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Thread: 2019 Season

  1. #226
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    Sure, every team has a personality, but I don't think it changes near as much as people think, you juat see it when you win and get hot. This same team celebrated a walk off win earlier in the year with a post game presser after a walk off win promoting the bucks playoff game that a bunch of them went to and had a box for. The team has always had the same energy, you juat don't see it as much when you're on 84 win pace vs 96 win pace.

    To me, the energy isn't from spang and surer, it's Trent Grisham battling for an 8 pitch double with 2 outs just as the momentum is shifting towards miami then grandal blowing the doors open with a big hit. Locker room mentality matters and all that, but Im not crediting these callup guys for a culture change. It's just that winning brings it out. And sure spang hitting well has helped win, so in that regard he's helped, but I don't think it's like a culture change or attitude change these dudes are bringing.

    And I really don't think it's easy just to throw the bat out there and make contact than it is to square one up. First off, it's an entirely different swing type. So you'd have to dedicate time in the cage to doing that. Personally, I dont think I want guys wasting cage swings and potentially throwing off their normal timing just to try to slap a few down the line. Plus, pitch location plays a bunch into that as well. You see a guy trying to slap it, you just bust them inside, which alot of pitchers are already doing. Now you're weakly grouding out to the pitcher anyway.

    Plus, even since the days of the prime ichiro and juan pierre type days pitching has gotten better. More guys throw 100. More guys have more fastballs that move. Hitting is really freaking hard these days. Moreso than it's ever been. And that makes extra bases king. Most guys aren't going to hit for a bunch of extra bases by slapping it all day.

  2. #227
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    Quote Originally Posted by crewfan13 View Post
    And I really don't think it's easy just to throw the bat out there and make contact than it is to square one up. First off, it's an entirely different swing type. So you'd have to dedicate time in the cage to doing that. Personally, I dont think I want guys wasting cage swings and potentially throwing off their normal timing just to try to slap a few down the line. Plus, pitch location plays a bunch into that as well. You see a guy trying to slap it, you just bust them inside, which alot of pitchers are already doing. Now you're weakly grouding out to the pitcher anyway.

    Plus, even since the days of the prime ichiro and juan pierre type days pitching has gotten better. More guys throw 100. More guys have more fastballs that move. Hitting is really freaking hard these days. Moreso than it's ever been. And that makes extra bases king. Most guys aren't going to hit for a bunch of extra bases by slapping it all day.
    Pitcher may be throwing harder, but I think we can all agree the breaking stuff isn't the same anymore. The ball is different. As a whole pitching is worse than it was 15 years ago.

    And even if you're against trying to slap it the other way (or bunt for that matter which again should lead to some easy doubles) my issue is with the rigidity of the approach. Doesn't matter the situation, count, inning, etc. Guys are all going up there swinging for the fences. Sometimes we just need a ball put into play. Sometimes we only need one run and not 7. Situational hitting should be much more heavily considered rather that just looking at maximum run probability.

    Its not just the slap/bunt. Its shortening your approach with 2 strikes. Its having patience at the plate. Its working the count to wear down the other teams starter. There's several small things that used to be considered fundamentals that are no longer being done, and offenses are suffering because of it.

  3. #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by twellner9 View Post
    Pitcher may be throwing harder, but I think we can all agree the breaking stuff isn't the same anymore. The ball is different. As a whole pitching is worse than it was 15 years ago.

    And even if you're against trying to slap it the other way (or bunt for that matter which again should lead to some easy doubles) my issue is with the rigidity of the approach. Doesn't matter the situation, count, inning, etc. Guys are all going up there swinging for the fences. Sometimes we just need a ball put into play. Sometimes we only need one run and not 7. Situational hitting should be much more heavily considered rather that just looking at maximum run probability.

    Its not just the slap/bunt. Its shortening your approach with 2 strikes. Its having patience at the plate. Its working the count to wear down the other teams starter. There's several small things that used to be considered fundamentals that are no longer being done, and offenses are suffering because of it.
    And all of that stuff requires a complete overhaul of approach and most likely a swing change. And teams have the analytics. Your likelihood of scoring increases dramatically when you get an extra base hit. That's why teams focus on extra base hits so much.

