Anybody know where I can find information about how well a particular batter fares against particular pitches? Many people look at splits against righties and lefties, home and away...I'd be curious to see how well Hunter Pence, for example, hits a fastball vs. a breaking ball. Seems like it would be useful to compare a batter's pitch type abilities vs. a pitcher's pitch type tendencies, heading into a matchup. Especially for young batters with less pitch recognition skills.
"So if a guy gets lucky and hits 10 breaking balls for a hit then can you really say that he is good at hitting breaking balls?"
Well, the same can be said in general. If a guy has 170 hits in 600 at bats, he's hitting a solid-if-unremarkable .283. If he gets a little luckier with just 10 of those at bats, he's hitting .300 and everyone notices.
Sure, small sample size warnings apply, but I'm sure there's at least a couple of people picking up Aaron Boone today because historically, he's hit four times and one HR in 11 at bats against Dan Haren, which translates to a very impressive .364 AVG and 1.091 OPS. And yeah, they'll probably be disappointed at the end of the day. And perhaps the data wouldn't sort for the quality of the pitches, as you say (a breaking ball vs. a hanging breaking ball), but it'll just be one more data point, nothing definitive, of course.
Let's be clear, I'm not so much looking to uncover great matchups. (Well, for the most part.) I'm looking for insight on how best I might be able to exploit some platoons. Just wanted to know if there is a source for this kind of data, because I'm sure that MLB managers have it at their fingertips.
You'd have to look at it from the other angle also, what is a pitchers success with said pitch? To Yoda's point, a batter sees a bunch of hanging breakers, but what if it's off a dude who's curve has a .400 BA against it because he hangs it every time? Even if it's his 4th pitch and the only reason he throws it is so the batter has something else to think about?
Just saying, look at both sides of the equation. Making up some random #'s, if Melvin Mora hits .385 swinging at two-seamers, and Beckett's two seamer has a .209 BA against, which side are you taking with a mortgage payment on the line?
Good luck though, and let us know if you find anything, I'd be interested.
"if Melvin Mora hits .385 swinging at two-seamers, and Beckett's two seamer has a .209 BA against, which side are you taking with a mortgage payment on the line?"
Don't be totally shocked if I go with Mora on that one.
Though to tell you the truth, using platoon splits, AVG is really one of the lesser data points I use. Much, much, much more important to me is a batter's tendency to strikeout or walk. Hits are somewhat important but also not the whole story. I believe there's something about striking out or walking against a particular pitcher, against a particular pitch type, or whatever, that speaks to how well the batter is seeing the ball and can recognize the pitch. Particularly, not striking out. Putting the ball into play.