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What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby MTUCache » Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:50 pm

kab21 wrote:
MTUCache wrote:
kab21 wrote:How about when a pitcher has thrown 100 pitches in the 5th inning with 4 BB's (like j Sanchez today)? Sometimes pitchers try to get too perfect with their pitches.


As long as they're not all over the place, these guys would be referred to as "nibblers", constantly trying to nibble in on the corners of the strikezone. Some do it effectively, others end up killing themselves by forcing themselves into 2-0 fastballs right down the middle several times in a game. These guys are the most frustrating to watch, and the most dependent on which umpire is behind the plate that game.


But shouldn't these nibblers be pitching more to contact so that they can go further into the game. Especially when they have the heat like Sanchez.


Like I said, it's completely dependent on the pitcher. Some guys can get to the HoF doing it (Maddux). Other guys just end up walking seven guys per game and might as well be giving up singles, it would take less pitches.

You'd like to think that a guy with heat wouldn't be afraid to just rifle it down the pipe every once in a while, challenging these guys (as well as setting up his high fastball), but they either don't have that kind of command or they're afraid they'll get mashed. In the majors, unless you've got 98+, heat isn't really "heat". Just about all these guys can hit it deep if you don't have late movement.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Sun Apr 20, 2008 6:10 pm

kab21 wrote:
GotowarMissAgnes wrote:
chipper wrote:A lot of it has to do with the philosophy of using less pitches to get through your innings, therefore lasting longer into games.
Think Roy Halladay his last few years. Of course he can go and strikeout 10 a game if he wanted to, but it seems like nowadays he intentionally pitches more to contact in order to last longer into the game.



See, in my opinion, this isn't the real story. Halladay was NEVER a big strikeout pitcher and was never able to consistently go out strike out ten a game. He's always hovered between 5.5 and 7 per game an dhe had more CG in 2003 when he was striking out 7 per game than any other year.

I just don't beleive there's any particular ability to pitch to contact or, if there is, that this is a good thing.


How about when a pitcher has thrown 100 pitches in the 5th inning with 4 BB's (like j Sanchez today)? Sometimes pitchers try to get too perfect with their pitches.



Again, is that simply who Sanchez is--a pitcher who lacks command of the strike zone--or is this his approach? Sanchez walked a lot of guys in the minors. He's walked a ton of guys in the minors. My conclusion is that it's not about approach, it's about talent. You may as well try to turn Sanchez into a guy who "pitches to contact" as teach a slap hitter like Pierre to be a slugger.

I guess what I am saying is that announcers seem to think that players can suddenly become much better if they just "changed their approach" and stopped trying to strike guys out or started being "more aggressive". In my opinion, players have certain abilities and they've worked 20+ years to develop those abilities. If they can't be more patient, it is very rare to develop that ability after getting to MLB. If they can't keep the ball around the plate and on the corners, it's much more to be because they lack that talent, rather than because they are trying to miss bats, rather than pitch to contact.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby kaiser » Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:55 pm

Interesting replies here.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby DaShiz23 » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:14 pm

My take on this term is like a sinker baller, or a pitcher who throws 'pitcher pitch' strikes early in the count. A sinker baller wants you to smash the ball into the ground, instead of having you swing and miss. Instead of velocity, the pitcher uses late movement to dictate the type of contact a hitter makes. The pitcher also attacks batters who are known to swing early in the count, with pitches the batter can't do much with. For example, an offspead pitch on the outside of the plate to a dead-pull hitter. I don't believe it has much to do with strikeouts, as it has more to do with putting hitters in situations where they must swing at and put balls into play on their "own terms". They aren't trying to fool hitters into swings and misses, but into bad swings at good pitches, inducing ground outs or weak pop-ups. These pitchers must display great command with pitches that many can't locate on a regular basis.
A strikeout pitcher may display a great high fastball as a strikeout pitch, or even a nasty slider that falls off the table, but they also have a tendency to 'hang' these pitches, resulting in solid contact. Whereas, a pitcher who pitches 'to contact', can consistently locate 'their' pitches in the favorable location, thus controlling the effect of the batters' swing.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby smoovethug » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:15 pm

When I hear the term pitch to contact I think about Derek Lowe, Fausto Carmona, Chien Ming-Wang, Joe Saunders, Brian Bannister...guys that won't K many guys but won't walk too many either. They don't have the most dazzling stuff but they are still able to be effective by putting balls in play and trusting the defense behind them. This allows them to keep pitch counts low, go deeper into ballgames and avoid the middle relievers who are usually a team's weakness.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby kab21 » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:29 pm

GotowarMissAgnes wrote:
Again, is that simply who Sanchez is--a pitcher who lacks command of the strike zone--or is this his approach? Sanchez walked a lot of guys in the minors. He's walked a ton of guys in the minors. My conclusion is that it's not about approach, it's about talent. You may as well try to turn Sanchez into a guy who "pitches to contact" as teach a slap hitter like Pierre to be a slugger.

