There is much debate among baseball professionals and fans regarding the benefit of taking multiple pitches during an at bat in order to drive up the pitch count of the starting pitcher and to see more types of pitches in order to be more productive later in the game. However, it is well know that a batter’s batting average drops drastically when they get behind in the count.
Lets’ look at the 7 returning Dodger starters and how they batted last year.
|Count||Seven Player Average||Best||Average||Worst||Average|
Loney has the best batting average for a specific count three times; Rameriz, Ethier and Kemp twice; and Martin once. Martin has the worst batting average for a specific count five times; Blake twice; and Rameriz, Kemp, Furcal and Ethier once.
The seven starter’s combined batting average is above their OBP when hitting at counts 2 – 0; 3 – 1; and 2 – 1. Six starters have a batting average above their OBP when the count is 2 – 0. Five starters have a batting average above their OBP when the count is 3 – 1. Three starters have a batting average above their OBP when the count is 2 – 1. So why must the batters take a pitch at these counts. Certainly when a batter’s average on certain counts is above their OBP for the season they should be hitting. Maybe taking pitches at these counts is one of the reasons that the Dodger batting average with RISP was so poor last year.
Six batters have an average below .200 when the count is 2 – 2. Four batters have an average below .200 when the count is 0 – 2 or 1 – 2. These batters should be more aggressive and tryvery hard not to let the count get to these levels. Maybe taking extra strikes, that result in these counts, is one of the reasons that the Dodger batting average with RISP was so poor last year.
Blake has an average below .200 when the count is either 1 – 0; or 0 – 1. He obviously needs to take many pitches in order to become accustomed to the movement and speed of pitches. Martin even has an average below .200 when the count is 3 – 2. Obviously Martin’s batting approached is completely screwed up. He does have a batting average above .400 only when the count is 1 – 0; 2 – 0; and 3 – 1, so for him to take strikes is really insanity.
In conclusion, each player handles pressure differently and adjusts their swing to the count and situation differently so a blind alliance to taking a lot of pitches is sophomoric.