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  #31  
Old 09-06-2019, 01:05 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is online now
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Originally Posted by asindc View Post
The bolded part of your post does not at all prove the underlined part of your post. Look at the difference between Mariano Rivera and Aroldis Chapman, for instance. Or Mark Buehrle and almost any pitcher in history that threw 95+.
Mark Buehrle is what we call an extreme outlier. He’s the exception who proves the rule. Guys with his lack of stuff are lucky to accumulate about 1/3 of Buehrle’s career WAR. Most of them fizzle out far below that.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-last-of-mark-buehrle/
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  #32  
Old 09-06-2019, 01:17 PM
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Mark Buehrle is what we call an extreme outlier. He’s the exception who proves the rule. Guys with his lack of stuff are lucky to accumulate about 1/3 of Buehrle’s career WAR. Most of them fizzle out far below that.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-last-of-mark-buehrle/
Didn't Buehrle have like 75 control? I mean he could throw the baseball exactly where he wanted it with every pitch he threw. 95% of the pitches he threw looked like strikes when they left his hand, he used the exact same delivery no matter what he was throwing and he had like 6 different speeds.

Sure pitchers can be successful at lower speeds but that's what takes to do it. Maddux never threw that hard either, but his control, change of speed and motion made him all but unhittable when he was on.
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  #33  
Old 09-06-2019, 01:54 PM
WhiteSox5187 WhiteSox5187 is offline
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Didn't Buehrle have like 75 control? I mean he could throw the baseball exactly where he wanted it with every pitch he threw. 95% of the pitches he threw looked like strikes when they left his hand, he used the exact same delivery no matter what he was throwing and he had like 6 different speeds.

Sure pitchers can be successful at lower speeds but that's what takes to do it. Maddux never threw that hard either, but his control, change of speed and motion made him all but unhittable when he was on.
I've always thought, and there is an overwhelming chance that this is a mistaken belief, but I've always thought that location is the most important tool a pitcher can have. Velocity is great and allows for more margin of error, but even a fastball at 100 mph can get hit out if it's in the wrong spot.

Also, since you mentioned Maddux, I saw a clip of game one of the '89 NLCS a few years ago and the announcer referred to Maddux as a "young Texas fireballer" and I've always wondered was Maddux actually throwing hard compared to other pitchers in '89 or was it just a sort of throw away line.
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  #34  
Old 09-06-2019, 02:00 PM
asindc asindc is offline
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I've always thought, and there is an overwhelming chance that this is a mistaken belief, but I've always thought that location is the most important tool a pitcher can have. Velocity is great and allows for more margin of error, but even a fastball at 100 mph can get hit out if it's in the wrong spot.

Also, since you mentioned Maddux, I saw a clip of game one of the '89 NLCS a few years ago and the announcer referred to Maddux as a "young Texas fireballer" and I've always wondered was Maddux actually throwing hard compared to other pitchers in '89 or was it just a sort of throw away line.
Location and change of speeds are more important to any pitcher than speed itself, always has been. As you state, the biggest advantage that speed gives a pitcher is a higher margin for error. Does no good, however, if the command is not there.
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  #35  
Old 09-06-2019, 02:01 PM
asindc asindc is offline
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It depends on placement and movement. Velocity generally limits movement. Hitting is about timing and pitch recognition. Pitching is about upsetting timing and limiting pitch recognition. There are pitchers who can get as much out of a 92 mph fastball as others do out of 98 mph fastball because they know how to pitch. There are pitchers who don't know how to upset timing and supply more power to hitters by making their hittable pitches harder. Sometimes there are pitchers having bad days.

On Sunday, May 10, 2015, the White Sox were facing the Reds' Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth of a 3-3 game. With two outs and none on, Avisail Garcia and Alexei Ramirez hit line drive singles. Gordon Beckham, with a 2-2 count lined a single to right. MLB at the time reported that each of the hard line drive singles came on 101 mph fastballs. It was the only time Beckham has faced Chapman to date. Beckham only hit .209 for the 2015 season. Whatever Chapman was doing that day, he wasn't able to get his fastball past Garcia, Ramirez and Beckham, and of the three, Beckham was clearly not a fastball hitter. Anecdotal, perhaps, but this was something that actually happened and not a mathematical projection on a spreadsheet.

