Morning NotesAugust 17th, 2012 by terrybenish
Dodger Pirate game had all kinds of fireworks and some baseball mixed in. This kind of stuff has been around the Pirates here recently.
Campos threw out Matt Kemp for encouraging his team-mate to get a hit after he had been told to shut up by Umpire Angel Campos regarding ball strike complaints.
Joe Maddon was ejected for complaining about ball strike calls during Felix Hernandez no hitter by Rob Drake.
There is a website that looks at ball strike imagery like the broadcast strike tracer that is on Mariner broadcasts:
The website suggests that Campos ball strike calls that led to the brouhaha that resulted in both Kemp’s and manager Don Mattingly’s ejections were correct calls. No recording of Kemp’s statement is available to confirm.
The same website and other sources suggest that Maddon’s complaint had merit.
National pundits are calling this the year of the pitcher, perfect games, no hitters, record numbers of one hit and two hit games. I think there is something substantive behind this that relates to the umpires and will try to winnow through some data to affirm or disprove my notion.
The observation that I’m going to try to test is that more high strikes are being called this year than perhaps in over fifty years, pitchers up near chest high and arm-pit level. The rule book definition would put those pitches in the strike zone.
However, it is not the zone that has been the effective zone for decades. For years and years the practical or effective zone has been at the top of the belt or even top of the thigh to an area between mid-shin and lower knee…umpire to umpire variations existed. But hitters and pitchers both adjust to that pitch to pitch.
Does it mean anything? Well let’s see. In 2011 in the American League there were 10,117 runs scored by all teams. Doing a simple projection of runs scored using actual runs scored and games played projected to a 162 game season suggests that there will be 10,162 runs scored this year, which is virtually identical, though slightly higher. So without spending a lot more time on this it does not look like anything is going on at all, at first blush.
Using same calculation, last year the Ms scored 556 runs and are on track for 633 runs which is a 77 run increase which is nearly 1/2 a run per game.
Tampa Bay won 91 games last year while scoring 707 runs. Boston won 90 games while scoring 875 runs per game, but missed out to Tampa Bay in terms of making the playoffs.
The Rays mix between offense, pitching and defense runs heavily towards pitching and defense with just enough offense. The team that the Mariners are putting together might be very similar to the Rays.
It is critical to think about. You hold on to Felix and Vargas and Beavan is real, the second version since his return and Paxton comes on and make further improvements on what is the third best pitching in AL right now and you get normal improvements on the core hitters you’re bringing along now and the team competes at a pretty high level.
It is unlikely that the Ms will go sign a big free agent hitters because there are not many available and they’re cheap too, but it may not matter. You just have to pray that they don’t trade away some more pitching for marginal players.