’s a pretty insulting statement to make about an “old time” pitcher. As a catcher active in the mid-60’s, I can tell you this. There were a lot of those guys who had pretty darn good “stuff”.

                    … Also I think umpires start to call the high zone a little more. not all the way up to the letters but at least they call more waist to belly button high pitches. this makes it harder too.
                    There’s a simple solution. Let technology call the strike zone and let the chips fall where they may.
                    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by scorekeeper View Post
                      That’s a pretty insulting statement to make about an “old time” pitcher. As a catcher active in the mid-60’s, I can tell you this. There were a lot of those guys who had pretty darn good “stuff”.



                      There’s a simple solution. Let technology call the strike zone and let the chips fall where they may.
                      This was not meant as an insult. some old pitchers could bring it too (reportedly feller and walter johnson threw upper 90s) but now they have more pitches and the pitching also is deeper I think. every garden variety reliever throws 95 now.

                      I'm all for technology but then you have to change the rules. if you give todays pitchers the de jure strike zone the league will hit .220
                      I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dominik View Post
                        This was not meant as an insult. some old pitchers could bring it too (reportedly feller and walter johnson threw upper 90s) but now they have more pitches and the pitching also is deeper I think. every garden variety reliever throws 95 now.
                        Bringing it is much less important than bringing a pitch that "moves" in some way. Back in the 1930s and I am sure, well before that], a catcher could tell you whether a pitcher had a heavy, light, live or straight fastball; and the pitchers' grip on the ball and the kinetics of his delivery pretty much determined the "type" to expect.

                        Pitching staffs may be more populous, but that doesn'y make them deep ... only crowded. As for "throwing 95," that covers a wide swath of possibility. If the ball leaves the pitcher's hand at 95, from the hitter's persepective, he's looking at an 87 mph fastball. A pitcher, with mastery of a moving fastball, will probably do better with an 85 - 90 mph ball that SEEMS to dance, flyaway, drop or ride in on the hands. With contact so discounted, and hitters swinging for the fences, a moving pitch will cut the quality of contact and add to the K's.

                        A heavy, staright fastball, for good hitters helps the HRs mount. That's just a matter of physics.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This one in my mind keeps geting overlooked. Posted it many times but never discussed much, the change up.
                          Been watching this game for many, many years and don't recall ever seeing so many change of speed pitches.

                          I think this adds to some of the other factors in all those strikeouts

                          At one time used more the older pitchers who had to resort to it because they had lost something off the fastball that they throw by some batters.

                          Now I see some of the younger pitchers using it often and some darn good ones for a young pitcher.

                          It all goes back to Warren Spahn and his cooment about hitting being timing and thje pitcher's job is to upset that timing, you don't have to throw 95+ all the time to get the batter out.

                          Makes some very good hitters look awfully bad at the plate

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                            This one in my mind keeps geting overlooked. Posted it many times but never discussed much, the change up.
                            Been watching this game for many, many years and don't recall ever seeing so many change of speed pitches.

                            I think this adds to some of the other factors in all those strikeouts

                            At one time used more the older pitchers who had to resort to it because they had lost something off the fastball that they throw by some batters.

                            Now I see some of the younger pitchers using it often and some darn good ones for a young pitcher.

                            It all goes back to Warren Spahn and his cooment about hitting being timing and thje pitcher's job is to upset that timing, you don't have to throw 95+ all the time to get the batter out.

                            Makes some very good hitters look awfully bad at the plate
                            I agree. but still if that breaking ball is thrown off a hard FB it becomes harder to hit because the reaction time is shorter and and players tend to cheat a little anyway.
                            If you throw 100 often an average slider becomes a weapon because hitters have to sit on the FB and then look bad on the breaking ball. you still need to bring it close to the zone but it is easier to fool a hitter with a breaking ball if he has to fear your FB.
                            I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dominik View Post
                              This was not meant as an insult. some old pitchers could bring it too (reportedly feller and walter johnson threw upper 90s) but now they have more pitches and the pitching also is deeper I think. every garden variety reliever throws 95 now.
                              I don’t think you quite understand the comparison between “then” and “now”.

                              Then – more than 60 professional leagues below the ML. Now – each ML team gets 1 AAA, 2, AA, and 3 A teams, not leagues. It wasn’t uncommon for players to play 20 years in the MiL because they simply weren’t ready for the ML, and as a result for the most part pitchers were much more seasoned when they came to the ML.

                              Then – 16 teams, and with the rotations they used 9 or 10 pitchers on a team was pretty standard. Now – 30 teams with 12 on a team. that’s an increase from 160 to 360. No matter what you think, the pitching is much more diluted.

                              Then - starters were expected to go deeper into games, meaning in later innings they were more fatigued. Now – there’s a fresh arm ready to go at a moment’s notice, and even if they weren’t as high of a quality, their freshness makes up for a great deal of that.

                              I'm all for technology but then you have to change the rules. if you give todays pitchers the de jure strike zone the league will hit .220
                              Why change the rules? All that would happen is, the “entire” strike zone would be available for a strike, much closer to the way it was in era’s past.
                              The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

                              Comment

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