    Wearing down starters isn't really a thing anymore because pitch counts really aren't the primary reason guys get pulled. It's much more around matchups and times through the order. So I'm not saying making pitchers work is a bad thing, but it's not as valuable as it used to be.

    I also strongly disagree that pitching had regressed over the last 15 years. This year the new ball may have impacted some breaking pitches, but as a whole, pitching is quite a bit better. The elite guys from 15 years ago would still be great but the strikeout number increases have just as much to do with change in batter approach as they do with increase in quality of pitching talent.

  4. #229
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    538 did a study prior to this year that showed the average curveball drop went from just over 5 inches in break in 2008 to just under 7 inches in 2018. The graph by year shows a small fairly consistent change in break from 2008 to 2016, 2017 was a strange blip that saw its average break worse than 2008, but 2018 then took a big jump down. Either way, the path over the last 10 years shows an increase in total break of curveballs.

    The same study also looked at sliders. While the vertical drop on sliders actually lost about an inch from 2008-2018, the horizontal break gained an inch from 2008. 2008 was also weirdly high compared to 2009 and 2010, so sliders have more realistically probsvly gain closer to an inch and a half in break in the last 10 years. And that's actually a dangerous combo. By adding horizontal break and removing vertical break from sliders, plus adding vertical break to curveballs actually differentiates those pitches even more, which makes it slightly harder to adjust.

    Add in the fact fastball velocity stuff too. Fastball velocity is up about 1.5 mph in that time frame. In 2008 there were about 200 pitches thrown at 100+ mph. In 2018, there were about 1300. In 2008 about 9% of pitchers average 95+ on their fastballs. In 2018, that number was about 19%. The fastball stuff has sort of leveled out a bit the last 3-4 years, but that also coincides with some of the more dramatic changes in breaking ball movement outlined above.

    Pitching has gotten nastier in the last 10 years. I have to imagine that trend would continue the further back we look. Sure, guys like Pedro and Randy Johnson would still be nasty today, but the average and baseline pitcher is so much nastier today than ever before.

  5. #230
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    But the ball was changed this year, so looking at last season's statistics is irrelevant. ERA numbers across the league are up near half a run a game this season. If you look at the previous 5 seasons, scoring was down across the board despite the increase in homeruns.

    Two big factors attributing to this are increased strikeouts and decreased hits. We can argue about quality of pitchers, but the far bigger impact IMO is the batters approach. Changing an approach at the plate dependent on situation is nothing new, hitters have been doing it forever. Let's not act like its an impossible thing to do. The reason this was traditionally taught was because its easier to put the ball in play with a shortened approach.

    The best hitters of all time managed to shorten up with 2 strikes without any issue.

    Wearing out pitchers is not just about wearing them down for the game, but also for the at bat. The longer at at bat goes the more likely it is that a pitcher makes a mistake. Seeing more pitches also allows for hitters to recognize pitches better.

  6. #231
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    Quote Originally Posted by crewfan13 View Post
    And all of that stuff requires a complete overhaul of approach and most likely a swing change. And teams have the analytics. Your likelihood of scoring increases dramatically when you get an extra base hit. That's why teams focus on extra base hits so much.
    No doubt there's a time and place for focusing on extra base hits, but as a whole the homerun/strikeout approach has decreased runs. Analytics not only focus on run probability but also try to maximize run potential. My point would be that just looking at baseball from a numbers perspective doesn't always work. There are factors that should change a teams approach. Anything from weather, to how a pitcher is throwing that day, to game score, to what relievers are available, inning etc all factor into what I'd say are the expected amount of runs needed to win. Dependent on this variable I'd modify my approach.

    A batters approach in a tie game in the 9th inning with a runner on third and no outs should not be the same as a batters approach if we're down 3 with 2 outs in the 6th and a runner on first.

    A batters approach should not be the same with a RISP in a 0-0 game where both starters are dealing into the 6th as it would be if both starters are out and the score is 7-7.

