Pitch f/x

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Pitch f/x

Joined: 10 Dec 2006, 01:35

23 Mar 2008, 16:49 #1

How do you write it correctly? Pitch F/X, Pitchf/x, Pitch f/x?

What is it?

How is it created?

Who has access to the data?

Is anyone publishing the results?

What does it tell us?

Will it really keep the umpires honest?

Will it replace Schill's notebook?

Does Tek have it memorized yet?
""Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona." widely attributed.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006, 19:31

23 Mar 2008, 17:17 #2

Offbase @ Mar 23 2008, 12:49 PM wrote: How do you write it correctly? Pitch F/X, Pitchf/x, Pitch f/x?
MLB used PITCHF/x last year, and it's their system, but six capital letters in a row looks horrible.

The designers use PITCHf/x.
What is it?

How is it created?
Sportvision’s PITCHf/x System utilizes sensor cameras to measure the position of the baseball to better than 1/2 inch to the exact location of the ball. Thus, PITCHf/x is the most accurate method of tracking the flight of the pitch from the time it starts to break -- 40 feet from home plate -- to the time it crosses home plate.

Having accurately measured the position of the ball many times during its flight from the pitcher to home plate, the PITCHf/x System determines the position of the ball, speed of the ball and acceleration for a particular pitch, enabling Sportvision to reveal the break in a particular pitch. This data reveals everything about the trajectory (flight path) of the ball.


http://www.sportvision.com/main_frames/ ... itchfx.htm
Who has access to the data?

Is anyone publishing the results?
MLB has made Pitch f/x public domain information--we all have access.

Game-by-game results are available from MLB.com Gameday files.

One can see Pitch f/x results from Josh Kalk's website:

http://baseball.bornbybits.com/plots/players.html

One can access the specific location files as well, but my experience is that these two sites offer everything one needs excepting season-long research.
What does it tell us?
The velocity and break on pitches, as well as where they crossed the plate.
Will it really keep the umpires honest?
Umpires are starting to get criticism based upon a number of sources, with last year's UTexas study being a turning point. Pitch f/x gives critics the ability to definitively point out patterns of bad calls--umpires now know that their critics (and, potentially, investigators) have access to exact pitch locations if their patterns of calls appear to favor one team.
Will it replace Schill's notebook?
No. It offers a better record of pitch locations--Brian Bannister is using it for self-improvement. Curt Schilling's notebook might include how HE felt about each pitch and matchup. Pitch f/x doesn't include that data.
Does Tek have it memorized yet?
While I am uncertain of precisely how much Tek has memorized, I'm somehow confident that he knows more about Pitch f/x than Terry Francona does. :wink:
QUESTION: Welcome to Boston, Daisuke. Has it been a lifelong dream of yours to pitch in the major leagues?

MATSUZAKA: I don't really like the word "dream" to begin with. I think a dream is something you can have without realizing. I've always believed that I could pitch here and have held it as a goal, and acted on it. I think that because I've believed in and acted on it all along ... that's why I'm here today.
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 19:30

23 Mar 2008, 23:14 #3

If I remember correctly, Pitch F/x showed that Dice-K got robbed a LOT last season.
With those who don't give a damn about baseball, I can only sympathize. I do not resent them. I am even willing to concede that many of them are physically clean, good to their mothers and in favor of world peace. But while the game is on, I can't think of anything to say to them. ~Art Hill
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006, 19:31

23 Mar 2008, 23:25 #4

SoxNationGermany @ Mar 23 2008, 07:14 PM wrote: If I remember correctly, Pitch F/x showed that Dice-K got robbed a LOT last season.
You remember correctly...one game in particular, but there was a pattern.
QUESTION: Welcome to Boston, Daisuke. Has it been a lifelong dream of yours to pitch in the major leagues?

MATSUZAKA: I don't really like the word "dream" to begin with. I think a dream is something you can have without realizing. I've always believed that I could pitch here and have held it as a goal, and acted on it. I think that because I've believed in and acted on it all along ... that's why I'm here today.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006, 23:19

29 Mar 2008, 01:46 #5

I'm glad they're using that technology to start keeping umpires honest. I wish we'd had it long ago. Imagine how that would have affected the dominant Braves pitching (Tom Glavine in particular) of the 90's if the outside corner of the plate had not been extended to the edge of the batter's box for them. Glavine had only to throw 2 pitches in a row 6 inches off the outside corner and he'd get the call the rest of the game.
"When I walk down the street and meet people," Ted Williams once said, "I just want them to think 'There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived."

