I just saw this over at The Book Blog.
Sky’s very interesting look at the ball-strike count last week made me think about what makes for a good batter/pitcher matchup? For example, fastpitch softball is really boring to me. I love baseball, but the huge number of swing and misses is simply no fun for me. Similarly, if the number of aces in tennis or volleyball was very high, I’d be bored. I want to see some confrontation. Man v Man (or Player v Player).
So, I’d like you guys to answer these questions first, before (or in addition to) posting your thoughts:
1. For every pitch thrown, around what percentage of the time would you like to see the batter swing?
2. For every swing, around what percentage of the time would you like to see the at bat end on that swing (either as in-play, or strikeout)?
Now, to answer Tango’s questions. I believe that it would be most interesting if the batter swings around 55% of the time. Any less and you get high pitch pitch counts and too many cr-ptastic relievers. Any more and you find too many hitters flailing away and not enough hard contact.
As for the percentage of swings that end a plate appearance, I say around 60%. Today, there is just too much fouling pitches off and missed swings. The excitement in watching the game comes from seeing the ball in play.
Thanks, Tango, for bringing up this interesting idea.