    A batters approach should not be the same if you're playing in Wrigley with the wind blowing in making homeruns near impossible.

    If teams can't adapt to different situations they're going to be throwing games away.

  7. #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by twellner9 View Post
    But the ball was changed this year, so looking at last season's statistics is irrelevant. ERA numbers across the league are up near half a run a game this season. If you look at the previous 5 seasons, scoring was down across the board despite the increase in homeruns.

    Two big factors attributing to this are increased strikeouts and decreased hits. We can argue about quality of pitchers, but the far bigger impact IMO is the batters approach. Changing an approach at the plate dependent on situation is nothing new, hitters have been doing it forever. Let's not act like its an impossible thing to do. The reason this was traditionally taught was because its easier to put the ball in play with a shortened approach.

    The best hitters of all time managed to shorten up with 2 strikes without any issue.

    Wearing out pitchers is not just about wearing them down for the game, but also for the at bat. The longer at at bat goes the more likely it is that a pitcher makes a mistake. Seeing more pitches also allows for hitters to recognize pitches better.
    The era is up because home runs are up. Batted balls flying out of the park is the reason for that, not some decrease in pitcher quality. 19 of the 30 teams are currently on pace to strike out more per game than they did last year, even with some changes to the ball. So it's hard to say pitching is worse.

    And the hr/k revolution is often attributed to change in approach at the plate, but at least some of that change in approach at the plate was a reaction to the increase in velocity and increase in pitch quality. Because putting the ball in play became harder, stringing together 3 plus hits/walks was less likely. Since thats less likely, you need to find ways to score runs on less hits, which prioritizes extra base hits.

    The increase in strikeouts and change in hitter approach isnt strictly an analytically driven phenomenon. It's also a reaction to increasing pitch movement and velocity.

    Look at league wide stats. 2006 was basically the last high water mark for most offensive stats prior to the last few years. 2006 was a good year, but not significantly different from many of the previous years for things like average, slugging, ops, runs and homers. From 2006 to 2014, basically everyone of those metrics declined. Since 2014, average climbed a hair while things like runs, homers, ops and ect climbed at a much quicker pace. Meanwhile, the k rate has climbed since basically the 90s and earlier, but has seen a bigger tick up lately.

    So to me, the story is that strikeouts have risen for years. Regardless of approach in the the 80s, 90s early 2000s ect, strikeouts have ticked up. Thats not surprising. Given the progress that athletic training moves at, guys will continue to throw harder and likely generate more spin. And in about 2006 or slightly beyond, it hit a breaking point that began hurting offense. That came to a head in 2014 with almost across the board lows in most offensive categories in recent memory. This seems to have triggered an offensive response to focus on homers and slugging increases, since from then on, those numbers have increased moreso than average. And that did contribute to a ballooning in k numbers too, but those were growing naturally anyways, regardless of offensive approach. So it wasnt just analytics guys saying, hey, I wonder if we just hit some homers and don't care about average. It was a decline in offensive stats that contributed to them requiring a new approach to offense to score runs. Obviously juicing the ball recently helped expedite that, but looking back it's sort of a natural progression given the way the game was moving on its own.

  8. #233
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    Any predictions on who is going to pick up the Yelich slack. I'm sure it will need to be a combination of guys to get in the playoffs, but who is going to have a monster September. I am thinking Cain needs to or should be the guy, he won't he the HR's but he has hit in the 3 spot for the Royals during their run. Getting Moose back and hopefully Keston shortly should make a big difference. Yesterday the Yeli injury had me down but I think I'm getting more pumped leading into the game today to see how the team responds.

  9. #234
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    I guess I'd argue that the shift has been a bigger contribution to offensive struggles than better pitching has been.

    And to me, the change in approach was analytically driven (part of which was due to increased shifting). Teams simply crunched the numbers and the launch angle era began, which has really accelerated strikeouts and homeruns. Its a chicken or an egg argument, and while your point about strikeouts increasing regardless is justified I could argue that was due to the stigma of negativity surrounding strikeouts decreasing.

