Quick Take: Winning Percentage for Games Less Than Nine Innings

Last night I heard a little grumbling about the Indians-Astros game getting called early. The Indians, the home team, won 2-1 in a 7 inning game. I decided to got back and see if the umpires were more likely to call a game with the home team winning vice losing.

I found there to be 269 games called early over the past 30 years. The home team won 143 times for a winning percentage of 53.2%. Historically, the home team wins 54% of the time, so no bias exists in calling the game.

Since I had the data available, I went ahead and plotted the number of games called early along with a three year average.


The number of games dipped in the mid-80′s and has been slowly rising since then.

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Testosterone vs Hitter Aging Curves

While browsing the great and wonderful internet, I found the aging curves for testosterone (don’t ask) . It and the hitter’s aging curve are eerily similar to each other.

Testosterone Aging Curve


Hitter Aging Curves (link and link)



I don’t have the knowledge to make too in-depth of conclusions, but some similarities exist. The average peak age and that some players peak later than others are the two likenesses which stick out.

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Best Five Straight Seasons

Recently, I was asked to create a list of the best five concurrent seasons for hitters and pitchers according to their FanGraphs WAR totals. I decided to make the data available for everyone to use.  I have included the top 20 5-year periods for hitters and pitchers. Additionally, here is a link to the all-time top 500 seasons.


Name 5 Year Total Start Season Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5
Babe Ruth 61.1 1920 13.3 13.9 6.5 15.0 12.5
Babe Ruth 57.9 1919 9.4 13.3 13.9 6.5 15.0
Babe Ruth 56.1 1923 15.0 12.5 3.6 12.0 13.0
Barry Bonds 54.3 2000 7.6 12.5 12.4 10.1 11.7
Babe Ruth 53.9 1926 12.0 13.0 10.6 7.8 10.5
Babe Ruth 52.6 1927 13.0 10.6 7.8 10.5 10.7
Rogers Hornsby 52.2 1921 11.2 10.6 7.1 12.5 10.8
Babe Ruth 51.7 1924 12.5 3.6 12.0 13.0 10.6
Babe Ruth 51.3 1921 13.9 6.5 15.0 12.5 3.6
Honus Wagner 51.1 1905 10.8 9.6 9.2 11.8 9.7
Rogers Hornsby 51.1 1920 9.8 11.2 10.6 7.1 12.5
Honus Wagner 50.4 1904 9.0 10.8 9.6 9.2 11.8
Willie Mays 50.0 1962 10.5 9.8 10.5 10.7 8.5
Willie Mays 49.8 1961 8.3 10.5 9.8 10.5 10.7
Babe Ruth 49.5 1922 6.5 15.0 12.5 3.6 12.0
Babe Ruth 48.3 1928 10.6 7.8 10.5 10.7 8.7
Mickey Mantle 48.2 1954 6.7 9.8 11.5 11.4 8.8
Lou Gehrig 48.2 1927 12.5 9.7 7.3 9.6 9.2
Babe Ruth 48.2 1918 5.2 9.4 13.3 13.9 6.5
Mickey Mantle 48.1 1955 9.8 11.5 11.4 8.8 6.6

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True Lefty Hitters vs. Right-Handed Converts

Most left-handed hitters in the majors aren’t truly left-handed. They are naturally right-handed and learned to bat left-handed. From 2002 to 2013 only 43% of all left-handed plate appearances were from left handed throwers.

I thought the there may be a somewhat different batted ball profiles for the two groups such as right-handed throwers are more fly-ball prone. After totaling the values from 2002 to 2013, the results are almost identical:

Left 874648 0.271 0.343 0.429 0.772 8.6% 18.0% 43.2% 20.0% 34.7% 31.5% 3.2%
Right 1149769 0.266 0.340 0.421 0.761 8.8% 18.5% 42.9% 20.1% 35.5% 32.1% 3.4%

And here is the percentage mix for hits:

Throwing Hand 1B 2B 3B HR
Left 66.4% 19.8% 2.8% 10.9%
Right 66.3% 20.0% 2.5% 11.1%

The only possible differences would be in FB% and K% being higher for right-handed throwers.

