Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Love is patient, love is kind, love is never slow to hack at the first pitch

Over at the Hardball Times, Dan "Agonistes" Fox takes a gander at pitch data today. He's apparently trying to determine whether such data (e.g., "Pitches per Plate Appearance," "First Pitch Swing Percentage," etc.) are valuable tools for performance analysis. Fox seems to conclude the information, as a whole, has limited utility to that end.

Pardon me for being provincial, but I guess I'm more interested in seeing where individual Nats show up on his lists. And here they are, ranked among "the 473 players who had at least 500 plate appearances between 2000 and 2004":

---> Deivi Cruz: No. 5, "Least Pitches per Plate Appearance" (3.15); and,
---> Vinny Castilla: No. 4, "Highest First Pitch Swing Percentage" (47.7%).

We hardly know the recently-acquired Cruz; well, we as Washington Nationals' fans hardly do. As for others, including me, who have followed the Baltimore Orioles in recent years, well, let's just say that yesterday's early-count hacks against the Florida Marlins were not the least bit surprising.

Nor should Castilla's rank in first-pitching-swinging come as a surprise. Frank Robinson expressed severe consternation over this tendency back in June, and---although I of course don't have access to this season's data---I'd reckon he has not taught this old dog any new tricks.

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