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« The Selective Dexter Fowler | Main | Tigers and Twins and Short Fly Balls »
Monday
May092011

Most Squeezed Pitchers

Most Called Balls within Strike Zone
(Data through May 8th)

C.J Wilson (TEX) has had a tough time with close pitches this season. According to PitchFX data, 59 pitches thrown by Wilson could have been called strikes but were not. Four of these pitches came with three balls, resulting in a walk.

Wilson's heat map indicates that the majority of these called balls were on pitches low in the zone.

C.J. Wilson Called Balls in Strike Zone 2011
(Click to enlarge)

Umpires tend to have a tougher time consistently calling pitches on the top and bottom of the zone due to the fact that player height slightly alters the zone. Wilson typically locates the majority of his pitches low in the zone, so it's not that surprising to find him near the top of this list.

It's one thing to lose a strike in the middle of a count. However, it hurts a bit more when the missed call comes with two strikes. Here are the leaders for missed called strikes with two strikes on the batter.

Called Balls in Strike Zone w/ Two Strikes
(Data through May 8th)

Basically, these pitchers missed a chance at notching a strike out looking. Of course, they could have still gotten the K later in the AB. However, the walk column shows how many times they missed a K with a full count. Instead of gaining an out, the missed call resulted in a free base for the opposing team. And in case you're wondering, two players did so with a bases loaded full count this season resulting in a run: Joakim Soria (KC) and Jim Johnson (BAL) walked in one run each due to a pitch called a ball within the strike zone.

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Reader Comments (5)

Have you been able to backtest this at all to see whether or not pitchers who were squeezed the most over the first 5 weeks of the season remain near the top of the list by year's end? I'd be curious to know whether or not this is a product of the way certain pitchers' pitches look from the angle of the ump, or if this sort of thing works its way back to a mean. Either way, great work!

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I watch all of CJ's games, and last night against the A's. the ump, Gerry Davis, wouldn't call anything low a strike. I can think of at least one other ump that really squeezes CJ, but other umps, I don't notice anything out of the ordinary.

If Davis had called that game more evenly (no one is perfect), the Rangers probably win that game.

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohnny Samo

A quick look at the data from 2010 shows that many pitchers squeezed early in 2010 ended up near the top of the list by year's end. Of the top 10 squeezed in April last season, 3 remained in the top 10 by the end of the year, and 6 remained in the top 20. So there was some movement, but also enough data to indicate certain pitchers consistently lost calls.

May 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterJonathan Scippa

how do you make the heat maps from Pitch f/x data?

May 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrooks

You can visit the BA forum to discuss this blog post in more detail:
http://www.baseballanalytics.org/analytics-forum/post/1488010?SSScrollPosition=0</A>

May 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMLB Heat

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