I think Burnett actually throws a ‘spike’ curve, but same difference. A question, guys like Molina, Posey, and a few others stop and ‘read’ the balance of the hitter, before they set the target. Is it possible to quantify that attribute in any more or less direct way.
It would also be interested to explore pitchers’ additional strikes and pitch height. Pitches in the dirt are obviously more difficult to receive than high pitches. Instead of looking at strike/ball differences, it would be neat to identify the pitchers with the highest rate of pitches in the dirt and correlate that to their extra strike percentage.
I like looking at the impact of pitch type – I’m not sure Mike Fast’s work in this area controls for pitch type. I’m assuming sample size starts becoming an issue if you have to control for pitcher and pitch type. Does anyone know for sure one way of the other whether Fast’s work controls for pitch type?
One other area that might be worth looking at is handedness (both pitcher and hitter). A catcher receiving a loaded lefty or righty rotation may also impact the framing #’s
Based on the provided gifs, I wonder if where the pitch breaks in relation to where it crosses the plate might not make a difference.
Since Burnett’s pitch has a much slower, loopy break, it could be that the pitch crosses the front plane of the plate “outside” of the strike zone but then sort of breaks back into what appears to be the zone (or bordering on the zone) when it is framed. The Zeigler pitch seems to break much later in relation to where it crosses the from of the plate.
I’m no expert, clearly. Just spinnin’…
Comment by Robert J. Baumann — December 29, 2012 @ 3:38 am
I think all the changes now look great!
Comment by Baseball fan — December 29, 2012 @ 4:07 am
Wikipedia does it best: “The first, more common pitch called the knuckle curve is really a standard curveball, thrown with one or more of the index or mean fingers bent.” – Which is what Burnett throws.
People also call this version a spike curve, because the “knuckle curve” that comes to most people’s mind is probably this: “The second type of knuckle curve is a breaking ball that is thrown with a grip similar to the knuckleball. Unlike a knuckleball, which spins very little, a knuckle curve spins like a normal curveball because the pitcher’s index and middle fingers push the top of the ball into a downward curve at the moment of release.”
A knuckle curve isn’t called that because it has the knuckleball’s trademark lack of spin. It’s name comes from the fact that you hold the ball with a modified knuckleball grip. And from there you impart the traditional curveball rotation.
Great work on this Jeff! I’m inclined to believe that umpire discretion and missed calls are a huge factor in this study. Probably magnified more so at the ML level because of the high quality of catching play versus that of the minors or college/prep ball. Thoughts?
“What isn’t controlled for in here are the counts.”
This whole article seems like a big miss than, as just last week we had an article showing how different the strike zone is in a particular count. It seems a big strange to ignore this.
Also, pitch framing is one of the things I’d love to see dissapear. How well a player fools the umpire into making an incorrect call isn’t all that interesting to me. Doesn’t seem very different than hiding the ball, or anything like that.