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  1. Wow, how relieving is it to see OSwing%, and Contact% which such high year-to-year correlation. I was literally holding my breath.

    I don’t know why i haven’t seen HR/FB yet, that seems like an awesome measure of power. That coupled with Contact% and FB/(FB+GB) should make for a pretty good HR projection system, right? Or does HR/FB not correlate well, year-to-year?

    Finally, last question, it doesn’t seem that Contact% and OSwing% correlate very well with each other. Maybe that’s in the study you did last year (you should link to it in this story). Does that seem right?

    These pitch-by-pitch studies are the most interesting right now, and i think your approach so far has been elegant. I’ve been waiting for this entry since last spring when you did the initial studies.

    Thanks Dave!

    Comment by Jacob — December 21, 2006 @ 2:24 pm

  2. I was pretty happy myself to see OSwing and Contact correlated so highly from year to year. HR/FB from ’05-’06 has about a .61 r^2. I don’t know off the top of my head what other “power stats” look like from year to year, but HR/FB seems as good a quick measure of power as any.

    The thing about HR/FB is you have guys like Jacque Jones who have a very high HR/FB, but fail to get the ball in the air on a consistent basis. I feel that it suggests untapped power better than some of the other metrics.

    You’re correct that OSwing and Contact have pretty much no correlation. They’re two entire separate skill sets.

    Anyway, glad you’re enjoying the pitch-by-pitch articles. I’ll continue to roll them out occasionally. I’d like to start up the Daily Graphing series again if I find the time, which will end up containing some more player specific pitch data.

    Comment by David — December 21, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

  3. What is the current league average and range in OSwing? I just want to confirm that when you use the term “above average” or a “+”, the player is swinging at pitches outside the strike zone LESS often than the average, and vice versa. Also, when you give a “percentage” change or difference from the average, is it the actual number of percentage points from the average within the range?

    Comment by Alan — December 25, 2006 @ 11:16 am

  4. Alan, the average OSwing in 05 was 20.33% and in 06 it was 24.29%. I’m not sure why it increased so much, but if I suspect it has less to do with the players, and more to do with the pitch charting. That’s why I decided to go the above/below average route.

    Anyway, when I say a player is above average I do mean he swings at pitches outside the strike zone LESS, as in “above average plate discipline”. The “percentage” change is just the difference in OSwing percentages, so it’s not an actual percent difference, it’s the difference of the percentages.

    Comment by David — December 25, 2006 @ 11:40 am

  5. David, Thank you for that information. With regard to your last list of potential break-out power hitters, how far above average is Matt Murton’s OSwing%…?

    Comment by Alan — December 26, 2006 @ 6:57 pm

  6. Your article’s last paragraph states that it definitely would make sense to include these new statistics in a projection system. However, my understanding is that to obtain a complete player-by-player multi-year set of data, Baseball Info Solutions would charge a lot of money, making that ambition cost-prohibitive.

    Comment by Michael — December 28, 2006 @ 8:28 am

  7. Alan: Murton is a little under 2% above average in the OSwing department. I liked him a lot last year, and even though he didn’t meet my lofty expectations, I still like him a lot. If I put my prediction hat on: I wouldn’t be shocked to see him hit 20-25 home runs this year.

    Michael: It’s true that getting access to pitch location stats isn’t always financially feasible. But if you could get access to them, I bet it’d be possible to improve your projections model. How much it would improve is an entirely different story. There’s a good discussion on on how even the best projection models are only slightly better than a very simple system like Marcel.

    It’s possible that including pitch location data in projections could be better, but not cost effectively better.

    Either way, there are a number of major (and minor) baseball outlets who might be able to take a risk on the data. If ESPN, Fox Sports, or CBS decided to delve into it (doubtful), they wouldn’t even notice the bill. Maybe it’d even be worth it for BP or BaseballHQ? I know BaseballHQ had a series of articles this past season using 2005 location data for a few pitchers, so it’s at least on their radar.

    Raw pitch location data (2005 and forward) will be available for retired players on FanGraphs at some point in the near future. There’s a possibility some current aggregate stats (like OSwing) will be available for all players too. Contact on the other hand can be calculated using Retrosheet event files.

    Comment by David — December 28, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

  8. David,

    Great article.

    I’m curious about Corey Patterson and his 5.10% increase in Contact. Given Patterson’s HR/FB slightly improved (11.6 – 11.9), can you conclude if he swung more selectively or that he just made more contact? Did his OSwing improve as well?

    You indicated OSwing and Contact have pretty much no correlation as they’re two entire separate skill sets. Is this true on a micro level or am I trying to connect too much?

    Either way, is it fair to suggest that Patterson’s increased contact rate is evidence of an increased skill? Given the high correlation of contact rates, is there any evidence that players who see a large increase in their contact rate continue at that higher rate in the future?


    Comment by J.R. — December 28, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

  9. Corey Patterson’s OSwing was considerably worse in 2006 than it was in 2005. He just missed the 5% change list and his OSwing is one of the highest (worst) in baseball.

    Did he shorten his swing up this year, because that would validate the increase in contact. I know he was working on that at some point while he was with the cubs, but maybe it didn’t really click with him until this year? He really doesn’t have any plate discipline, but since he’s fast, I’m guessing as long as he makes contact, he’ll beat out some of the grounders to first.

    I’d be interested in seeing his ’04 OSwing since his 2004 was more in line with 2006. Remember this is only 2 years of data and I’ll be sure to revisit this after the 2007 season.

    Contact does have a high correlation with strikeout rate, so for a quick and dirty answer, I guess you could ask the same question of strikeout rate: does a single year increase mean an increase of skill? I think more often than not, yes.

    Comment by David — December 28, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

  10. Fantastic research. What sabermetrics is all about.

    Comment by tangotiger — December 29, 2006 @ 1:09 pm

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