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Entries in squeezed (2)

Wednesday
Apr182012

Getting Squeezed

 

2012 All Starting Pitchers through April 17thThe above shows which starting pitchers are not getting the strike calls they should according to PitchFX data.  Ervin Santana seems to have been royally squeezed in his two starts this year.  Here's a heat map of all his pitches that were called balls so far in 2012:

Total Called Balls = 87; Missed Strike Calls = 14 (Click image to enlarge)

Now take a look at last season's list:

2011 All Starting Pitchers (min. 500 pitches thrown to PitchFX strike zone)Justin Masterson is the one name that has reappeared in the 2012 top ten list of squeezed starting pitchers.  His name shouldn't be a surprise - he's one of many sinker ball pitchers that made the top ten for the 2011 list.  The high and low parts of the strike zone are often the most difficult for umpires to call consistently correct since they change slightly batter by batter.

Expect to see more sinkerballers sneak their way into the 2012 list as the season progresses.

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.