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  1. Minor quibble: the movements shouldn’t be added directly, but rather, in a Pythagorean sense (square root of sum of the squares), since that’s the way a batter will perceive them as deviations from a Newtonian trajectory. This said, that last knuckler had a LOT of movement, regardless of how you define it.

    Comment by Bad Bill — June 18, 2012 @ 11:52 pm

  2. Let’s not forget he slid back to third head first to avoid the third out and allow Ike Davis to eventually hit a grand slam. RAdical

    Comment by Ray — June 18, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

  3. Thanks for the note, Bill. That’s not something that even crossed my mind, honestly.

    I still had the sheet open, though, with Dickey’s PITCHf/x data. Looks like, using the method you suggest, the No. 1 pitch has the second-most movement; the No. 2, the third-most. There’s another pitch — with 0.7 inches of gloveside movement and 11.5 inches of rise — that would have been the movingest by that method. It’s an 0-0 pitch to Wieters in the 5th inning.

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — June 19, 2012 @ 12:04 am

  4. Dang, Cistulli’s on a roll!

    Comment by Nathaniel Stoltz — June 19, 2012 @ 12:06 am

  5. I’m off work in 10 minutes. Checking out this performance for sure. Cool article. His reaction to his own pitch is comical.

    Comment by Crash Jones — June 19, 2012 @ 12:32 am

  6. Carson-
    im a littel confused on one point:

    Your other article explained how “rise” was actually “lack of gravity induced drop” as relative to a spinless baseball.

    However, knuckle balls have zero spin. The pitch in the first GIF clearly drops, yet it registered as “7.5 in of rise”
    How is this possible?

    Is Pitch FX simply unable to properly calculate relative knuckle ball movement?

    Comment by cs3 — June 19, 2012 @ 1:02 am

  7. and by “littel” i meant “little”

    Comment by cs3 — June 19, 2012 @ 1:03 am

  8. To answer your question, it’s because of a slight misnomer.

    We like to say that Pitchf/x measures movement as compared to a spinless ball, or that it measures “Spin Deflection.”

    But this is actually a misnomer that is noticed only when applied to a knuckleball. What the measurements measure is the vertical trajectory of a pitch compared to what it would be if the only force acting on the pitch was gravity. Similarly the horizontal movement figure is the amount in inches that the pitch changes direction from a straight trajectory.

    Comment by garik16 — June 19, 2012 @ 1:09 am

  9. What’s funny is that these knucklers today aren’t that crazy. Last week vs the Rays, Dickey threw a knuckler with 14.41 inches of horizontal movement toward a left-handed batter and -5.827 of vertical movement (relative to what we’d expect only from gravity).

    And that pitch WAS IN THE STRIKE ZONE!

    Comment by garik16 — June 19, 2012 @ 1:11 am

  10. Very helpful, sir. Thanks.

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — June 19, 2012 @ 1:11 am

  11. @Carson no problem. In the comments of one of my old knuckleball articles, Mike Fast noted that instead of “spin-deflection”, the proper terms for knuckleball movement are probably either “drag deflection” or “non-gravity deflection.” I like non-gravity deflection myself, as it can apply to non-knucklers as well.

    Comment by garik16 — June 19, 2012 @ 1:22 am

  12. What I don’t understand is how knuckleballers don’t get an infinite point bonus on the watchability scores. Outside of Pedro, Randy Johnson, and Gooden in ’85, I’ve never experienced as much joy watching a starting pitcher as Dickey right now.

    Comment by JimNYC — June 19, 2012 @ 1:26 am

  13. There’s probably a bit of tension here between what’s most accurate and what’s easiest for a reader — even a smart reader, but one who’s unfamiliar with the finer points of PITCHf/x — for that reader to digest quickly.

    I know, for example, that the word “deflection” was a bit difficult for me at first. Like, I obviously understood what a deflection was in real life — like a puck deflecting off a goalie’s pads in hockey or whatever. The notion of what was deflecting the pitched ball, however — that was confusing.

    Do you think there’s any way to preserve the accuracy of Fast’s suggestion in a more accessible form? Or is it just a case, do you think, where it’s hard to condense the idea that much with less technical language?

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — June 19, 2012 @ 1:35 am

  14. Who would have thought Dickey would be the CY Young favorite?

    Comment by Condor — June 19, 2012 @ 1:37 am

  15. Well what’s easiest for a reader tends to be just describing it as “Movement” or “Break”. For Vertical Break, you can just explain it’s “Movement other than that caused by Gravity”. This is generally what I do.

