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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks


Winning the Corners

Jim Tracy installed Dexter Fowler as the Rockies everyday lead-off man.  Fowler's stats indicate he should thrive in the slot, as his strength lies in selectivity, not power.  His career OBP stands about 100 points higher than his batting average, indicating his ability to draw a walk.  Evidence exists that he can get even better at skill.

Pitchers work Fowler outside, whether he bats left or right-handed.  While Dexter is selective, he has yet to win the outside corners:

Dexter Fowler, taken strikes against RHP, 2008-2010.Dexter Fowler, taken strikes against LHP, 2008-2010.Right now, pitchers get the benefit of the doubt on the edge of the strike zone, most likely because Dexter tries to get calls inside the zone.  As he enters his prime years, a little more selectivity at the plate might gain him a few more calls on the edges, and a few more times on base for the big guns behind him.


Ted Lilly's Slow Fastball

Ted Lilly provides a nice example of what happens to a pitcher when he tires.  Note, first of all, that hits against Ted come in a very concentrated part of the strike zone:

Ted LIlly, hits off his fastball, 2008-2010.In that red area, his release velocity tends to be slower:

Ted Lilly, hits off his fastball, 2008-2010.Compare that to the outs he gets on his fastball:

Ted Lilly, outs off his fastball, 2008-2010.When Ted throws his fastball fast, around 90 MPH, batters can't handle the pitch as well.  When it drops to the mid 80s, they cream the pitch.  From looking at the movement of his pitches, the quicker fastballs stay up higher in the zone, likely preventing the hitters from squaring them up as well.  When Ted's velocity drops, however, the pitches come in pretty straight, waiting for a major league hitter to pounce.


The Best in 3-Ball Counts

Top 20 Pitchers by BB% in 3-Ball Counts (min. 75 PA)

Of course, simply limiting your walks with 3 balls is not an indication of success. You obviously want to avoid awarding free bases to batters, but you also don't want to do so at the expense of grooving pitches either. You can see that both Lee and Halladay were able to limit their opponents to around a .200 batting average (also around .300 slugging percentage for both) with three ball counts in 2010. Of course, they were just as successful when pitching with two strikes (Lee .220 SLG%, Halladay .243 SLG%, both w/ .161 BA). Conclusion: working the count on these Philly aces doesn't seem to do much good.