Sabermetrics

Releasing Tommy John’s Grip on Pitchers

It’s about that time, isn’t it? The short period of time where we notice the rash of elbow and shoulder injuries to pitchers and look for answers in the usual places, like Tom Verducci’s columns (never mind that the Verducci Effect has been thoroughly debunked) where the “experts” are interviewed and say some variation on […]

By |April 18th, 2014|Injuries, Mechanics, Research, Sabermetrics|16 Comments

How to Protect Your Curveball

I was recently in Spring Training with the MLB team I consult with, watching a few pitchers throw, when a Pitching Coordinator came over and remarked to another pitching coach that pitchers need to throw high fastballs to protect their curveball. I asked the coordinator to expand on his statement, and he explained the tunneling […]

By |March 14th, 2014|Mechanics, Research, Sabermetrics, Video|1 Comment

On Velocity Being the Most Important Thing

I am fortunate enough to have a handful of acquaintances who work in professional baseball that I can freely discuss things without fear of dismissal. One friend of mine is a minor league pitching coach, who got in a discussion with me about velocity and command. The conversation went like this:

Him: You should see some […]

By |October 17th, 2013|Sabermetrics, Training|2 Comments

Does Throwing Harder Mean Throwing Wilder?

A common sentiment amongst pitching coaches, dads, and your regular everyday baseball fan is that if you try to throw harder, you will be more wild. I’ve written plenty on this topic about it being a load of crap, because the human body learns to throw a ball effectively and more efficiently – not “harder” […]

By |February 19th, 2013|Sabermetrics|5 Comments

Minor League Splits – Now Open Source

I made my reboot of minorleaguesplits.com open source over at GitHub. Due to too much going on in my life right now, I have decided to share the code with the public in the hopes that it goes somewhere.

https://github.com/kyleboddy/mlsplits

The world wants to see minorleaguesplits.com reborn. Take the code and run with it. I’ll respond to […]

By |September 11th, 2012|Sabermetrics|0 Comments

Choosing the Correct Pitch Sequences: Data-Driven Decisions

I wrote this email to the parents and players of our Elite Baseball Training program and figured I’d share it with the public. We use data-driven decisions to form our opinions here, rather than traditional groupthink and coaching platitudes.

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All pitchers (and parents of pitchers):

My fellow author at The Hardball Times wrote an awesome article 2+ […]

By |May 28th, 2012|Sabermetrics|0 Comments

Locating Up in the Zone – Better for Amateur/Recreational Pitchers

Pitchers at all levels of the game are told to locate their pitches in the bottom half of the zone so they can get hitters to swing over the top of the pitch and produce ground balls. As everyone knows, ground balls are the best way to prevent runs, since you can’t hit ground balls over the fence and it’s tough to hit them into the gaps for extra bases. Apologies to all coaches of youth, high school, and many college pitchers, but: You’re wrong. Pitchers should locate their fastballs and breaking balls in the top half of the zone to get the most success when competing against average youth, high school, and most college hitters.
Ground Balls: Be Careful What You Wish For
It’s happened to everyone – including me – you get a ton of ground balls, your defense boots the ball around, you end up giving up 1 or 2 earned runs but a plethora of unearned runs. When your coach comes and pulls you from the game, he says: “Nothing you could have done, kid. Defense just didn’t play behind you,” pats you on the butt, and tells you to get your running in.

Your teammates apologize for booting that easy ball in the hole, for not picking that ball at first base, and dropping that easy double play opportunity. Being a good teammate, you say “Ah, it happens. Get ‘em next time.” Then while running your poles, you reflect on how particularly unlucky you were that day. If only Bobby hadn’t lost that ball in the sun and Roger didn’t sail that ball from shortstop, you would have gotten out of that long inning. But were you unlucky? Think about it: You did everything you were supposed to – get a few strikeouts, not walk too many, and got a lot of ground balls. And what were you rewarded with? Hasn’t this happened before? What if you got fly balls instead? Don’t hitters swing and miss on your fastballs up in the zone – and when they make contact, don’t they often go for fly ball outs? How many home runs does the entire school have, anyway? Four? But what’s the team batting average – .380? Here are the two major reasons you want to get ground balls at the MLB level:

Sluggers often hit fly balls over the fence.
Defense at the MLB level is insanely elite.

Think about those reasons for a minute. Do either of those reasons apply to your high school league? What do you think the average HR rate on fly balls is in your league? I guarantee it’s not 11%. (MLB Average HR/FB rate.) We’ve already established defenders at the HS/College level are orders of magnitude worse than the Dominican and Venezuelan infielders of MLB (to say nothing of the local product), so why are you applying a heuristic to a completely different game?

Tons of data and a shattered myth after the jump… […]

By |May 14th, 2012|Articles, Sabermetrics|2 Comments

Making the Sabermetric Argument for Increasing Fastball Velocity

In talking with major league executives, I often tell them: “What would it be worth if you could restore the velocity of guys who are dropping off, or improve the velocity of organizational players?” They all respond with: “Oh, a lot. For sure.”

However, I never could get a dollar figure out of them, and I […]

By |May 12th, 2012|Sabermetrics|5 Comments

The Three Problems With Teaching Youth Pitchers a Changeup

The changeup is a deadly weapon at the major league level: Entire careers are made (Jamie Moyer) or destroyed (countless starters who couldn’t master one) as a result of the pitch. Change-ups are typically 10-15% slower than a pitcher’s best four-seam fastball he’ll use in a game and will have both arm-side run and sink […]

By |August 27th, 2011|Mechanics, Sabermetrics, Training|4 Comments

TangoTiger Fans’ Scouting Report

The Fans’ Scouting Report is a crowd-sourced effort to get scouting grades on all the players in MLB. Anyone can fill out a ballot of players for their hometown team (and others if you like) to contribute to the effort.
Baseball’s fans are very perceptive. Take a large group of them, and they can pick out […]

By |August 23rd, 2011|Links, Sabermetrics|0 Comments