Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
This Is Not What Calvin Klein Intended
I'm obsessed. So are you, if I might boldly use your visit to infer a personal character trait. In fact, it's very likely that we share an obsession about baseball in general, or the Cubs in particular. However, I've added a layer of detail recently, and if you've been reading along the last couple of days, you may have noticed. I've become fixated on the number of pitches Cub hitters see in a plate appearance.
I understand that on a micro level there is little predictive value in this trivial bit of statistical flotsam. Just because a team sees more pitches in a particular game doesn't mean they'll score more runs. Take D-Back/Cardinal tilt from the other night. Casey Daigle threw 49 pitches to 16 Cardinals, which means that on average, St. Louis hitters were only seeing 3.06 pitches per at bat. That's a pretty lousy number. However, since those early swings resulted in 8 runs in 2.2 innings on 10 hits, 5 of which were home runs, the itchy trigger fingers can be forgiven. Sometimes, hitters swing early because the pitcher is meat.
Even on the macro level, pitches seen per plate appearance may not directly correlate to runs scored (if someone else has seen a study, please let me know), but as a blunt tool, it can certainly show which teams are appropriately situated to prosper offensively. That's what concerns me about this current Cubs squad, that in their trips to the dish they fail to position themselves for success.
As a result, I've decided to do the only thing a poor blogger such as myself can. I will relentlessly track it for the entire season and post the results on the sidebar. Here's how it will work, or at least, how I envision it working. On days following a Cubs game, I will post a new set of figures which will consist of the PIT/PA from the game itself, the Cubs' PIT/PA for the season, the National League average PIT/PA, and the Cubs' rank in PIT/PA versus the rest of the NL. There will, of course, be the occasional interruptions for unavoidable things like vacations and the like, but my intention is to catch up when I am back online, and I anticipate few instances where this will be an issue.
A word of warning about this endeavor. While I would feel very secure about the general conclusions that one can draw from these numbers I'll be posting, I'd be wary of preaching the figures themselves as gospel. The stats will be complied manually in an Excel spreadsheet by yours truly, and in addition to the human error that will naturally arise from that aspect of the exercise, I've already noticed discrepancies between sources regarding pitch counts. That being said, even at this early juncture we're talking about 41 games of data and more than 12,000 pitches used to create the league average numbers, so most discrepancies should be statistically insignificant. Anyway, consider yourself warned.
I'm not sure that I have a goal in mind, other than to give vent to my frustration. At this point, I would consider any actual knowledge gained from the undertaking a happy accident. So, I hope you'll take it all with a grain of salt and indulge me my little fetish. After all, it worked for CK.