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  1. I thought maybe this would be an article about how Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine all had some very rough years under the age of 24.

    Comment by Tomcat — February 15, 2013 @ 11:07 am

  2. I’ve come to a conclusion – if your name begins with a J, you’re probably going to pitch slowly.
    Mamas, don’t name your kids John! We want entertaining baseball!

    Comment by Radivel — February 15, 2013 @ 11:13 am

  3. The fastest group seems to be composed of mostly starters while the slowest seems to be composed of mostly relievers. Perhaps relievers spend more time with runners on base, which would cause them to slow down their pace.

    Comment by Krog — February 15, 2013 @ 11:23 am

  4. I am also very interested in Pace, thanks for the good read.

    Looking through numbers in the past, it has struck me that there may be some organizational and even individual influences on Pace. The top three fastest pitchers per PA, for example, consist of Mark Buehrle and two lefties who were significantly influenced by Buehrle while coming up with the White Sox.

    The White Sox and A’s have largely been the teams with the fastest Pace for the past decade, while the Red Sox and Yankees have been the slowest. It’s not exact, but that’s generally representative of each individual year within the sample. It seems reasonable to assume there is an organizational philosophy of working quickly throughout the Chicago and Oakland systems.

    Comment by steex — February 15, 2013 @ 11:25 am

  5. Relievers that work slowly should be drawn and quartered.

    Comment by Mitch — February 15, 2013 @ 11:30 am

  6. Interesting article Jeff. However, I’m more interested in how effective a pitcher is than I am of his pace. A bad pitching staff will greatly increase the length of games simply because they give up more runs.

    Comment by AverageMeansAverageOverTime — February 15, 2013 @ 11:39 am

  7. I cannot think of a single reason I’m sad Valverde doesn’t yet have a job.

    Does his Pace include his ridiculous WWE walk out ritual?

    Comment by Dillon — February 15, 2013 @ 11:42 am

  8. Closers generally start with clean innings though, so they’re different.

    Comment by Antonio bananas — February 15, 2013 @ 11:45 am

  9. Great article, slow pitching doesn’t equal good results, just makes you wait longer to scream at the TV.

    Comment by Hurtlockertwo — February 15, 2013 @ 11:53 am

  10. Pace is something I’ve been looking at a lot lately.
    Just the other day I looked into pace and Kris Medlen’s approach. I would be interested to see a heat map of the quick workers compared to the slow ones, especially in 2 strike counts when the power pitchers may start nibbling. Medlen averages fewer pitches per inning because he’s the prototypical pitch for weak contact type of pitcher, as most of the other quick workers seem to be. They are mostly sinker/cutter/2seam guys that sit in the low-90’s and attack the zone in all counts. Would a fast pace help for that approach?

    The slow workers seem to be the harder throwers, and perhaps they are deliberately slow to aid the perception of their fastball’s velocity? The opposite may work for the softer throwers, as working faster may make up for their lack of velocity.

    Another Pace factor that could be interesting, but hard to track would be a pitcher’s tendency to change their pace throughout a PA/inning/game. I guess a DeltaPace, if you will. It’d be interesting to see the names of the guys with the biggest/smallest disparities in how quick they work. There are just so many factors with Pace, but I feel like it could all be pretty helpful info.

    Comment by Spencer — February 15, 2013 @ 11:55 am

  11. I’ve not seen him pitch live. Am I correct to assume his music is “Somebody Call My Papa (Grande)” and he is escorted to the mound by the lovely Papadactyls?

    Comment by steex — February 15, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  12. The author touched on an interesting point, noting that the fastest pitcher had a low BABIP, and the slowest pitcher had a high BABIP. Has anyone studied this? Traditional baseball thinking has been that the faster you pitch, the more ready your fielders are. It would be interesting to see if this could be quantified.

    Comment by GiantFaninDodgerLand — February 15, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

  13. But it could be defining on an individual basis. Time in between pitches isn’t as important as PA and inning, but it is still a factor in a pitcher’s approach.
    I think it is more aimed at finding out how and why the pitcher performed the way he did, and Pace could easily become a stop along the way in putting together a group of rates to find effectiveness.
    ie. This guy isn’t on the mound very long it seems, I wonder if that’s because he throws a lot of strikes. Maybe it’s because he’s got a great defense behind him leading to his low BABIP. Maybe he’s aggressive early in counts and gets early contact. Or maybe he literally doesn’t spend many seconds in between pitches. I think it COULD go a long way in defining an individual’s approach, and for the most part, I think it’s interesting that the groups displayed here aren’t entirely different pitchers from one another. That’s gotta be saying something.

    Comment by Spencer — February 15, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

  14. lol.

    the stats don’t lie though, so it has to be true! I’m just kinda confused that none of the “JJs” (Josh Johnson, Jim Johnson) made the list. So the names are allowed to start with J but ONLY if your last name starts with J too. Who do I need to call to speak to somebody that can put this into the next CBA?

    b2t: I’m surprised that Josh Beckett (see, J again) didn’t make one of the lists for slow pitchers.

    Comment by Dan — February 15, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

  15. R.A. Dickey is doing all he can to make for the length of time it takes his pitches to reach home plate. ;)

    Maybe Zach Stewart should spend more time between pitches.

