Monday, July 14, 2003

Patience

whistle)
...little patience, mm yeah, mm yeah
need a little patience, yeah
just a little patience, yeah
some more patience, yeah
need some patience, yeah
could use some patience, yeah
gotta have some patience, yeah
all it takes is patience,
just a little patience
is all you need
  • Patience, Guns and Roses

  • - Ok, I know it's a step below some of the other ones. But I don't go out of the way to find a song. They just kind of pop into my head while I'm writing, and then I check the lyrics to see if they make sense. The song really has no connection to pitch counts, so this was the best I could do.

    For those of us baseball statheads who read Moneyball by Michael Lewis, which I guess is probably all of us, one of the more controversial points was A's executive Paul DePodesta's assertion that a point in On Base Percentage is worth threes times as much as a point in Slugging Percentage. It seems as though most people who are really, really good with numbers agree that they are not worth the same amount, and that OBP is worth 1.5 to 2.0 times as much as SLG. But three times? DePodesta's increased number was based largely on the fact that guys who walk more draw more pitches, and more pitches means that the opponent's pitcher tires sooner, and allows you to go deeper in to their bullpen against their lesser pitchers.

    As a Sox fan watching the Yankees great run, this has frustrated me for years. You could see the Yankees taking pitch after pitch against Pedro, just hoping to get him out of the game a little sooner. Of course, they did this against other pitchers too, and why not? If you know, KNOW, that the other team has the starting pitcher on a pitch count, how can you not take pitches when you are up to bat?

    Theo Epstein has thankfully righted the Red Sox ship, spending the off-season acquiring a batch of players with patience - Todd Walker, David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Jeremy Giambi. They still have Nomar, who drives me absolutely crazy, but the Sox have figured it out, and that gives me more cause for optimism than anything I've seen all year.

    So is DePodesta right? I thought I'd take a look at it. Here are the league leaders for highest and lowest pitches faced per at-bat, for each position:

    The High Team
    1B Jim Thome 4.1
    2B Roberto Alomar 4.2
    3B Scott Rolen 4.1
    SS Jose Hernandez 4.1
    LF Brad Wilkerson 4.4
    CF Johnny Damon 4.0
    RF Bobby Abreu 4.3
    C Jason Kendall 4.0

    The Low Team
    1B Ken Harvey 3.3
    2B Brandon Phillips 3.4
    3B Vinny Castilla 3.1
    SS Deivi Cruz 3.0 - Nomar climbs out of the basement!
    LF Jay Payton 3.3
    CF Marquis Grissom 3.3
    RF Ichiro 3.3
    C Pierzynski 3.1

    The High team faces an average of 33.2 pitches per times through the order, the low team faces 25.8. Adding a pitcher to the order at 3.0 pitches per at bat, those numbers change to 36.2 and 28.8. If we assume that over the course of the game a team goes through their batting order about every two innings, then after six innings the opposing pitcher will have thrown 87 pitches against the low team, but 102 pitches against the high team. From that, we can draw two conclusions: The pitcher who's thrown 102 pitches is probably coming out of the game after six, and there is a much greater chance that he got pummeled in the sixth, and is already out of the game.

    But there's more. The OBP for the high pitch count team is .362. For the low team it is .319. Just to compare that to real life, a team with a.362 OBP would lead all of baseball, while a team with an OBP of .319 would be tied with Tampa and the White Sox at 24th.

    So if you combine all of this together, If my team is taking more pitches, and getting on base more often, then my team is getting through the order faster. And if my team is getting through the order faster, it may be that the starter reaches his 100th pitch in the fifth instead of the sixth, which gets me into the bullpen faster, which means my team gets to face lesser pitchers . . .

    a pretty good argument for taking a few pitches. Just a little patience, yeah.


    Jerry Stackhouse was arrested yesterday. Along with Kobe and Damon Stoudamire, this brings the number of NBA arrests this week up to three. That's getting close to one percent of all NBA players in a week. Can you imagine this happening where you work? I went looking for a website that had a list of all NBA arrests but I couldn't find one, so I'm starting one here. From this day forward, any NBA player who gets busted will be mentioned here, at Eisenberg Sports. So take it easy, fellas.

    Just a little patience, yeah.

    Comments? Counseling?l


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