I guess what I am saying is that announcers seem to think that players can suddenly become much better if they just "changed their approach" and stopped trying to strike guys out or started being "more aggressive". In my opinion, players have certain abilities and they've worked 20+ years to develop those abilities. If they can't be more patient, it is very rare to develop that ability after getting to MLB. If they can't keep the ball around the plate and on the corners, it's much more to be because they lack that talent, rather than because they are trying to miss bats, rather than pitch to contact.


Don't you ever get frustrated by a pitcher who can get ahead in counts 0-2 or 1-2 and then he routinely takes it a full count throwing pitches nowhere near the zone (trying to get the hitter to chase)? And then before you know it he's thrown 100 pitches in the 5th inning. He'll get a bunch of K's, but continually burn up the bullpen. I don't know if that was the case with Sanchez in particular, he was just an example for today (5IP, 0ER, 2H, 5K's, but 101 pitches). I'm not suggesting turning player X into someone who pitches to contact, but just to have them keep putting it into/near the strikezone when they get ahead in the count. Just pitching to more contact instead of trying to strike everyone out.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:55 pm

smoovethug wrote:When I hear the term pitch to contact I think about Derek Lowe, Fausto Carmona, Chien Ming-Wang, Joe Saunders, Brian Bannister...guys that won't K many guys but won't walk too many either. They don't have the most dazzling stuff but they are still able to be effective by putting balls in play and trusting the defense behind them. This allows them to keep pitch counts low, go deeper into ballgames and avoid the middle relievers who are usually a team's weakness.



Can you find data that these pitchers have lower pitch counts and go deeper into games? I was looking for data on IP per start and could not find it.

Not all of them may be the best examples. Bannister, for example, was 33rd among 101 pitchers in pitches per plate appearance last year (limiting it to pitchers with 140+IP). Saunders would have ranked 45th. The others were much lower in P/PA (Lowe ranked 76th; Carmona was 88th; Wang was 92nd; Maddux was the lowest).

And, it's not that I doubt that there are pitchers who are like this. It's that I believe it's a skill rather than an approach. An approach, to me, signifies something that a pitcher can change almost at will. A skill is something that takes discipline and hard work and time to develop, and is thus difficult to change. And, I'd describe the skill as something more like command or control. These are pitchers who have a skill for being able to stay around the strike zone, and that induces high swing percentages and high contact.

Sure, I am familiar with guys who go 0-2 and then take a while to punch a guy out. But, to me those often seem to be the guys who simply cannot control the ball much to begin with. They generally miss a lot of bats, because rather than having great command/control, they usually have great speed and movement. But, that also makes it more difficult for them to consistently hit their spots.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby Ender » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:38 pm

The basic idea is to concentrate on inducing groundballs and not worrying about getting strike outs. If you 'pitch to contact' and get a flyball you are just hurting yourself.
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby Wharton93 » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:09 pm

http://38pitches.com/2007/03/28/32807-v ... e-contest/

think Schilling in 2007
"One of the amazing transitions that just kind of happened this spring is being able to ‘pitch to contact’. I’ve always said I do, and sometimes I’ve tried but never to the extent I have this spring"
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Re: What does this term mean? I keep hearing it this season...

Postby bobbing_headz » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:28 pm

DaShiz23 wrote:My take on this term is like a sinker baller, or a pitcher who throws 'pitcher pitch' strikes early in the count. A sinker baller wants you to smash the ball into the ground, instead of having you swing and miss. Instead of velocity, the pitcher uses late movement to dictate the type of contact a hitter makes. The pitcher also attacks batters who are known to swing early in the count, with pitches the batter can't do much with. For example, an offspead pitch on the outside of the plate to a dead-pull hitter. I don't believe it has much to do with strikeouts, as it has more to do with putting hitters in situations where they must swing at and put balls into play on their "own terms". They aren't trying to fool hitters into swings and misses, but into bad swings at good pitches, inducing ground outs or weak pop-ups. These pitchers must display great command with pitches that many can't locate on a regular basis.
A strikeout pitcher may display a great high fastball as a strikeout pitch, or even a nasty slider that falls off the table, but they also have a tendency to 'hang' these pitches, resulting in solid contact. Whereas, a pitcher who pitches 'to contact', can consistently locate 'their' pitches in the favorable location, thus controlling the effect of the batters' swing.


This is exactly what I think of. Pitchers like Wang, Buehrle or Penny are good examples.
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