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Pitcher Pace (Time Between Pitches)

I’ve added a new stat to the PitchF/x section, “Pace”, inspired by this post over at Beyond the Box Score, which shows how much time each pitcher takes in between his pitches.

The way I calculate Pace, is by taking the difference between the start time of the first pitch in the plate appearance, and the end time of the last pitch in the plate appearance. I then divide by the number of pitches in that plate appearance (minus 1). Pickoff attempts are considered just another pitch, since they don’t have time stamps of their own. Anything that looks like a game delay between pitches is thrown out. The average pace is about 21.5 seconds.

My numbers didn’t come out exactly the same as the Beyond the Box Score post, but the ordering of fast/slow pitchers is quite similar. I’m not entirely sure what is the cause of the differences.

The slowest 5 pitchers are:

Daisuke Matsuzaka – 25.9 sec.
Matt Garza – 25.8 sec.
Josh Beckett – 25.2 sec.
Clay Buchholz – 24.6 sec.
CC Sabathia – 24.6 sec.

And the 5 fastest are:

Mark Buehrle – 16.4 sec.
Mike Leake – 17.6 sec.
John Danks – 17.6 sec.
Joe Blanton – 17.6 sec.
Clayton Richard – 17.7 sec.

As noted in the original article, pace seems like an organizational thing, which could certainly be the result of coaching. Buehrle, Danks, and Richard all started their major league careers with the White Sox and pitching coach Don Cooper. Even Jake Peavy trimmed 1.5 seconds off his pace with the White Sox this year. I’d say it’s worth researching further.