    Comment by garik16 — June 19, 2012 @ 1:38 am

  16. Those are some clown pitches bro!

    Comment by Bryce Harper — June 19, 2012 @ 1:39 am

  17. Will there be a different PITCHf/x system for when baseball is played on the moon, then?

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — June 19, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  18. I did.

    I swear!

    Comment by I Agree Guy — June 19, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  19. R.A. Dickey has had everyone who has watched and/or participated in any of his games in the last two months shaking their heads. That knuckler has been ungodly.

    Comment by BurleighGrimes — June 19, 2012 @ 1:41 am

  20. To answer your question. Anyone in the Texas Rangers organization or fan base is looking at RA Dickey and saying not just WTF, but where has this guy been for the last 8 years or so.

    Note that the most notable thing about RA Dickey before this year is that he was born without a UCL in his throwing arm.

    Comment by Ira — June 19, 2012 @ 1:43 am

  21. That xFIP is surely unsustainable over the long term.

    Comment by Slats — June 19, 2012 @ 2:03 am

  22. Baseball: Where players have career years at age 37!

    Comment by Rippers — June 19, 2012 @ 2:09 am

  23. A friendly strike zone, it seemed. As if the ump was too lazy to figure out where the ball was when the ball crossed the plate; gave the benefit of the doubt to Dickey.

    Comment by Carloz — June 19, 2012 @ 2:09 am

  24. Nah, the system will work the same way, they’ll just change the movement calculation. Should be an easy adjustment to Lunar baseball.

    Comment by garik16 — June 19, 2012 @ 2:10 am

  25. 2 Questions, One stupid, one stupider, because there are no stupid questions:

    1) We the people get NERD points for climbing Kilamanjaro or beingBruce Chen.

    2) Would a vector of these differ?

    Does pitchfx assume a ball will go the full 60 feet six inches, and would this effect the calculations oh a 3 dimensional vector that includes vertical and horizontal movement.

    I’m curious if there’s a way to track the ball over 3 dimensions and time.

    Comment by samuelraphael — June 19, 2012 @ 2:21 am

  26. R.A. Dickey = Johnny Vander Meer, Jr.

    Comment by Jon L. — June 19, 2012 @ 2:27 am

  27. He has to be doing something unprecident here, knuckler aside. I can’t think of any pitcher going from bad/mediocre at best to Cy Young quality (In my mind means top 5 in league for WAR/xFIP/dips stat of your choice/etc) for the first time at age 37. Has this happened before? I understand the knuckler changes things as it is a pitch you can throw when you’re super old as it doesn’t rely on velocity but I’m just speaking of his performance in a general sense.

    Comment by WinTwins — June 19, 2012 @ 2:30 am

  28. It was so weird to watch the batters react to Dickey’s pitches. Many of them look like they’re right there, ready to hit, but the problem is that the pitches have no trajectory, so the batters can’t get their timing. It’s like trying to hit a wiffleball with a wooden bat.

    Comment by Jon L. — June 19, 2012 @ 2:38 am

  29. I think that if you aren’t rooting for this man to lead the league in K’s, innings and win the Cy Young, you have not learned anything about him or you have no heart. It should not matter if you hate the Mets with all your being, he’s the best story to come along in this sport in a very, very long time.

    I love Dickey!

    Comment by Ned Colletti — June 19, 2012 @ 2:38 am

  30. So how “fast” is Dickey’s knuckleball? I mean, I know it hovers around 80, but what I mean is, is it pretty fast or is it unbelievably fast? I’ve watched some of Wakefield’s recent games, for instance, and his seems to be under 70.

    Comment by Bip — June 19, 2012 @ 2:39 am

  31. For those who can’t rewatch the whole thing on mlb.tv

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?c_id=mlb&content_id=22397883&topic_id=28033182

    I like the third and seventh strikeouts in the video.

    Comment by Bip — June 19, 2012 @ 2:54 am

  32. Dickey throws at a variety of speeds. Prior to this year he threw knuckleballs around 73-74 MPH early in counts and finished batters off with knuckleballs that were around 78-81 MPH. He’d also occasionally mix in a super-slow knuckler (the Dickeephus) which normally is in the low 60s, but has hit as low as 54 MPH.