Your data doesn't say that hitters today are better because pitchers are throwing harder. It doesn't say pitchers are better because they are throwing harder. It says pitchers are throwing harder. That doesn't make them better pitchers. The environment is different and hitters have adapted to the changing environment, just as there are pitchers who adjust to changes in hitters' approaches.

What the numbers do say, however, as I have noted is that WAR does stand up as a valid statistic against the standard of reality.
I remember that game. Beckham squared up on the first pitch (if I recall correctly) he saw from Chapman as if Chapman had told him where he was going to pitch it.
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  #36  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:28 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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I remember that game. Beckham squared up on the first pitch (if I recall correctly) he saw from Chapman as if Chapman had told him where he was going to pitch it.
I thought the count was 2-2, but maybe that was the count on one of the two previous hitters. Whatever the count, he squared up a 101 mph pitch with a line drive that won the game and rounded first doing a straw-stirring thing that was a joke in the clubhouse at the time.

Regardless of a pitcher's velocity, pitchers have to know how to pitch and hitters have to know how tho hit pitchers who can pitch. Tom Seaver was a better pitcher than than Nolan Ryan on the 1969 Mets (and had been a better pitcher at Ryan's age) even though Ryan threw harder because Seaver knew how to pitch. Ryan, obviously, learned how to pitch, as did Randy Johnson. Hard-throwing Jesse Jefferson never learned how to pitch, but his velocity kept him in in the majors for nine years, even thought he had an ERA over 8 with the Sox one year in the middle of that.

Velocity is a tool. It isn't the only tool because hitters have always been able to catch up to fastballs, and the harder the fastball, the harder it's hit and farther it goes when hitters connect with it. Even in 1911 (a Shoeless Joe Jackson biographer quotes a story describing one of his home runs of impressive distance and adding that the ball was "like a lump of coal in those days") Walter Johnson, who had a great season and certainly knew how to pitch with a delivery that was hard to pick up, gave up 8 home run. To put that into context, his team only hit 16 for the season.

The more hard throwers you have in a league, the more hitters will adjust to hitting hard throwers, especially if that is all they they feature. The idea that Nolan Ryan or Sandy Koufax were great pitchers because they threw hard isn't really accurate.

Today there are pitchers who throw hard instead of learning how to pitch. I don't think they are inherently better because they are throwing harder for fewer innings.
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  #37  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:44 PM
MISoxfan MISoxfan is offline
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Yes, velocity is one part of the equation. It is not the only part of pitching. Nobody is claiming it is. An anecdote and the countless straw men are not proving anything. If the pitchers from years past could have thrown as fast as the pitchers from today, then they would have. They couldn't, though - because they were not as good.

It's preposterous to suggest that today's ballplayers aren't better than the ones in the past. The talent pool has not shrunk, in fact it has grown. It grew when the color barrier was broken and it continues to grow as world wide scouting increases. Athletes are better in every single sport that can easily be compared against past eras and its laughable to suggest that they aren't in the sports that aren't easily compared - based on nothing.
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  #38  
Old 09-06-2019, 04:24 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is online now
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Originally Posted by TDog View Post
The more hard throwers you have in a league, the more hitters will adjust to hitting hard throwers, especially if that is all they they feature.
They have adjusted. The adjustment they made—simply avoiding any pitch they don’t think they can hit hard and hoping it’s called a ball—is what has caused the wailing and gnashing of teeth of many on this very forum.
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  #39  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:07 PM
Grzegorz Grzegorz is offline
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Partially correct. The data says more than just that pitchers are throwing harder, it says that they are harder to hit when they are throwing harder. It does not say that the pitchers throwing 100 mph today are harder to hit than different pitchers that through 92 a couple decades ago.
Tell that to Patrick Corbin. As for being harder to hit that a one sided argument that takes into little to no account about the state of hitting in today's game.
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  #40  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:10 PM
Grzegorz Grzegorz is offline
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Originally Posted by MISoxfan View Post
Yes, velocity is one part of the equation. It is not the only part of pitching. Nobody is claiming it is. An anecdote and the countless straw men are not proving anything. If the pitchers from years past could have thrown as fast as the pitchers from today, then they would have. They couldn't, though - because they were not as good.

