Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pitch To Contact

I'm tired of listening to Lefebvre and Hudler talk about Royals pitchers needing to pitch to contact as opposed to trying to strike guys out. That line of thinking probably sounds wrong-headed to anyone interested in sabermetrics, but I wanted to run some numbers myself verifying how off that philosophy is. The below plots include 230 MLB pitchers' totals between 2002-11. These pitchers threw at least 300 innings and as many as 2,204. There is not an air-tight correlation between contact rate to ERA nor strikeout rate to ERA, but generally speaking, the more contact you allow, the more runs you give up. The more strikeouts you get, the fewer runs. I think most of the "pitch to contact" crowd gets wrapped up in the idea that contact guys can go deeper into games. I don't know what the numbers say about that. Even if it's true, I'll take five or six good innings over seven bad ones.

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