Author Topic: The changing strike-zone (from Boston Globe)  (Read 1474 times)

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Offline welch

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The changing strike-zone (from Boston Globe)
« Topic Start: July 18, 2015, 02:54:36 PM »
Quote
By Alex Speier GLOBE STAFF  JULY 16, 2015
Few property disputes are so pitched as that over baseball’s strike zone.

The interpretation of what is and is not a strike frames the game like little else, defining the terms of the battle between pitchers and hitters. As such, it comes as little surprise that home plate umpires are subject to endless scrutiny, their interpretation of the strike zone for decades subject to shouts, insults, and epithets, with ejections more often coming from disputed ball and strike calls than any other realm.

<snip>

"The bottom of the zone has dropped the diameter of a baseball over five seasons or so,” said Jon Roegele, who began examining the phenomenon for the Hardball Times in early 2014. “[Overall since 2009 the strike zone has] grown about 40 square inches. Pretty much all of the growth is happening at the bottom of the strike zone, at the knees.”

<snip>

The article diagrams the changes to the official strike-zone, and mentions the unofficial changes that plate umpires make.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/07/16/baseball-strike-zone-expands-offense-shrinking/FenP9Yj0MLEgBlsELMDCfM/story.html

Online mitlen

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<snip>

"The bottom of the zone has dropped the diameter of a baseball over five seasons or so,” said Jon Roegele, who began examining the phenomenon for the Hardball Times in early 2014. “[Overall since 2009 the strike zone has] grown about 40 square inches. Pretty much all of the growth is happening at the bottom of the strike zone, at the knees.”

<snip>

The article diagrams the changes to the official strike-zone, and mentions the unofficial changes that plate umpires make.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/07/16/baseball-strike-zone-expands-offense-shrinking/FenP9Yj0MLEgBlsELMDCfM/story.html

I'd like to know when did "framing a pitch" start?

Offline HalfSmokes

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Probably always existed, pitch fx made it quantifiable

Offline welch

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Probably always existed, pitch fx made it quantifiable

When I was a kid, every one of our catchers tried it. Never worked, although kids did not throw 90 - 100 mph.

I do remember being taught "shoulders to the knees", and then "letters / armpits to the knees".

Offline Lintyfresh85

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I know it's always been letters to the knees... but even in high school I don't remember strikes being called below the belt.

Online mitlen

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When I was a kid, every one of our catchers tried it. Never worked, although kids did not throw 90 - 100 mph.

I do remember being taught "shoulders to the knees", and then "letters / armpits to the knees".

I don't remember a catcher ever trying to frame a pitch.    I can remember a catcher holding a catch he/she thought was a strike but never moving the glove after the catch.    Of course, I played 3rd base.    What do I know?    :)

Online varoadking

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I don't remember a catcher ever trying to frame a pitch.    I can remember a catcher holding a catch he/she thought was a strike but never moving the glove after the catch.    Of course, I played 3rd base.    What do I know?    :)

Could you bunt?

Online mitlen

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Could you bunt?

Actually a bunt ended my playing in organized baseball.

Online varoadking

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Actually a bunt ended my playing in organized baseball.

It was a manager for me...

Offline Lintyfresh85

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It was a manager for me...

Ok there Uncle Rico.

Online varoadking

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Ok there Uncle Rico.

Sorry...I don't get the reference...  :shrug:

Offline welch

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The "bottom of the knees" has to be raised. The low strike-zone would account, partially, for the increase in strikeouts.

Offline HalfSmokes

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just make it standard (i.e. figure out the average size of a major leaguer and make an arbitrary box based on that) then automate it

Online varoadking

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just make it standard (i.e. figure out the average size of a major leaguer and make an arbitrary box based on that) then automate it

That would likely start at Altuze's armpit and extend over his head...

Offline HalfSmokes

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That would likely start at Altuze's armpit and extend over his head...

players have already been barred based on height, after that, it's really about haggling over the price. It would suck for smaller players who've benefited from a smaller zone and benefit bigger guys with larger zones, but it would also lead to consistent calls.

Offline welch

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Seems unlikely.

A huge difference between a 5-11 guy and a 6-5 guy. In classic Washington baseball, take a look at the picture of Frank Howard standing with other All-Stars...I think Boog Powell makes it to Howard's chin. The others about up to Hondo's shoulders. Oakland has a 5-9 CF, Billy Burns. Nats kept Michael Taylor, traded Burns. Taylor is listed at 6 foot 3. That's a half-foot difference.

Offline NJ Ave

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The "bottom of the knees" has to be raised. The low strike-zone would account, partially, for the increase in strikeouts.

I feel like hitters having to protect against the bottom of the knee strike also is contributing to the effect pitchers are having on high fastballs late in counts, which increases strikeouts as well.

Offline welch

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I feel like hitters having to protect against the bottom of the knee strike also is contributing to the effect pitchers are having on high fastballs late in counts, which increases strikeouts as well.

Plus article quotes Ortiz as saying that swinging at the below-the-knees pitch mangles his swing and that of everyone else. Nobody can hit that pitch.

Isn't the strike-zone intended to define an area in which a batter has an honest chance to hit the ball? That's the principle. Otherwise, why not "chin to the toes"?

Offline MarquisDeSade

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You realize that just because it ends low that doesn't automatically mean it didn't cross through the strike zone at some point, right?  If you look at the Pitch F/X data and lay it over a "normalized" strike zone that you're talking about and turn on the pitch trajectory (i.e. make is a three dimensional image) you'll see that many "low" pitches are just two seam fastballs, splitters, or change ups that dropped as it passed through the strike zone.  Even when you adjust for player height (i.e. move the zone down for the Altuves and up for the Justin Maxwells) that still holds in over 85% of the cases I looked at and I have the full PitchF/x data since it got implemented by MLB.