February 28, 2021

Sarris: What’s more important for a pitcher, command or stuff? (The Athletic)

It’s a backfield, barstool argument that has gone on for years: What’s more important, stuff or command? What matter more: sharp, hard pitches with plenty of bend, or the ability to put those pitches in the right places?

Early on, we didn’t quite have the statistics to answer the question. We could look at things like strikeout rate and walk rate, but then we’d find that combining the two provided us with perhaps the best in-season estimate of a pitcher’s talent. And, anyway, neither of those statistics cleanly captures the skills we’re talking about. It takes command to get strikes, and you can have a low walk rate without command, for example.

But statistics have improved, and we’ve got a couple of new ones that might finally capture command and stuff separately. And if that’s true, we might be able to settle this argument.

From STATS Perform, we have Command+. In order to produce a number that hopes to asses…

Read “Sarris: What’s more important for a pitcher, command or stuff?” at The Athletic