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Zack Greinke Inside Pitches vs RHH on 3-2 Counts

Padres CEO, Tom Garfinkel, stated the following in an interview:

Garfinkel told the crowd he saw a heat map, which highlights the locations a pitcher has targeted in the past, and that it showed over the last three years Greinke had not thrown a single pitch on a 3-2 count to right-handed hitters on the inner half of the plate.


Since 2007 until his last start, here are the locations off every pitch Zack Greinke has thrown on a 3-2 count against right-handed hitters:


Zack definitely comes in side about 1/3 of the time (36.7%). If the definition of inside is pushed to the inner quarter of the plate, the percentage drops to 13.5%. I would love to see the heat map Mr. Garkinkel was examining.

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Pitchers, Game Temperature and Throwing Strikes

I have always figured pitchers have an early advantage in the season because balls hit in cold weather don’t travel as far. After watching teams try to pitch in the miserable weather of the last few days, I was wandering if there was a point where the cold weather affects the pitchers also. The main item I noticed was the pitcher’s in ability to consistently throw strikes. I decided to look at the Zone% for all pitches depending on the temperature. Here are the results:

Temp Zone% % of Total Pitches
<40 29.8% 0.3%
40 to 49 40.2% 2.3%
50 to 59 43.2% 8.5%
60 to 69 44.2% 23.6%
70 to 79 42.8% 37.2%
80 to 89 41.7% 21.5%
90 to 99 43.7% 5.9%
>=100 44.0% 0.7%


Hitters don’t hit the ball as far in colder temperatures, but when the temperature is under 50 degrees, pitchers have issues throwing strikes.


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Rays Shift Against Youkilis

On 3/24/13, the Rays put the following shift on Kevin Youkilis of the Yankees.

Rays Infield In

I decided to the Batted Ball Location application to see how often he pulls the ball which would cause the Rays to put on such a shift. Dividing the field into fifths, here is how often he hit ground balls into each area:

Location: GB%
LF: 29%
LF-CF: 45%
CF: 15%
RF-CF: 9%
RF: 2%

89% of Youkilis’s batted balls went to the center to left side of the field. The extreme shift, especially against a right-henaded hitter, makes sense considering the heavy pull nature and the lack of speed from Youkilis.

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Adam Wainwright Contact: Slight Cardinal Overpay

I decided to see what the chances were for Adam Wainwright’s contract working out for the Cardinals. The main issue is Wainwright’s age. He will be 33 when the contract starts. Past pitchers have produced almost to the level of the contract signed.

First, I plugged Wainwrights contact into my salary calculator (contract calculator tab) with some aggressive salary growth values of 10% salary inflation and the WAR/$$ amount of $6M/WAR. With those values, Adam would need to produce 13.6 WAR.  With a little more conservative numbers of 5% inflation and a 5.5 WAR/$$, the total ends up at 16.1 WAR

Next, I used the Marcel pitcher similarity tool here at BBHM to find pitcher who had similar age-32 projections from 1990 to 2007. After finding nine such pitchers, I looked at how they performed in their age 33 to 37 seasons and here are the results:

Name Total WAR (age 33-37 seasons)
Clemens, Roger 29.5
Mussina, Mike 22.1
Fassero, Jeff 15.1
Carpenter, Chris 13.7
Smoltz, John 8.5
Schmidt, Jason 4.0
Reynolds, Shane 4.3
Astacio, Pedro 0.9
Clement, Matt 0.0
Average 10.9

Using aggressive price increases, the salary looks fairly valued. The Cardinals are banking on the same level of production they got from Carpenter over the same seasons. Using a conservative price increase, the Cardinals looked to over pay. Only time will be able to tell.

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D.J. Peterson – New Mexico – 2013 Draft Prospect

I was able to see D.J. Peterson at Arizona State on March 13th. Here are my thoughts on the right handed junior.

• Primarily pitched outside with nothing inside. I was too far away to get good readings on types, but he seemed to fed a nice mix of pitches.
• Displayed good line drive power, but no elite power during the game. I missed batting practice, but I heard he showed good power then.
• His swing is good, good base, keeps hands in tight, shoulder up, compact.

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