With the advent and widespread openness of resources like Fangraphs and Baseball Reference, sabermetrics has matured and democratized baseball. Advanced statistics have grown to be fairly exhaustive, continuing to describe the game more objectively and making the game better for all.
Nonetheless, data – particularly at the level of granularity available to the public – ultimately does more describing results than explaining process; while a quick trip to Fangraphs tells us that the Nationals aren’t hitting well right now, the site only provides a cursory view to the drivers behind those struggles.
This contention is reasonable enough: numbers don’t lie, but they only tell you what they’re meant to describe (and there is a practical limit to what can be described objectively). The onus is on us to interpret the statistics, synthesize that with what we see, and judge appropriately. We know that Nationals are getting into a fair share of pitchers’ counts and batting miserably in them, but our eyes tell us that some players are potentially regressing to their scouting reports and poor swing mechanics.
Pitching is particularly fluid when it comes to process. Between the game theory subconsciously going on between the pitcher/catcher and the batter, mechanics, delivery times, and other nuances of the game, there are a lot of things going on before anything is recorded into the box score.
(Remember that 5-4 win in Pittsburgh in early May where Zimmerman and LaRoche had the double steal that set up the game-winning sacrifice fly? The Nationals’ advance scouts knew that the reliever the team was facing in the 9th inning still kept a slow delivery with baserunners on – 1.8s –, and that awareness tangibly contributed to the win.)
This ongoing feature will attempt to dive into these nuances and highlight points that could be turned into competitive advantages for the Nats this weekend and beyond.
Today’s feature will scout two of the Twins’ starters pitching this weekend: Kevin Correia and Scott Diamond.Read More