Get To Know: F-Strike%

F-Strike% (first pitch strike percentage): The percentage of plate appearances (for batters) or batters faced (for pitchers) that the first pitch was a strike. This includes anytime that the count after the first pitch was 0-1, or anytime the ball was put into play on the first pitch of a plate appearance.

Why you should care: Getting the first strike on a batter significantly decreases the batter’s chance of success and likewise increases a pitcher’s chance of success.

Current Baselines
: The major league average F-Strike% for all players from 2005-2008 is 59%. There is very little variation in the major league average from year to year.

Batters: A lower F-Strike% is preferable for batters.
Pitchers: A higher F-Strike% is preferable for pitchers.

Links and Resources:
Hardball Times: The Importance Of Strike One (Part One)
Hardball Times: The Importance Of Strike One (Part Two)



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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.


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jlebeck
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jlebeck
7 years 8 months ago

D.A. says “Batters: A lower F-Strike% is preferable for batters.”

I get where you’re going with this, but if F-Strike includes balls put in play (btw, do you count HR in this?) doesn’t it muddy the water just a bit? If a guy is thrown a strike on the first pitch, but rips the heck out of it, that shouldn’t be looked at as a demerit against the batter.

I think F-Strike% has much value, but it just feels like there needs to be more info to really utilize it.

Not sure I’m articulating what I’m thinking though.

Terry
Guest
Terry
7 years 8 months ago

S-strike% (second strike %) would be a more powerful measure-it’s the strike that really swings outcome.

Terry
Guest
Terry
7 years 8 months ago

If looking at a PA as a battle, it’s clearly strike two that dramatically swings the advantage to the pitcher.

Strike one is important because strike two can’t occur without it but as an end all, strike one isn’t the leverage event that F-strike% might suggest. Arguing that the first strike is more important to determining the outcome of a PA because of opportunity kind of obfuscates the reality that strike two is the sledge hammer.

Steve
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Steve
7 years 8 months ago

David, thanks for answering my email. Thinking about this a bit more, I wonder if you have the data for conditional plate discipline stats for when a hitter’s ahead (3 balls, less than 2 strikes) and when he’s behind. (less than 3 balls, 2 strikes) High leverage counts could show the finer skills of a player’s plate discipline as opposed to the aggregate numbers by themselves.

Steve
Guest
Steve
7 years 8 months ago

Gotcha. Thanks, David. Once again, thanks for adding the plate discipline stats for pitchers.

Mark
Guest
7 years 2 months ago

You got an article like this for every FanGraph statistic?

cpt. obvious
Guest
cpt. obvious
4 years 28 days ago

T-strike% (third strike %) would be the most powerful measure

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