January 20, 2021

An Encyclopedia of Pitcher-on-Pitcher Crime (FanGraphs)


Should baseball return in 2020, it will likely do so with a DH in both leagues. That makes sense — given shorter training times and an increased prevalence of interleague play, getting pitchers ready to bat wouldn’t be easy. Losing sacrifice bunts is no great sacrifice, either; no one is tuning into the game to watch Johnny Cueto try to get a bunt down against Zac Gallen.

But there’s one thing I’ll greatly miss about pitchers hitting: the moments where the opposing pitcher decides to play a little unfair. Pitchers are terrible hitters — terrible! The standard way to pitch to them is generally by throwing them fastballs until they take a seat in the dugout. But sometimes, that’s not how it goes. Sometimes the pitcher on the mound is a little cruel. Sometimes, they throw a pitch that moves.

The results of throwing a tough-to-hit pitch to a bad hitter should be pretty obvious — they don’t hit it. That’s not to say there are no downsides; breaking balls and offspeed pitches miss the zone more often than fastballs, and batters are less likely to put them in play, which means longer at-bats. No one wants long at-bats against the opposing pitcher. Leashes are short enough…

Read “An Encyclopedia of Pitcher-on-Pitcher Crime” at FanGraphs