Comment by channelclemente — November 15, 2012 @ 7:29 pm
Here’s my take on the lefty-righty discrepancy:
The called strike zone is centered on the heart of the plate for righties, but significantly outside of that for lefties. So righties have reason to swing on inside pitches, being less confident that they would be called balls. On the other hand, lefties will expect more of their outside pitches to be called strikes, relative to righties, and will thus swing more freely on those pitches.
Regarding the prominence of lefties and righties on the two lists, I had a few thoughts on some other possible explanations:
1) As Greg said, a systematic bias on the part of umpires toward calling strikes on the 3rd base side of the plate.
2) The PITCHf/x equipment might be recording pitches further to the 3rd base side of the plate than where they actually cross the plate.
3) Major league ballparks are generally more conducive to hitting home runs to left field on pitches that are either extremely inside or extremely outside.
It might be instructive to examine the top 100 home runs hit on pitches that are the farthest to each side of the plate regardless of the handedness of the batter (so LHB inside with RHB outside and vice versa).
We would then have to determine the relative frequencies of hitting home runs on inside pitch versus outside pitch home runs in order to weight for the fact that we are comparing skills that might have different degree of difficulties. I was thinking that this could be done by selecting a distance X from the center of the plate such that X is large enough for the pitches to be considered inside/outside, but small enough to get a decent sample size. Unfortunately I think this ends up being circular and suffering from the same biases mentioned in 1 and 2 above if they exist.
Comment by Little CANOlli — November 16, 2012 @ 1:54 am
If you want to get an explanation of the handedness discrepancy, I think it’s necessary to exclude park effects and LF/RF length variations. I would drop the ‘home run’ requirement and just look at fly balls over an arbitrarily chosen distance-say all fly balls over 320ft.
Comment by Breandan MacGabhann — November 16, 2012 @ 7:12 am