Giving up the Count Advantage

Last night against the Angels, Hector Noesi served up another home run on an 0-2 count. As a fan, having a pitcher of my team give up one of those is up there with one of the more disheartening occurances in an individual baseball game. The count is as lopsided as it can be in favor of the pitcher. To go from that to the single most hitter-friendly outcome is a jarring, unexpected and sometimes crushing whiplash.

And since I watch* Mariner games and almost only Mariner games, I have a disproportionate sense that every 0-2 home run in the history of baseball have been given up by Mariner pitchers**. Perhaps you feel that way about your team too. But personal observation is a crude and misleading way to go about forming beliefs unless you want to look like a big stupidhead the second you run into a person*** with actual data.

* figuratively.
** Mariner hitters do not hit any home runs****, much less any on 0-2 counts*****
*** like me
**** untrue; see data
***** true; they’ve hit zero this season

Hector Noesi does in fact now lead the Majors with three home runs allowed on 0-2 pitches. There are nine pitchers tied at two home runs and 47 others who have allowed it once so far. No pitcher allowed more than three such dingers all of last season. Or the year before that. From the hitting side, Kendrys Morales is the hitting version of Hector Noesi, pacing the league with three 0-2 homers while a gaggle sits behind him at two and then a bigger mass behind at one. There are far many more people with zero 0-2 home runs either hit or allowed (including you!), but that’s far less interesting (like you!).

Let’s move a level up though and look at it on a team-wide scope and in a bit better way than just unadjusted totals. I went back to 2010 and used percentage of home runs that came on 0-2 counts instead so as to at least somewhat normalize for teams playing in homer-friendly parks or having played differing amount of games.

Pitching Team % HRs 0-2
Minnesota Twins 5.9%
San Diego Padres 5.1%
New York Yankees 5.0%
Philadelphia Phillies 4.8%
Atlanta Braves 4.6%
Data: 2010-Present

The best teams at avoiding such homers include the Pirates (1.9%) and the Angels (2.1%), making the Angels by far the team with the biggest spread between hitting and allowing home runs in 0-2 counts as you’ll conclude after seeing the chart below.

Hitting Team % HRs 0-2
Anaheim Angels 7.2%
Miami Marlins 5.8%
Chicago White Sox 5.5%
Kansas City Royals 5.1%
San Francisco Giants 4.8%
Data: 2010-Present

The least effective include the Reds (1.9%) and the Mariners (2.3%).



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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


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GUY
Guest
GUY
3 years 11 months ago

There is nothing more irrational and annoying than a 0-2 homerun. Being an A’s fan, I thought we were the only team that gave them up and yet doesn’t give up home runs. Clearly the name “Seattle Mariners” had left my brain for a spot.

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
3 years 11 months ago

“As a fan, having a pitcher of my team give up one of those is up there with one of the more disheartening occurances in an individual baseball game.”

There are so many more creative ways to phrase this. I would have gone with “being punched in the nuts by a mime.”

gfor
Guest
gfor
3 years 11 months ago

There’s something wrong with your chart. The number after “New York Yankees” should be something like 50.0%, not 5.0%.

A guy from PA
Guest
A guy from PA
3 years 11 months ago

question, if the Mariners have 2.3% of their homers in 0-2 count, wouldn’t that make asterisk point number 5 untrue? Obviously they have at least 1 if their % isn’t 0.

hark
Guest
hark
3 years 11 months ago

As Matthew said, the charts show data from 2010-present. The Mariners have zero home runs on 0-2 counts in 2012.

Jon S.
Guest
Jon S.
3 years 11 months ago

This data goes back to 2010. Maybe he was referring to this year with the whole no homeruns thing.

Oscar
Guest
Oscar
3 years 11 months ago

How did you calculate the “% HRs 0-2” stat? Is it:

A) Number of home runs hit when the count was 0-2 divided by the number of total home runs hit (per team)

B) Number of home runs hit when the count was 0-2 divided by the total number of 0-2 counts faced

The language you used makes me think it’s A), which is open to all kinds of uncontrolled factors (e.g. a team with more 0-2 counts will have a higher score, which doesn’t tell you what you want it to). If you used A), you should consider revising to use B) instead.

Sivart
Member
Sivart
3 years 11 months ago

Great article to read. I like your format and style, it was amusing while staying brief.

WinTwins
Member
WinTwins
3 years 11 months ago

Shocked to see the Twins on top of any list that has anything to do with hitting homeruns.

Evan
Guest
Evan
3 years 11 months ago

I hate to be the bearer of bad news*, but the Twins are on top of the list for giving up this particular type of home run, not hitting them.

* I’m not sure if this is true

drewcorb
Member
drewcorb
3 years 11 months ago

As a Twins fan, it does not surprise me at all to see the Twins at the top of a list related to giving up home runs.

WinTwins
Member
WinTwins
3 years 11 months ago

Ooooh total misread. Yeah not shocked at all then. Keep pitching to contact, even when up 0-2. Good plan fellas.

Someanalyst
Guest
Someanalyst
3 years 11 months ago

That is some virtuoso asterisk work Mr. Carruth.

Brian
Guest
Brian
3 years 11 months ago

I think this article would have been better had it compared historical data to current to determine if there is a growing trend across baseball to throw 0-2 strikes (and try to put the ball in play) versus throwing that nasty 0-2 ball that if the batter doesn’t swing, it is just 1-2.

Because it lacks this, it is quite likely this is a fluff article much like the previous question postulating what the percentages are based on implies.

Michael F
Guest
Michael F
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t really think of the Braves, Twins, or Padres as having hitter-friendly parks…

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