Grant posted a very similar post looking at each hitter over at mccovey chronicles, with the addition of pitch f/x graphics. Looking at locations, it actually looks like Mad Bum was pitching better than people realized, at least for several of the at-bats. Also, according to Grant’s post, the Delmon Young hit was off a slider.
Hm, yeah, looks like it was a slider to Young — it looked like a FB to me, so whoops. Not a whole heck of a lot of movement to it, but I can see it now.
And I definitely agree that he was pitching a lot better than his final line looks. He got ahead in almost every count and had really nice velocity; it wasn’t until the end of the inning when he seemed to get flustered and pitch kinda “meh”.
Pounding the zone is generally considered a good thing, especially when you have a 94 MPH fastball with a deceptive delivery and decent offspeed stuff. The Twins were lucky as hell last night, and that’s pretty much all that needs to be said. I was at the game, and while there were a few hard-hit liners, most of that inning was groundballs that found holes and a couple fly balls that just eluded outfielders. Nothing was going at a fielder, though the defense certainly wasn’t helping in that regard. Looking at the play log, there were two liners, two flies, and the rest were grounders. That does not scream eight hits. Perhaps the most obvious BABIP lesson was when Mota ended the first one a lineout to 2B that allowed Hall to double up the runner at first. That was hit just as hard as anything else, but right at someone.
Bumgarner was fine. He had pretty good location, great stuff, he just got really unlucky. I’m more afraid that he’s going to draw the same conclusion you did, and stop throwing so many pitches in the zone because of this, which would hurt his walk and strikeout rates and perhaps do some real, permanent damage.
It’s not so much about throwing too many strikes — it was more about getting too much of the plate with too many pitches (especially once he got ahead in the count). He wasn’t working the corners very well, and left lots of pitches over the middle.
That was the point I was trying to make, but exaggerated for a tad of humor there.
It seems to me that the factors controlling BABIP should be amended to add hitting. As you mentioned, Mauer did a good job of hitting a good pitch. Also, regression of the luck portion of BABIP is indeed passive.
I’ve watched several of Bumgarner’s starts this year, and he’s been squeezed by the ump more than once. I don’t know anything about the ump in last night’s game, but Kruk and Kuip mentioned he’s one of the best hitters umps in the league.
My point is, first pitch of the game was a perfectly thrown ball – right on the outside corner at the knees, and it was called a ball. I think that got into his head early and made him think he needed to get more of the plate to get any strikes called and ended up getting TOO much of the plate.
If you look at it from a macro level, there does not appear to be anything to see. Bumgarner’s career ERA is 3.38. His career FIP is 3.39. He has given up many more line drives this year than previously, and his BABIP is up.
It is interesting that Bumgarner’s LOB rate is way off this year. He has been horrid with runners on in 2011, after being very good in this department in 2010 and 2009. Is there anything mechanical going on when he pitches out of the stretch?
It isn’t a task requiring major insight or statistical interpretation to explain that a ‘strike zone’ pitcher whose curveball is flat with no tilt and fastball movement is gone will get shelled. The degree to which he was is a testimony to his accuracy, in my opinion. If you want another example drawn from performances earlier this season, just look at Baumgarner’s first and second start this year.
Add that to atrocious defense and a catcher who failed to see the bus looming down on him, and there you go.
On the postgame show on CSN Bay Area, Reis and Bip Roberts mentioned that the Twins had watched a whole bunch of videotape on Bumgarner. I tend to believe they either picked up on some very strong trends or else picked up something that tips his pitches. The Twins looked like they knew exactly what was coming and were teeing off with no hesitation that they might be wrong about it.
Here’s what I don’t understand from this post, and from Dave’s yesterday: If a fair portion of BABIP can just be chalked up to good or bad pitching, why do we even then believe in the DIPS concept at all? By that logic, a bad pitcher should have a higher BABIP, not just be at the league average of .300.
DIPS theory relies on looking at stats like BABIP over a longer period of time, like a full season. The post above is talking about factors that affect BABIP in a particular game. I’ll try to explain why I think the effect of those factors on BABIP in one game cannot be extrapolated to have the same effect over the long term.
The type of bad pitching that leads to inflated BABIP in a game usually isn’t sustainable. If a pitcher consistently leaves pitches over the plate and gets shelled, he’s not going to last. So any pitcher who will see significant time in the bigs will be able to make good pitches enough to avoid getting shelled all the time. This puts an upper bound on the variation in long term BABIP that can be due to bad pitching. At the same time, It’s simply not possible to pitch so well that hitters put the ball in play a lot, but all of those balls are just hit so weakly that they’re all easy outs. Some pitchers can pitch to contact and generate weak contact well, but if you throw strikes, major league players will get hits, and this reality can be seen over the long term. That puts a lower bound on the long term variation of BABIP that is due to pitching.
So, as you can see, a pitcher’s ability can’t have a very strong effect on BABIP over the long term. Factoring that out, that leaves the effect of defense and luck on BABIP, and both of those things are not within a pitcher’s control, so factoring out BABIP means removing strong factors that aren’t within a pitcher’s control and possibly removing some weak factors that are. For the most part, it works.
Honestly, sometimes the result of all this talk results in this community out-smarting itself. If you actually take the time to read through all of the comments as well as Steve’s article, you get THIS theme: BABIP = Luck, Pitch Effectiveness/Location, Defense and Hitting. effin’ stat freaks have their head so far up their behind that they don’t realize their “BABIP Formula” is actually the ENTIRE GAME OF BASEBALL. great job guys! real winners here!
“Bumgarner will likely be better his next time out and allow fewer hits, but not through some magical, mysterious means: it’ll be because he’s made adjustments and stopped throwing so many pitches over the plate. He’s normally a very good pitcher — and I’m sure he’ll continue to be one in the future — but last night he was simply too hittable.”
Nice work Steve. Looks like he made those adjustments! (I didn’t watch the game, though)
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