    Comment by Detroit Michael — February 15, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

  16. But with the increased leverage of the closers innings maybe they “over react” when someone does get on base and slow down a ton.

    I wonder if you would see dramatic differences in individual pitchers pace with the bases empty compared to “runner on first less than two outs”. Maybe there are a few medium/fast paced pitchers who throw the breaks on hard when they allow someone on. (would also be interesting to see if the change in pace between “bases-empty to runners on” would have a relationship with stolen base success rates of the battery involved)

    Cool research, thanks.

    Comment by Al — February 15, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

  17. Prime candidate for this see Vogelsong, Ryan.

    Comment by Spencer — February 15, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  18. Zach Stewart will be probably be spending a lot of time between Major League pitches for the rest of his career. Like, months and years. Now that’s slow!

    Comment by Radivel — February 15, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

  19. Yeah its basically SP versus RP here. Jeff can you relist this for SP only (fast, slow) and RP only (fast, slow). As is, the data suggest that game situation dictates pace, not the pitcher.

    Comment by Pirates Hurdles — February 15, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

  20. John Danks would like to have a word with you

    Comment by Kyle321n — February 15, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

  21. Out of curiosity, is ice cream served at Comerica?

    Comment by payroll — February 15, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

  22. Nothing was better than a Halladay vs Buerhle matchup. No matter the outcome, those games would fly by.

    Comment by Big Jgke — February 15, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

  23. Agreed there is an org bias in Pace. Red sox had Buccholz (#1), Beckett (#2), and Lester (#12) all in the same rotation last season….I knew that squad was tough to watch….now I know a large part of why

    Comment by Scott Clarkson — February 15, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

  24. Also, check out the PACE leaders and laggards and then note the contact % of those two populations. you’ll see a lot of mid to high 70% contact rates off the slow guys and a lot of mid 80’s % contact off the faster guys (even just looking at SP).

    I suppose if you are “pitching to contact” then you are a little less concerned with getting a swing and miss/placing the ball precisely? Or perhaps placing the ball on the edges comes more naturally to the guys that work at a faster pace? It’s an intersting correlation for sure. is PACE a proxy for command potentially? I.E. if you are confident you can throw the ball where and how you want to you may take less time agonizing between pitches?

    Comment by Scott Clarkson — February 15, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

  25. Nice to see a couple jays at the top of the fast pace list ! Another reason they will be a great team to watch for once.

    Comment by purpleJesus — February 15, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

  26. “The Jays got rid of the slowest pitcher in the league and picked up the two fastest ones” is an excellent sales pitch to my girlfriend, actually, for when I eventually have to explain why I bought us tickets to 15 Jays games.

    Comment by Aaron — February 15, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

  27. Why don’t good hitters and high OBP guys get demerits for extending games? What about guys that like to work the count? Are they making the game more boring?

    Comment by LHomonacionale — February 15, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

  28. There was an article about this very thing on fangraphs. I don’t recall the particulars; it may have focused more on fielding metrics than on BABIP. No significant correlation between Pitcher pace and fielding emerged.

    Comment by AC of DC — February 15, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

  29. Batters that work the count and get on-base are good at baseball. We like watching good players. Slow pitchers are neither better nor worse, they just makes games take longer to watch.

    Comment by Krog — February 15, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

  30. I think the overall concept of this article is good, but, as others have stated above, the list combines starting pitchers and relief pitchers. Therefore, I think we are missing a good portion of the picture here since we are comparing apples and oranges to some extent. I think a better analysis would be to compare the fastest/slowest starting pitchers and then to compare the fastest/slowest relief pitchers. I think that would yield more insight.

    Comment by Matt — February 16, 2013 @ 10:53 am

  31. Additionally, the act of working the count or taking walks is a positive baseball skill that coincidentally also makes the game modestly slower. Disliking that would be similar to disliking one pitcher because he doesn’t throw as hard as another, making the ball take slightly longer to get to the plate.

    Instead, people dislike slow Pace because there is no demonstrable benefit to pitching faster or slower. The analog with hitting would be hitters like Nomar who have a long routine to carry out between each and every pitch, which is another thing many fans don’t like. It slows down the game without having an impact on the actual results of play.

    Comment by steex — February 16, 2013 @ 6:04 pm

  32. I was thinking about the same thing. Starters and relief pitchers should be in separate categories.

    Off the top of my head, I think the reason why starters are pitching faster is because they get into a routine and hence, will think less in-between their pitches. Conversely, a reliever will want to maximize their short appearance, and thus want to be as careful and meticulous as possible.

    That’s just a conjecture though. I have no real evidence to backup my claim.

    Comment by tbjfan — February 16, 2013 @ 11:32 pm

  33. hey look closers take a lot longer

    Comment by adohaj — February 17, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

  34. Wouldn’t seconds per pitch be even better at drilling down to true Pace? My thinking is that better pitchers are going to have shorter PA’s (less walks, more strikes thrown) which would tend to bias seconds/PA in their favor.

    Comment by Bill — February 18, 2013 @ 2:40 am

  35. Zito vs. Beuhrle used to be a magical 120 minutes…

    Comment by Deacon Drake — February 18, 2013 @ 9:03 am

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