    This year Dickey is throwing the super-slow knuckler as usual, the slow knuckler at roughly 75, and is regularly throwing the fast knuckler in the 80s.

    Comment by garik16 — June 19, 2012 @ 2:55 am

  33. has anyone written a piece about how the knuckleball is the perfect game theory pitch? you can’t possibly out-guess dickey, because not even he knows where the hell it’s going.

    Comment by dudley — June 19, 2012 @ 3:15 am

  34. That and that he climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, admitted to being sexually abused as a child and that he cheated on his wife in his (ghostwritten autobiography), signed a 7.8 million dollar contract last year, and names his bats after mythical swords from fantasy books.

    Comment by Dunston — June 19, 2012 @ 3:56 am

  35. I think, the point about Dickey’s knuckler is that it normally does not have huge movement and therefore he can reliably throw strikes in comparison to previous knuckle ball pitchers. He does not want to throw those unpredictably moving balls, that could just go all over the place, he just wants a little movement to miss the bats but not enough to miss the zone…

    Comment by Mike — June 19, 2012 @ 5:00 am

  36. To be fair, WinTwin, he wasn’t bad/mediocre in a while. His era over the last 500 or so innings is under two, and like 23 of 24 of his last outings have been quality starts, the lone exception being a game in the rain. He’s been good for quite a while, since becoming a Met.

    Comment by Keith — June 19, 2012 @ 6:54 am

  37. Sorry era should be under 3.00 there obviously for the last 500.

    Comment by Keith — June 19, 2012 @ 6:55 am

  38. Someone has to address the elephant in the room – has anyone tested Mr Dickey for HGH (Heckling Gravity Hormone)?

    Comment by Kevin Martin — June 19, 2012 @ 7:25 am

  39. If you assume that they all go the same distance in the third dimension (60.5 feet or whatever), then answer maximizing the three dimensional distance metric is the same as using the two dimensional distance metric.

    2-D: d_2 = sqrt(y^2 + z^2), or d_2^2 = y^2 + z^2

    3-D: d_3 = sqrt(X^2 + y^2 + z^2) = sqrt(X^2 + d_2^2) (X = 60.5 ft)

    We can equivalently write d_3 = f(g(h(d_2))), where h(x) = x^2, g(x) = (60.5)^2 + x, f(x) = sqrt(x). But all of these functions are monotonically increasing over their domains, so it’s obvious that the same pitch that maximizes d_2 maximizes d_3.

    Comment by John Thacker — June 19, 2012 @ 7:40 am

  40. Or O’s fans…. :( Amazing show, though, I must admit.

    Comment by gobears — June 19, 2012 @ 7:46 am

  41. He’s one of the few pitchers in the majors who doesn’t have Dr. James Andrews on speed dial.

    Comment by smokeybandit — June 19, 2012 @ 7:49 am

  42. Maybe instead of using the “spinless ball” phase it should be “in a vacuum.” Without air creating friction all pitch trajectories would follow a path determined by the initial trajectory and gravity.

    Comment by atigersgrin — June 19, 2012 @ 8:50 am

  43. This is really interesting. In cricket you have swing and spin bowlers who thrive off movement. The really successful ones always appear those who, while able to make the ball move a long way, have mastered only moving it a little or not at all. Someone who can only get lots of movement, often gets a lot of press and have remarkable short-term success, but don’t make it long-term. In the end, it becomes too easy to sit back and pick off the bad balls. Dickey — and the really good spin and swing bowlers — don’t give you that option. Accuracy, with a hint of movement and the promise of more doesn’t leave the batter much room to figure out what the right play is.

    Comment by rjbiii — June 19, 2012 @ 8:57 am

  44. Dickey’s run is really incredible in the sense that I think it underscores how little people still know about pitching. I remember watching a Mets telecast in which Ron Darling said that many of the old-school pitchers (I guess 1950’s and before) pitched no so much with an emphasis on velocity (i.e. the classic modern 95mph fastball guys), but movement – palmballs, screwballs, other kinds of pitches that perhaps have since been forgotten.

    I think what Dickey shows baseball is that you can’t really define how a pitcher “should” pitch and that pitching always was and always will be much more art than science.

