Comments on: Hit By Pitch vs Home Runs This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: The AL/NL gap in hit-by-pitch rates » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Fri, 12 Nov 2010 12:31:53 +0000 [...] up on my earlier post about HBP rates, let's take a look at the split in HBP rates by [...]

By: Bob McDittin Tue, 09 Nov 2010 22:05:45 +0000 I don't think there is any correlation. The stats don't look at individual players.

By: Tuesday Links (9 Nov 10) – Ducksnorts Tue, 09 Nov 2010 14:18:01 +0000 [...] Hit By Pitch vs Home Runs (Baseball-Reference). From the article: “It turns out that there is a fairly strong correlation between HBP rates and HR rates.” Charts and stuff… pretty cool. [...]

By: Detroit Michael Mon, 08 Nov 2010 21:51:42 +0000 Fascinating post. Thanks.

By: John Autin Mon, 08 Nov 2010 18:43:39 +0000 @7, Guy -- I don't actually see pitchers making more effort to drive batters away from the plate, and given the costs of doing so -- potential ejection, plus more batters nowadays are willing to just take the HBP -- their behavior may well be justified.

I think the relationship between HRs and HBP is more direct: On average, batters stand closer to the plate in this era than ever before. They do this in order to hit more HRs, and it works. It also results in more HBP that are purely a byproduct of the pitcher's ordinary wildness, with no specific brushback purpose involved.

By: Guy Mon, 08 Nov 2010 18:01:05 +0000 I think the HR-HBP connection is not only, or even mainly, a story of retaliation. The issue is that pitchers have to try to move power hitters off the plate, to stop them from hitting HRs, and that results in more hit batters. It's not intentional (usually), just a cost of pitching inside to great hitters. When the HR rate goes up, there are more hitters dangerous enough to be worth busting inside and taking the risk of a HBP. (Hitting a weak hitter gives him a free pass to 1B, so pitchers avoid that as much as possible.)

My guess is that HBP rates lag HR rates a bit. As HRs increase, and more guys become power threats, pitchers adjust and start pitching inside to a higher proportion of hitters. But it takes a little time for pitchers to realize they need to do this. So a one-time jump like 1987 (presumably a lively ball effect) doesn't impact pitchers' behavior. But if HR rates climb continuously, THEN pitchers do respond.

Clearly, the dynamic was different in the 1920s and 1930s. Probably a function of social norms following Chapman's death, and a lack of good protective equipment. But for the past 50-60 years, pitchers have clearly responded to HR increases by pitching inside more aggressively.

By: Cyril Morong Mon, 08 Nov 2010 17:50:30 +0000 Great post, glad you brought this up. I like the non-linear relationship you found. I have looked at this (mainly since the 50s in terms of data). I have a link that summarizes my findings and has links to the other posts

Here is a summary of what I found

-There is a significant positive relationship between a pitcher's walk rate and his HBP rate

-In the 1960s, a pitcher who gave up more HRs hit fewer batters but today a pitcher who gives up more HRs hits more batters.

-For both leagues, the HBP/Walk rate has been rising since 1980 (so poor control is not the only reason for more HBP).

-In recent years (up through 2007), the HBP/HR rate has been relatively high, even adjusting HBPs for control as measured by the walk rate.

-players who hit HRs more frequently are now more likely to get hit by a pitch than in the the 50s, 60s and 70s.

-hitting a HR in the 1990s was 83% more dangerous than it was in the 1960s in terms of causing the player to be HBP.

From 2000-2009, here is the equation

HBP% = 0.0477*HR% + 0.009

The denominator for both HBP & HR was AB + HBP. The t-value for HR% was 1.97. The equation from the 1960s was

HBP% = 0.0311*HR% + 0.0058

Since .0477/.0311 = 1.53, it means that hitting a HR from 2000-2009 was 53% more likely to get you hit by a pitch than in the 1960s.

By: BSK Mon, 08 Nov 2010 16:37:40 +0000 Could this also be impacted by strike zone? Pitching approaches? Aggressive pitching inside could lead to both more HBP and more HRs. Get it all the way inside and you intimidate. Miss and better hitters will punish it.

Perhaps, in the early years, pitchers could throw inside as much as they wanted since no one had the power or the approach to really make them pay for mistakes. Naturally, more inside pitches mean more guys getting hit.

As guys bulked up and the HR became a weapon, pitchers had to start using the outside corner more and HBP went down.

Eventually, offensive players got so good that pitchers had to come back inside, push them off the plate (or at least try), and HBP went up. But the strategy was not effective and HRs continued to climb.

I realize this is more narrative than fact, but it seems at least plausible, no?

By: kds Mon, 08 Nov 2010 16:30:44 +0000 How about the armor and pads that batters wear today that they did not have before? (And helmets too.) All this protection allows the batter to crowd the plate with less risk of getting hurt. If there is no retaliation effect whatsoever, one would expect a percentage pattern of pitches off the plate, and the closer the batter is the more often he is hit. Presumably setting up "on top" of the plate will also help the batter hit home runs. So the protection technology may lead to increases in both HR and HBP without any change in pitcher behavior.

MLB's efforts to prevent beanball wars and bench clearing brawls may have reduced the percentage of HBPs that were intentional. This may have increased total HBPs as batters felt safer setting up closer to the plate since they would mostly be hit by pitcher mistakes rather than pitches aimed to hit them.

By: Larry R. Mon, 08 Nov 2010 14:24:06 +0000 You didn't want to come to the plate after someone homered against a guy like Drysdale or Gibson. It was different back in the day. Of course, some guys, like Frank Robinson, would get dusted and then homer in the same AB if he was able to avoid getting hit.