Monday, June 2, 2008

League Averages According to Pitch F/X

OK so here is the data. This data is up to May 27th and comprises over 198,000 pitches that have been recorded this year through pitch f/x. I hope to update this information at the end of each month to see if it varies much over the course of the year. I am also attaching the spreadsheet with all the data tables. I have all the pitches in one spreadsheet but that is over 141 MB large, so I'll just give the pivot tables that were created from them.

I decided to use the following pitch speed groups: 95+, 90-95, 85-90, 80-85, 75-80 and 60-75. Next month, I might break down the groups by more typical baseball numbers, such as 88-92,92-96 and so on. For now, we'll stick with this since it is done.

First, here is the results of the pitch by pitch speed:
So as you can expect, the majority of the pitches fall between 85-95 mph, with the most coming in the 90-95 range.

Let's go through different pitch result:

The ball percentage is fairly consistent throughout the pitch speed. Nothing huge there. The highest percentage of ball's in the dirt is the 75-80 range, which is most curveballs. Makes sense.

Notice the foul bunt percentage. We always hear fastballs are the hardest pitch to bunt while breaking balls are the easiest. The foul bunt percentage would indicate this. The typical fastball speeds have a higher foul bunt percentage than the typical breaking ball speeds, save for the 95+ group.

The balls that are hit into play are fairly consistent by pitch speed. No speed shows a significant difference when it comes to getting hits versus outs.

The lowest swinging strike percentage comes from 90-95 group. This is a typical fastball and goes to show that major league hitters can hit the average fastball. Notice the jump in swinging strikes with the 95+ fastball though. No wonder pitchers with big velocity are consistently give second and third chances in the majors.

Before we do the last part, here are the home runs by pitch speed first:

HR's by Speed Total Percent
95 + MPH 33 2.65%
90-94.9 MPH 380 30.47%
85-89.9 MPH 402 32.24%
80-84.9 MPH 243 19.49%
75-79.9 MPH 132 10.59%
65-74.9 MPH 57 4.57%
Unknown Speed 66 5.29%
Total HR 1247 100.00%

Pretty significant differences by pitch speed. Not many home runs on 95+. Could be a sample size issue, or could be a true indication that it is tough to lift those pitches.

OK so now onto BABIP, Strike % and Contact %. The BABIP is calculated minus the home runs.

95+ 90-94.9 85-89.9 80-84.9 75-79.9 65-74.9 Total
BABIP 0.339 0.321 0.321 0.323 0.307 0.316 0.320
Strike % 64.10% 63.71% 62.43% 62.07% 60.03% 54.20% 62.22%
Contact % 79.76% 85.24% 83.37% 72.69% 72.92% 78.03% 80.42%

I am a little concerned about the BABIP. The season average is usually right around .300. This data shows .320. Now not every play is recorded through pitch f/x because sometimes the system just doesn't work or doesn't pick up the pitch. So that number could be lower. Either way, that is what the database is showing right now.

Interesting to note that the strike % declines as the pitch speed gets slower. Breaking balls must be harder to control than the fastballs.

Lastly, the contact % is significantly higher between 85-95 mph. Again, confirming that it is easier to hit a fastball than an off speed pitch.

OK now that we know the league averages by pitch speed, we can look at individual hitters. I will do that over the course of the next month.

Here are the tables if anyone wants them: Spreadsheet


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Please link this site.

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