  10. #235
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    But strikeouts have been increasing basically since 1980. From 1979 to 1989, k per game increased by about 0.9 per game. From 1989 to 1999, it was 0.8 per game. From 1999 to 2009, it was 0.5. And from 2009 to 2019, it's been 1.8. So it's definitely accelerated. But the interesting point is that the lowest decade jump, from 1999 to 2009, also saw the worst drop in total runs scored.

    And while there's definitely an acceleration in k per game recently as the stigma has lifted some, the acceleration really doesn't start in earnest until 2015, which is when total offensive numbers began to rebound.

    And that's really the catalyst to alot of this. Analytics absolutely drove the launch angle revolution and all that stuff. But to me it's all been a reaction to offenses bottoming out in the mid 2010s. Ks continued to increase and average continued to tank. That's driven by pitching, especially since alot of those declines predate the launch angle revoltuon.

    This also some fairly well researched articles that show almost no impact from shifts. They may decrease batting average, but shifts haven't had a major impact on runs or anything like that. The research is still fairly young and needs some additional data points, but shifts actually aren't helping teams as much as they think.

  11. #236
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    As to who steps up with Yeli out it is going to take an uptick from a lot of guys. Yaz needs to keep getting on, Cain needs to be the table setter too and the middle of the order guys need to drive in runs consistently like Moose last night, Braun has to be good and healthy and Hiura hopefully flys right into raking. Then I think guys like Arcia can't completely suck like he has since the AS break.

    Plus pitching needs to step up and limit teams to 3-4 runs consistently. I look forward to seeing if this team can rise to the challenge. It's nice facing the Marlins. Rock was so annyoing on FSN when talking with 50 games left you want to play the Cardinals and Nationals and teams ahead of you, it's the only way you catch up.....well playing the Marlins is better. Stacking wins.

  12. #237
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    Cards schedule is brutal the rest of the year too. After today with the rockies, they have us, Washington, Arizona and 2 vs the cubs, 1 of which is a 4 gamer. I still think they win the division, but soemthing like a 6-10 or 5-11 finish definitely isn't out of the question.

  13. #238
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    Also the Brewers schedule is extremely weak, we have the Cards and then all sub .500 teams Rockies, Pads, Pirates, Reds if I remember correctly. We should still be able to win all of those series and make a push for the Cards especially if we take 2/3 from them.

  14. #239
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    I thought going into the weekend that if we could take 2/3 or better from the Cards that we'd win the division. Still 3 games back which is tough, but our schedule is just so much more favorable than the Cards/Cubs is.

    One silver lining to the Yelich injury is that if we make the playoffs we should have Braun for every game. Braun can still be the best hitter in a lineup when he's healthy.

    It also seems like Hader (despite the homerun yesterday where I think the batter got lucky singing at a should high fastball) has become dominant again. Why? Because he actually started throwing the slider. Not sure if him being so fastball focused to start the year was him, Grandal, or the new pitching coach, but it was not smart pitching.

  15. #240
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    Quote Originally Posted by twellner9 View Post
    I thought going into the weekend that if we could take 2/3 or better from the Cards that we'd win the division. Still 3 games back which is tough, but our schedule is just so much more favorable than the Cards/Cubs is.

    One silver lining to the Yelich injury is that if we make the playoffs we should have Braun for every game. Braun can still be the best hitter in a lineup when he's healthy.

    It also seems like Hader (despite the homerun yesterday where I think the batter got lucky singing at a should high fastball) has become dominant again. Why? Because he actually started throwing the slider. Not sure if him being so fastball focused to start the year was him, Grandal, or the new pitching coach, but it was not smart pitching.
    Braun is one of the most clutch players ever. Before Yeli last year 90 percent of clutch hits seemed to be Braun in biggest moments in franchise history. What a moment yesterday. The Brewers have a great chance to get in if they do what they couldn't in June, taking advantage of easy portion of their schedule. Plus if can take 3 of 4 from SD the Cards are playing the Nats and Cubs so Brewers win they will be gaining on someone they are chasing all week.

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