It's preposterous to suggest that today's ballplayers aren't better than the ones in the past. The talent pool has not shrunk, in fact it has grown. It grew when the color barrier was broken and it continues to grow as world wide scouting increases. Athletes are better in every single sport that can easily be compared against past eras and its laughable to suggest that they aren't in the sports that aren't easily compared - based on nothing.
When the pool of talent is diluted the game suffers. Meanwhile, throwing hard comes at a cost: injuries.
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  #41  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:23 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is online now
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Remember, that 3rd or 4th shot at redemption against a starter when a hitter is 0-2 on the day is increasingly rare as well. Nowadays, a leadoff hitter can get 5 plate appearances and have 4 of them come against different pitchers. The chess match element of those matchups have been replaced by brute force.
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  #42  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:26 PM
Mohoney Mohoney is online now
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Originally Posted by Grzegorz View Post
When the pool of talent is diluted the game suffers. Meanwhile, throwing hard comes at a cost: injuries.
What do you want instead? Contraction? In the extreme long-shot scenario that MLB actually contracts, our favorite team is a prime candidate to get the axe.
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  #43  
Old 09-07-2019, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by voodoochile View Post
Maddux never threw that hard either, but his control, change of speed and motion made him all but unhittable when he was on.
It also helped that umpires routinely gave him pitches several inches off the plate.
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  #44  
Old 09-07-2019, 03:27 AM
Grzegorz Grzegorz is offline
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Remember, that 3rd or 4th shot at redemption against a starter when a hitter is 0-2 on the day is increasingly rare as well. Nowadays, a leadoff hitter can get 5 plate appearances and have 4 of them come against different pitchers. The chess match element of those matchups have been replaced by brute force.
Thank you for that clear statement that the game has gone into visceral drive mode.


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What do you want instead? Contraction? In the extreme long-shot scenario that MLB actually contracts, our favorite team is a prime candidate to get the axe.
Yes; I want contraction. But MLB will not contract until the math forces them to do so.

If the Chicago White Sox are one of the casualties then look to management, fiscal constraints by the locals, changes into society, etc...

Be grateful for memories.

Last edited by Grzegorz; 09-07-2019 at 03:39 AM.
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  #45  
Old 09-07-2019, 09:16 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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Remember, that 3rd or 4th shot at redemption against a starter when a hitter is 0-2 on the day is increasingly rare as well. Nowadays, a leadoff hitter can get 5 plate appearances and have 4 of them come against different pitchers. The chess match element of those matchups have been replaced by brute force.

Getting pitchers like Ryan or Carlton out of the game earlier would have helped the offenses that had to face them. The day Tom Seaver struck out 19 hitters in a game he struck out the last 10 he faced, striking out the last hitter in the sixth and the next nine hitters over the last three innings. Better starting pitching, shorter rotations where better pitchers were facing more hitters with greater success didn't make hitting any easier.

It isn't a logical conclusion that facing more pitchers, regardless of the percentages of the matchups, makes hitting inherently more difficult today. Friday night, the Angels seemed to benefit from Giolito not facing hitters in the eighth and ninth, and the White Sox went with the best of their bullpen in the eighth and ninth. A few years ago, the Mariners lost most of their games when their Cy Young Award winning pitcher started, in part because he didn't pitch deep enough into his games and in part because as good as he was, the offense facing him did better than the offense supporting him, such is the contemporary state of pitching excellence.
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