New Split: Pitch Types by Count

For pitchers there’s a new table in the splits section, Pitch Types, which shows the percentage of pitches each pitcher throws on any particular count. Here’s what the MLB averages looked like in 2009:

As you might have suspected, as the count gets more in favor of the pitcher, out come the breaking pitches. And typically, the more behind the pitcher gets in the count, the more fastballs are thrown.



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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.


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Bob Dylan
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Bob Dylan
6 years 4 months ago

This is genius.

ahope
Member
ahope
6 years 4 months ago

Geez, can this site get any better? Get stuff David.

DonCoburleone
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DonCoburleone
6 years 4 months ago

Awesome. So this is the kind of stuff that the hitters will look at before a game right? I mean this is basically the meat & potatoes of their scouting report on a given pitcher?

Patrick
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Patrick
6 years 4 months ago

All hail our Dave overlords…

Wow, Dave. That’s really cool.

Paul
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Paul
6 years 4 months ago

This is just nuts. Will that table show multiple seasons as the career table does on the other stats? Would be interesting to see adjustments made like a guy throwing breaking balls on the first pitch more often from his first to second seasons, etc.

LibertyBoy
Guest
6 years 4 months ago

Yeah, great stuff. Wonder if we will see a map of pitch sequences – maybe too soon to look for that next level.

Intuitively, I can understand seeing more changeups in 1-strike counts because the pitcher has probably established the fastball for that first strike. Immediately he changes speeds to look for that swing-and-miss. I don’t have the data, just riffing off the top of my head. No surprise to see more sliders in pitchers’ counts.

It’s like music, notes by themselves matter less than the melody as a whole.

Bender
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Bender
6 years 4 months ago

Very cool feature as usual. Are there any plans for the teams to have splits? I think that’d be interesting to see

Mark Davey
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6 years 4 months ago

Not really related, but this post reminded me about it. Does anyone know of a listing of ball/strike % thrown by count? Basically the same thing, but with ball/strike/foul/in-play percentages instead of pitch types? I am mostly interested in just seeing this at a league average level.

AK707
Member
AK707
6 years 4 months ago

Too bad this is a new stat that we can’t just mosey over to Bonds’ player page to get an idea of what the ceiling is seeing as it only applies to pitchers. Awesome stuff though. I hope it finds its way into an update on the evolution of lincecum

ML
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ML
6 years 4 months ago

Congrats. Another great addition.

Hank
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Hank
6 years 4 months ago

This is good stuff… now can you kick it up even another notch with pitch value by type by count? (or am I just being greedy?)

I think it would be phenomenal to see differences on a 0-2 fastball vs say a 2-0 or 3-1 fastball… it’s something I look for when watching young pitchers.

ML
Guest
ML
6 years 4 months ago

Would it be possible (or useful) to view the Percentage of strikes of the particular pitch in a specific count. Ie; pitcher a typically throws 0-2 curveballs, but never for strikes

PhillyFriar
Member
PhillyFriar
6 years 4 months ago

Fantastic, David. This is the kind of stuff that was on Josh Kalk’s blog before he got hired by the Rays (it was the Rays, right?) and took it down, and I’ve missed it since.

lanternx
Member
lanternx
6 years 4 months ago

Great stuff.

I’d like to see these splits for the hitters too. How often does Albert Pujols see a 2-0 fastball? How many 0-2 curveballs does David Wright see?

You could also start moving into a direction of how many changeups that Johan Santana throws on an 0-1 count are in the strike zone versus outside of the strike zone.

I’d also like to second the idea brought up by LibertyBoy of pitch sequences.

Bryan
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Bryan
6 years 4 months ago

Awesome. I might suggest putting total pitches for each count as another column just to show the sample sizes for each category.

Chris
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Chris
6 years 4 months ago

So basically, most hitters when the count reaches 2-0 can just sit on that fastball (unless fastball command is the reason for the 2-0 count). It’ll be nice to see how each pitcher likes to work the counts.

Joser
Member
Joser
6 years 4 months ago

That pretty much is the conventional wisdom, right? (Certain pitchers excepted, of course.)

pounded clown
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pounded clown
6 years 4 months ago

gold star

NRC
Guest
NRC
6 years 4 months ago

This may be getting greedy too (or maybe it can already be found on the site but I just can’t figure it out), but . . . .

Is it possible to see pitch type thrown to a particular batter per game or over a given time-frame less than the full season? Or, conversely, pitch type thrown by a pitcher per game or over a given time-frame? What about pitch type across the league to hitters in particular spots in the batting order?

The reason I ask is that Harold Reynolds on the MLB Network as been harping on the “fact” that Jose Reyes will see less fastballs in his new home in the 3 hole than he did while leading off. Reynolds’ point, I think, is that three hitters get pitched tougher than leadoff hitters (even when it’s the same player) because they (3 hole guys) get less fastballs. Hey, for all I know Reynolds is right. I mean, he did have 2,501 career PAs leading off and 0 hitting third, so he should know. It would just be kinda cool to find out for sure.

Woodman
Member
4 years 3 months ago

Where did these splits go?

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