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Entries in New York Mets (15)

Friday
May132011

David Wright vs. Righties (ESPN.com)

Mark Simon (ESPN.com) takes a close look at David Wright's issues vs. Righties...

...Wright's ability to hit line drives against right-handed pitchers has gone down by a considerable amount, according to our pitching/hitting evaluation tools. 

From the start of 2009, to the end of July, 2010, Wright averaged a line drive for every four balls with which he makes contact (again, including homers) against right-handed pitching. 

Since then, he's averaging a line drive every six balls times he made contact against righties.  

Click here for the complete story.

Thursday
May122011

Which Pitchers are Really Getting Squeezed?

Earlier in the week we took a look at which pitchers have been squeezed the most based on total pitches called balls within the PitchFX established strike zone.  While it appeared that pitchers like C.J. Wilson (TEX) and Jon Niese (NYM) have been getting a tight strike zone, the truth is that these pitchers tend to stay around the strikezone with the majority of their pitches.  In fact, C.J. Wilson leads the league in called strikes within the strike zone:

(Data from all 2011 games through May 10th)

So in reality, while pitchers like Wilson do lose a lot of called strikes on the borders, it's mostly a product of the volume of pitches they locate there.  In fact, through Tuesday, Wilson was leading all pitchers in total called strikes, regardless of location, with 194.

If we really want to see which pitchers have had a tough time getting calls from umps, we need to look at the percentage of called strikes out of all taken pitches within the strike zone.

 (Data from all 2011 games through May 10th - Min. 40 taken pitches in the strike zone)

Wilson still cracks the top 50, but he's far from the most squeezed pitcher in the league.  Mariners' closer Brandon League is not getting the majority of close calls so far this season.  The league average for called strikes in the PitchFX defined strike zone has been around 77%, meaning umpires have called 23% of pitches in the zone balls.  Of course, the majority of these are borderline pitches as the following graphic shows:

All MLB Called Balls in Strike Zone
(Click to enlarge)

League's missed strikes consist of 18 pitches, the majority of which were thrown to the bottom of the zone.  Batters have taken only 42 total strike zone pitches against him, so his "squeeze rate" is mostly a product of small sample size.  However, when we filter the list down to starters....

(Data from all 2011 games through May 10th)

Among starters, Wilson and Niese still near the top of the list of pitchers getting squeezed. And perhaps Nelson Figueroa would still be pitching in Houston if we had robot umpires.

So we've seen which pitchers have not gotten the majority of close calls so far this season.  In an upcoming post, we'll look at pitchers that have benefited most from expanded strike zones.

Wednesday
May042011

Expanded Strike Zones

Most Called Strikes Outside of the Zone

While Daric Barton (OAK) tops the list, Ike Davis (NYM) has endured more strike three calls on pitches located outside of the zone (9) this season as determined by PitchFX. Arizona's Stephen Drew comes in second with 6.

Of course, you must consider volume when reviewing players' ball/strike data. While Daric Barton leads the league in taken called strikes outside of the strike zone, he also ranks twelfth in taken strikes within the strike zone (86), and 2nd overall in all pitches taken (355). So it's not necessarily the case that umpires have been favoring the opposing pitcher over Barton. He simply takes a ton of pitches, increasing the chances of bad calls by umpires. However, other than Barton, only two other players in the top 25 in called strikes out of the strike zone rank in the top 25 in total pitches taken, Carlos Santana (CLE) with 352 and Mark Teixeira (NYY) with 301.

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