    Comment by MC — June 19, 2012 @ 9:02 am

  45. Thanks for the link. It reinforces how sad the state of hitting is in baseball now. Thanks to the steroid era these hitters grew up swinging out of their shoes to hit the HR with no concept of how to change your swing with 2 strikes, shorten up and put the ball in play.

    Watch the video and look at every single hitter pulling their head out and almost falling down swinging. Not one is looking at the bat hitting the ball. Little league coaches everywhere are spitting up their coffee, because none of these batters have the basic little league fundamental of putting the ball in play with 2 strikes.

    Comment by Fatbot — June 19, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  46. Looks like he needs to find a catcher who can catch the knuckleball.

    Comment by Sandy — June 19, 2012 @ 9:38 am

  47. Bring back Doug Mirabelli!

    Comment by Johnny Hummusbeard — June 19, 2012 @ 9:56 am

  48. Can’t wait to see how he does against the streaking Bombers. Thr ultimate test of RA’s pitch.

    Comment by Josh — June 19, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  49. What a load. Hitting is no different now than it was years ago.

    Comment by Matt Mosher — June 19, 2012 @ 10:11 am

  50. Have you actually tried hitting a whiffle ball with a wooden bat? Sure it’s hard *at first*, but if you adjust your swing and shorten up, keep your head on it and eyes on contact, it becomes easy.

    Now understand — these hitters are supposed to be the best in the world, they are in major league baseball. If they can’t hit a whiffle ball with a wooden bat, they shouldn’t be paid millions of dollars.

    Of course, they are paid because they hit HR, not to make contact, which is the problem here. So not one adjusted their approach of their swing like a professional hitter should. Same as hitters who refuse to change against a shift, it’s pathetic.

    Giving Dickey credit here is akin to giving a team credit if an opposing player misses a free throw. Like the NBA not having the fundamental skill to make a free throw, batters today lack basic fundamentals. It’s why RA Dickey looks like a Cy Young instead of Tim Wakefield.

    Comment by Fatbot — June 19, 2012 @ 10:13 am

  51. I feel like his reaction to that last pitch is less “whoa, that one even surprised me” and more “whew, that was almost the equivalent of a hung change-up… thank God that thing is wigglin’ because it was almost tee’d up”

    Comment by RobDiablo44 — June 19, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  52. Minor Quibble as well –

    Neither method is exact. The ball won’t travel directly left/right, then up/down, but it also won’t be a direct line between the start and end point – it will arc. It will usually be between the two values, but not always.

    Consider a bowling ball. If I release it one arrow to the right of center, and it is pushed close to the gutter before spinning back to the center pin, the net movement is zero, but the actual distance moved is not.

    Comment by Jim — June 19, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  53. Grandpa learned how to use the computer finally.

    Comment by Franco — June 19, 2012 @ 10:55 am

  54. Thole has his defensive issues, but he’s actually the best at catching Dickey and much better than most of the Sox catchers with Wakefield.

    Comment by Franco — June 19, 2012 @ 11:00 am

  55. I’m not sure why you didn’t make the gif of the 2-2 knuck he threw to Steve Pearce, striking him out for the second out in the 8th. I don’t care what pitch f/x claims as movement, that pitch was unhittable unless, maybe, if one had squared up to bunt it. And even then…

    Well, see for yourself at the 1:04 mark

    Comment by LowcountryJoe — June 19, 2012 @ 11:01 am

  56. Looks like Mark Reynolds decided to post a reply. Strikeouts? “So what”…

    Comment by Fatbot — June 19, 2012 @ 11:08 am

  57. When they show that in Tampa Bay, for instance, he threw like 100 knuckle balls and 6 fastballs, it’s easy to think he’s more or less a 1-pitch pitcher. But he’s got at least 3 different knuckleballs. The fast knuckle, the knuckle change, and the Dickeephus. I don’t think it’s accurate to call all of these pitches simply knuckleballs.

    Comment by ZenMadman — June 19, 2012 @ 11:17 am

  58. Do some research before posting please. Have you looked at MLB league-wide K%? Do you know hitters are striking out more now than ever in history? 2008-2012 is the greatest strikeout range in the history of baseball. I assume like the hitters of today you are too lazy, so here’s the link:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=0&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=1871&ind=0&team=0,ss&rost=0&age=0&players=0&sort=9,d

    Thanks to growing up in the steroid era, hitters approach is home run or strike out now. But you can keep thinking that RA Dickey is the greatest knuckleballer in history if it makes you feel better.

