Comments on: Andruw Jones sees 36 pitches in 4 plate appearances http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6 By: mosc http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-147284 Tue, 06 Sep 2011 19:08:18 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-147284 You can intentionally foul off balls. It's usually done by a late swing that has no power, all arms. Basically, swinging without using the legs and lower body. It allows the batter to react later to the pitch but they're never going to drive a ball that they hit like that. That kind of swing is used all the time. You'll see a hitter plant their leg flat, give up on the pitch, and then later than usual pull their hands through. The contact is weak even when you hit the ball flush since there's nothing behind the swing. Usually the arms aren't even locked and the bat will give into the ball. The ball pushes back the bat more than usual which gives you the foul balls despite contact. Great hitters can also use the reaction time advantage from such a poor swing to make sufficient contact to stay alive.

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By: Johnny Twisto http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-146244 Mon, 05 Sep 2011 01:29:18 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-146244 any idea what the highest pitch counts for pinch hitters is? I would think those guys, only getting one PA, wouldn't want to hit the first pitch and so try to work deep in the count. I remember Dave Bergman on the Tigers being good at this later in his career.

Interesting. My thought would have been that a pinch hitter, only getting one PA, wouldn't want to fall behind in the count and might be more willing to swing early in the count. Hard thing to study, as even if we had the data for average pitches per PH**, we'd then have to compare it to those same batters' usual averages to be accurate.

Anyway, at least in 2011, pinch hitters do walk and strike out more frequently than league average, so maybe they do see more pitches.

**We do have the data, it's just not easily available. I'll bet Foreman Forman could run that query though.

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By: Russell http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145738 Sun, 04 Sep 2011 03:59:13 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145738 I thought the good hitters were trying to foul the "pitcher's" pitches, pitches that they don't think they can hit line drives in the field of play, so they can eventually hit a "mistake" pitch.

any idea what the highest pitch counts for pinch hitters is? I would think those guys, only getting one PA, wouldn't want to hit the first pitch and so try to work deep in the count. I remember Dave Bergman on the Tigers being good at this later in his career.

is it true Latin batters have low pitch count averages because as they say, "you can't walk off the island"?

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By: Johnny Twisto http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145714 Sun, 04 Sep 2011 02:38:21 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145714 I do think fouling balls off is a skill, in that we see certain guys do it a lot more than others. As you guys have mentioned, it's taking a defensive swing and just trying to make contact with a ball you can't drive. When I was playing some pick-up fast pitch several years ago, I found myself doing this a little bit. Trying to protect the zone with two strikes, I'd see a pitch that I couldn't hit, or realized too late would be a strike, and I would flick at it and foul it off. Yes, sometimes those balls probably are hit fair, but they usually go foul, as the batter hopes.

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By: BSK http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145705 Sun, 04 Sep 2011 01:50:31 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145705 Andy and Jimbo-

I lean towards Andy here, in the sense that there are types of swings that are probably more likely to result in a foul ball than others. Employing these on a given pitch thus makes it more likely (but not guaranteed) that the ball would be fouled off. These are generally going to be balls pushed the other way or reached at and pulled foul. Popping a ball up, fouling it straight back, or pounding it into the dirt are all probably too hard to do deliberately.

I think there is also the fact that guys might be swinging a tad later at pitches. With 0 or 1 strike, they might take a close pitch they don't think they can hit well because they'll get another pitch afterward. With 2 strikes, they can't necessarily chance it. So they might take a longer look at a pitch, realize it is too close to take, and take a quick, defensive hack at it, which is probably more likely (but not guaranteed) to be foul. This is usually described as "shortening up".

I'm thinking more about whether a major league batter can use his regular swing against major league pitching and really do much to guarantee fair or foul. Outside of cheating and swinging early or being a slap hitter and going the other way, I don't think this skill exists. Not that it is particularly desirable unless your sole purpose is to make the pitching throw pitches.

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By: Jimbo http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145654 Sat, 03 Sep 2011 23:07:05 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145654 Extremely difficult to hit an intentional foul off mlb pitching unless your natural swing is to slap it the other way, a la Ichiro or Gwynn.

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By: Andy http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145612 Sat, 03 Sep 2011 20:59:13 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145612 BSK it's clear that many hitters put a swing on the ball where they are only trying to make contact. It follows that they are not trying to put the ball in play on such a weak swing, but rather are trying to hit it foul. I'm not suggesting that Jones saw 14 pitches in that plate appearance merely because he wished to foul off 10 or whatever it was straight pitches, but I suspect he did intentionally put some weaker swings on balls to hit them to the side and wait for a better pitch. Incidentally, I don't think batters can intentionally hit balls foul backwards--nor would they, for fear of a caught foul tip.

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By: BSK http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145469 Sat, 03 Sep 2011 13:45:14 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145469 Your observation is definitely one I make as well. My belief was more that they were just trying to make contact than deliberately trying to foul it off. Those types of swings are probably more likely to result in a foul ball than a regular swing. I just don't know that a guy can say, "I'm going to swing at this ball and deliberately hit it backwards or sideways," any more than he can say, "I'm going to swing at this ball and hit it in the gap instead of at a fielder."

I was more curious if you were privy to any information, stats, or studies that actually looked at whether fouling off pitches was a "skill" or not. Not sure how one would study that (outside of in a controlled environment), but it would be interesting.

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By: Andy http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145411 Sat, 03 Sep 2011 11:08:17 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145411 BSK, well I'm not a ballplayer so I can't answer that, but certainly we hear broadcasters refer to this quite a bit. There's certainly no doubt that many 2-strike swings look different, with less of an intent to drive the ball and more of an intent to just foul it off.

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By: BSK http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/14600/comment-page-1#comment-145409 Sat, 03 Sep 2011 11:04:40 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=14600#comment-145409 Andy-

I thought about that, but that seems to suggest that hitting foul balls is a skill. Can a guy really intentionally hit foul balls? At least in the way you describe? I mean, I know a guy could cheat or deliberately swing late to either pull or push it foul. But I'm skeptical to whether guys can really exhibit that much control over the swing and the ball.

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