"David Ortiz is the greatest clutch hitter to ever wear the uniform of the Boston Red Sox," Henry said.

And then when I walked down the street people would've looked and they would've said there goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game.
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Joined: 13 Dec 2006, 03:26

23 Apr 2008, 01:00 #6

I've been scouring over PITCHf/x data, but I cannot find what I really want: the pitches made by the pitcher that were called either a ball or strike, and how close they were to the actual zone. I notice that ball/strikes are shown for batters, but not for pitchers.

Anyone know where to find these charts for pitchers?
:confused:
"Baseball? It's just a game - as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. It's a sport, business-and sometimes almost even religion." ~ Ernie Harwell
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Joined: 10 Dec 2006, 01:35

04 May 2008, 16:11 #7

Every time I find one of these gems at THT, I wonder why I don't go there more often.

How fast should a fastball be?

The next time Remy says Manny is looking for a pitch "middle in", it better not be with Verlander on the mound. :rolleyes:
""Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona." widely attributed.
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Joined: 20 Mar 2007, 20:55

07 May 2008, 21:19 #8

Offbase @ May 4 2008, 09:11 AM wrote:Every time I find one of these gems at THT, I wonder why I don't go there more often.

How fast should a fastball be?

The next time Remy says Manny is looking for a pitch "middle in", it better not be with Verlander on the mound.  :rolleyes:
Very interesting stuff.
So, what did I turn up with this analysis? Well, keeping in mind the sample size and other caveats previous mentioned, I think I've learned that

  1. fastballs outside don't depend much (if at all) on speed for their effectiveness;
  2. conversely, inside fastballs are more effective the harder they are thrown (this one I already knew);
  3. most of the observed effect appears to come from home runs: outside pitches are rarely hit for homers and when they are, a fast pitch is as likely to be hit out of the park as a slow one;
  4. a pitch thrown hard is more susceptible to the ump's bad call than a soft toss.

That's not too bad a haul, considering we've really just started. Stay tuned for more.
It makes sense that the biggest effect would be seen with inside fastballs. You need to turn on that pitch in a hurry to get the good part of the bat on it. That means at the elite fastball end of the spectrum, it's almost impossible to catch up with. On the slow end of the spectrum, it means that batters are hitting those pitches at their (the batter's) point of maximum extension. Thus, more HR.

Moving away from the inside corner, though, I wonder if there's another factor at play:

1. The guys with the mid- to upper-90s heat are, in a lot instances, pitchers with "live arms" who don't have great command, don't have much in the way of secondary pitches, are "throwers" more than "pitchers."

Obviously, there are good and great pitchers in this category, too – and I suspect that their numbers on the outside corner don't show quite the same "it doesn't matter how hard you throw" trend. They might not do as well on the outside corner as inside – but I doubt that Josh Beckett is, or vintage Pedro, Schilling, or Clemens was no better off at 96mph low and away than if they threw 89. Those guys have/had good-to-great control, good-to-great movement on the fastball, and at least one great breaking or offspeed pitch to keep hitters off balance.

Not so with the live arm/throwers who make up a big part of this category.

2. On the other hand, the guys with sub-90 fastballs by and large are either LOOGYs – who rely on deception, have the benefit of generally being used only in the most favorable situations (i.e., not against good RHH), and the added benefit of not actually being included in this first study (which looks only at RHP vs. RHH) – or else the best of the best control pitchers (a lot of whom also are lefties, and thus excluded here).

Greg Maddux could probably paint the corners with a blindfold on. Keith Foulke at his best, or Trevor Hoffman before this year's off-the-cliff performance, could pick up saves without making the catcher's glove move once. Who else throws an 88mph fastball? Nobody whose strike zone command isn't good.

So, yeah. I would expect that a Greg Maddux fastball on the outside corner is at least as effective as a 95 mph dart from a guy who doesn't know how to pitch. I wouldn't expect a right handed pitcher with Kyle Farnsworth's command to make it past single A with an 89mph fastball – so they're not part of the analysis here.