    Comment by Fatbot — June 19, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  59. People need to realize that R.A. has been very good for the two seasons preceding this one. This did not come out of nowhere. The Ks obviously make a massive difference, and he is better now because of them, but he didn’t go from bad or just serviceable to ace caliber overnight. He has slowly been refining his use of the knuckleball over the last three seasons.

    Comment by nitro2831 — June 19, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  60. One thing to keep in mind is that FIP in general doesn’t work for knuckleballers.

    Comment by JimNYC — June 19, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  61. I seriously wonder if the proverbial powers that be would even allow Dickey to pitch in the All-Star Game for that reason. Perhaps only if the manager chose Thole for the team with one of his selections solely for the purpose of catching Dickey?

    Comment by reillocity — June 19, 2012 @ 11:35 am

  62. The closest that comes to mind is Spud Chandler, who went from nothing special to one of the best pitchers in the league at age 33… but that’s age 33.

    Comment by JimNYC — June 19, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  63. Do you know hitters are striking out more now than ever in history? 2008-2012 is the greatest strikeout range in the history of baseball.

    You’re sure the pitchers have nothing to do with that? Cause I’m not.

    Comment by Bip — June 19, 2012 @ 11:43 am

  64. OK, so you’re saying Dickey is a product of a generation of bad hitters – I assume that because his pitches are so different from a normal pitch he becomes even more difficult for a batter to hit it squarely.

    Currently, Dickey ranks here in the NL:
    1st in Wins, Winning Percentage, WHIP, Strikeouts, tied for 1st in ERA, 1st in WPA, tied for 4th in fWAR, 7th in K/9, 12th in BB/9, 5th in K/BB, 3rd in K% and 3rd in Batting Ave against.

    Put another way, here is how Dickey compares YTD vs each NL Cy Young winner (excluding relievers) since 1984: 1st in W%, 5th in ERA, tied for 6th in ERA+, 3rd in WHIP, 3rd in H/9, 5th in BB/9, 12th in K/9, 7th in K/BB. With two more shutouts this season, he’ll tie for the most since 1988 (Hershiser and Gooden each had 8, Scott had 5). And he’s 3rd in Age behind Clemens and Johnson.

    Tell me again how he’s not really that good?

    Comment by Dave I — June 19, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  65. I’m curious more about velocity than movement. Is RA Dickey’s knuckleball significantly faster than others’, and if so, does that explain his mostly unprecedented success?

    Comment by Daniel — June 19, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  66. Yes, they generally beat their FIP or xFIP due to weaker than expected contact, and thus a lower BABIP.

    Comment by TFINY — June 19, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  67. @Dave I; While I agree with your point, using WPA for a starting pitcher tells us only how his own offense did, and not how he pitched. If he struck out three in an inning, or walked three and then got three line drive outs at the warning track, his WPA would be the exact same. While a useful stat for relievers, it only WPA only changes when there is a run or the inning ends, and does not account for how the inning ends.

    Comment by TFINY — June 19, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

  68. 63:5 K:BB ratio over his last 48.2 IP… I think he knows where it’s going

    Comment by kevinguy — June 19, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

  69. I wish Pitch F/x would come up with a system to measure the movement of a pitch halfway to the plate (30 ft 3 inches), and then compare the difference between the release point, to the halfway point, to the end point. A knuckleball is a perfect example of how measuring the Net Movement does not do the pitch justice. Look at GIF #2, at the halfway point the pitch was at the batter’s collar bone, but the pitched ended at his knees.

    A measurement like this would also be interesting to see for other big moving pitches (12-6 Curve, Cutter, Splitter et al), and it also would help to accurately show if a pitcher gets any late movement on his FB.

    Comment by tenags — June 19, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  70. About four starts ago, the SNY crew were attributing his recent success to the development of the “rising” knuckler. There was an inning where the on-field reporter for SNY, Kevin Burkhardt, was repeating to Gary Cohen what was said to him by Mike Nickeas, about what the rising knuckler looks like as it tries to catch it. In one of the following games they mentioned that it was a pitch that he accidentally threw, and was able to repeat the delivery of.

    R.A. Dickey started his streak of 8+ strikeouts per game after this discovery. I’m pretty sure that pitch is the one in the third GIF, Where I’m going with this? I don’t really know, but Dickey is awesome.

