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  1. I’m not sure what the implications of all this are, but it seems like a really interesting line of analysis. Ganbatte!

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — October 14, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  2. Interesting data. I’m most interested in vertical data Seems that the fact that higher curveballs are hit for home runs at an extremely high rate has little bearing here, since these are not % of all curveballs thrown, but just those not swung at. I must acknowledge ignorance of what point you’re measuring vertical: front of plate, back of plate, or where catcher receives ball? As you suggest, umpire perception may play a big part here. To the extent umpires can be influenced in what they perceive, catcher technique may also be operative. There is a bias among catchers toward receiving breaking balls thumb-down, fingers up-right, palm out. Perhaps umpires enforce that practice. I’ve always thought that the palm-up, thumb-left, fingers forward (supinated wrist), allows the catcher to receive the ball farther forward and higher in trajectory, with the umpire not losing sight of the ball. These factors allow a pitch to look better, and could lead to a higher % of low pitches being called strikes. Does your time devoted here allow you to analyze catcher technique? May be irrelevant, because the sample size using my proposed technique is negligible!

    Comment by Strike Three! — October 14, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  3. I wonder what the called strike rate for fastballs is if you exclude 3-0 pitches?

    Also wonder what happens if you exclude pitcher ABs.

    Comment by marc w — October 15, 2012 @ 12:25 pm

  4. Strike Three,

    I used Pitch FX data from the MLBAM website, so the location is given at the front edge of the plate.

    I agree with you that umpires perception has probably affects called strikes, and unfortunately I don’t have any information on the catcher’s glove position. Thanks for the comment though!

    Comment by Thomas Karakolis — October 18, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  5. marc w,

    3,414 fastballs were thrown 3-0 to righties during the 2011 season. 2,006 of them were taken for called strikes. So 3-0 fastballs get taken for called strikes way more often than fastballs at any other count. But, even if you exclude them fastballs are taken for strikes 18.5% of the time. Still not that much less often than curves.

    Just for a comparison, only 11 curves were thrown to righties for called strikes 3-0 during the entire season 2011 season.

    Comment by Thomas Karakolis — October 18, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

  6. Way too many variables here to provide understanding. I felt like Billy Bean in the batter’s box.

    Comment by james wilson — January 23, 2013 @ 2:23 am

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