Still some very interesting analysis. I'm glad there are people who know how to work magic with databases. I would need a government grant or a winning lottery ticket to even consider doing anything this in depth. But every question answered always just raises new questions...
Check it out. An avatar.
____

Fine.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2006, 20:36

07 May 2008, 22:23 #9

excellent post Rominer! Great points!
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Joined: 10 Dec 2006, 01:35

08 May 2008, 00:52 #10

rominer @ May 7 2008, 05:19 PM wrote:
Offbase @ May 4 2008, 09:11 AM wrote:Every time I find one of these gems at THT, I wonder why I don't go there more often.

How fast should a fastball be?

The next time Remy says Manny is looking for a pitch "middle in", it better not be with Verlander on the mound.  :rolleyes:
Very interesting stuff.
So, what did I turn up with this analysis? Well, keeping in mind the sample size and other caveats previous mentioned, I think I've learned that

  1. fastballs outside don't depend much (if at all) on speed for their effectiveness;
  2. conversely, inside fastballs are more effective the harder they are thrown (this one I already knew);
  3. most of the observed effect appears to come from home runs: outside pitches are rarely hit for homers and when they are, a fast pitch is as likely to be hit out of the park as a slow one;
  4. a pitch thrown hard is more susceptible to the ump's bad call than a soft toss.

That's not too bad a haul, considering we've really just started. Stay tuned for more.
It makes sense that the biggest effect would be seen with inside fastballs. You need to turn on that pitch in a hurry to get the good part of the bat on it. That means at the elite fastball end of the spectrum, it's almost impossible to catch up with. On the slow end of the spectrum, it means that batters are hitting those pitches at their (the batter's) point of maximum extension. Thus, more HR.

Moving away from the inside corner, though, I wonder if there's another factor at play:

1. The guys with the mid- to upper-90s heat are, in a lot instances, pitchers with "live arms" who don't have great command, don't have much in the way of secondary pitches, are "throwers" more than "pitchers."

Obviously, there are good and great pitchers in this category, too – and I suspect that their numbers on the outside corner don't show quite the same "it doesn't matter how hard you throw" trend. They might not do as well on the outside corner as inside – but I doubt that Josh Beckett is, or vintage Pedro, Schilling, or Clemens was no better off at 96mph low and away than if they threw 89. Those guys have/had good-to-great control, good-to-great movement on the fastball, and at least one great breaking or offspeed pitch to keep hitters off balance.

Not so with the live arm/throwers who make up a big part of this category.

2. On the other hand, the guys with sub-90 fastballs by and large are either LOOGYs – who rely on deception, have the benefit of generally being used only in the most favorable situations (i.e., not against good RHH), and the added benefit of not actually being included in this first study (which looks only at RHP vs. RHH) – or else the best of the best control pitchers (a lot of whom also are lefties, and thus excluded here).

Greg Maddux could probably paint the corners with a blindfold on. Keith Foulke at his best, or Trevor Hoffman before this year's off-the-cliff performance, could pick up saves without making the catcher's glove move once. Who else throws an 88mph fastball? Nobody whose strike zone command isn't good.

So, yeah. I would expect that a Greg Maddux fastball on the outside corner is at least as effective as a 95 mph dart from a guy who doesn't know how to pitch. I wouldn't expect a right handed pitcher with Kyle Farnsworth's command to make it past single A with an 89mph fastball – so they're not part of the analysis here.

Still some very interesting analysis. I'm glad there are people who know how to work magic with databases. I would need a government grant or a winning lottery ticket to even consider doing anything this in depth. But every question answered always just raises new questions...
Thanks, Rominer!

Your point about who gets included in which samples is a very good one. I've looked at situational hitting stats quite a bit and it's very hard to keep the sample useful if you look for particular things.

There was, for example, a stretch in 2004 when you might as well have pulled JD out of the game in the eighth because he positively could not hit in that inning. But then of course you'd regret that move if you got to extra innings. :rolleyes:
""Baseball, it is said, is only a game. True. And the Grand Canyon is only a hole in Arizona." widely attributed.
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