    Comment by underscoremx — June 19, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  71. By bWAR he’s been significantly better (than by fWAR) in the 2 years leading up to this. Now, I prefer fWAR in general, but knucklers have been documented to routinely outperform their peripherals, so by bWAR’s standard Dickey has been a borderline All-Star pitcher since 2010, and totally otherworldly this year. We’re not talking about a worst to first scenario here, but a guy who has obviously improved piece by piece since he started throwing the knuckleball.

    Comment by BurleighGrimes — June 19, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  72. Man, this is silly. Not believing that R.A. Dickey’s success has anything to do with Dickey’s work and evolution as a pitcher is unnecessarily cynical — more for you than for anyone else. Last night, Dickey became the first pitcher since 1900 (!!) to throw back to back CG one-hitters in which 10 or more batters were struck out. If you’d rather *not* enjoy that feat b/c of some hare-brained belief that his success is entirely due to how bad hitters are nowadays, that’s your prerogative…but it’s kinda goofy (and sad for you!) if you ask me.

    Comment by BurleighGrimes — June 19, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  73. I like the “in a vacuum” suggestion a good deal, here. Earth’s atmosphere is pretty dense, yo, deflecting stuff all over the place, and I wouldn’t want to give it a raw deal just because it’s invisible to humans. It reminds me of that Evel Knievel rocket-car-over-the-grand-canyon trick, which involved a spinless rocket car yet did not quite maintain a parabolic trajectory.

    Comment by Steve — June 19, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  74. That type of information is actually calculated by pitchF/X. It uses a nine parameter system to determine the location, velocity, and acceleration of the baseball during its flight. The method assumes constant acceleration, which means that there is no such thing as “late movement”, at least in the way that most people think of it. It’s not possible for a baseball to fly straight for most of the trajectory and then turn sharply at the end.

    Check out Dr. Alan Nathan’s page on pitchF/X for more information on how the system works and an analysis of the constant acceleration assumption.

    Comment by Jeremiah — June 19, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  75. The city block metric, used in the post, is as valid a metric as the Euclidean.

    Comment by Garrett — June 19, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  76. I think it’s how he varies his speed and how he’s pretty accurate with his knuckler.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 19, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  77. Pretty sure pitchers in general throw harder now than ever before, especially bullpen guys. There is a lot less of an emphasis on pitching to weak contact than there was before. All the DIPS and FIP findings mean that more focus is on missing bats.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — June 19, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  78. Shouldn’t a constant acceleration assumption be untrue for a knuckleball, which would dart around after encountering masses of air on its way to the plate, as opposed to accelerating due to an unchanging rate of spin on the ball as in other pitches?

    Comment by Steve — June 19, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  79. True, but the bowling pins are inanimate incapable of sight. The net movement on a knuckle ball that goes 2 inches to the right then comes 2 inches back may be zero, but the point of that pitch is that to the batter, it looks like it’s out of the strike zone before it comes back in. The idea is that if you throw a bunch of pitches that move different amounts, but all potentially cross the strike zone, you end up with baffled batters and 1-hit games. The total amount the ball moves is important, the net movement is not.

    Comment by O-Dogg — June 19, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  80. A true measurement of the movement requires time as a variable and how the ball moves in all three axes. One needs to consider that the batter not only has to predict the vertical and horizontal location, he must also know when the ball crosses the area of hittable space (~40 degrees of the baters swing). It would seem logical that the rate of decelartion is not constant for a knuckleball adding this third hitting variable. A true measure would use his angle of release and instantaneous intial velocity to create a normal tragectory. At time intervals between release and catch the RMS of the deviation of the pitch from a normal pitch of each the x,y, and z axis should be added either in each direction or as a unitless sum. Ideally the time interval would approach zero (limit as delta t ->0). i think some calculus may be required.

    Comment by Dan — June 19, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

  81. Yah, they should totally choke up on the bat and slap some hits into the infield. What could possibly go wrong other than grounding out weakly and getting a ton of infield flies that are basically sure outs?

    Comment by B N — June 19, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  82. It was a big strike zone, but it was applied pretty evenly to both sides.

    Comment by Simon — June 20, 2012 @ 5:17 am

  83. Curious then why Tim Wakefield looked like Tim Wakefield rather than a Cy Young candidate. Did all the batters forget all their fundamentals over the last year or so?

    Comment by Simon — June 20, 2012 @ 5:19 am

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