How good is MLB pitching?

Baseball Reference has some specific stats referring to situational hitting. The results of these indicate how good the pitchers in MLB are. First, let’s go over the stats. PrdOut is Productive out. It refers to 3 possible situations. 1. Successful SAC for a pitcher with one out. 2. Advancing any runner with 0 outs. 3. Driving in a baserunner with the 2nd out of the inning. 2020 saw 5953 opportunities to have productive outs. There were only 1505 successful productive outs for a 25.3% attainment rate. It is better to reflect this the opposite way. When a pitcher is facing key spots to help himself in an inning, he reduced the opponent’s successful productive outs (moving the baserunner) 74.7% of the time!

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BaseRunners is another stat they have which is quite simple. It counts any baserunners then counts how many baserunners scored and divides them to get a baserunner score percent. The MLB average is 14.5%! Offenses need to get on base, but they need to do a better job of moving the runners into positions to score. This indicates nearly a 1 in 7 chance to score when a team has a baserunner, so the pitcher is successful 6 out of 7 times!

They have stats indicating Advances of runners. This is the one where you can really see how good pitchers are. <2,3B = Plate Appearances with less than two out, and a runner on third. They count opportunities and scores and divide the two to get a success rate. The average success rate is 49.3%. This means the pitchers win 50.7% of the time with 0 outs and a man on 3rd base! 0,2B = Plate appearances with a runner on 2B with 0 outs. They count the opportunities and the scores, then divide the two to get a success rate. The MLB average is 50.7%. Again, offenses are struggling to get runs home. This one illustrates all the metrics. There is a man on 2B with 0 outs. The MLB avg was 25.3% to move him over. The MLB avg is roughly 50% that he would score. When pitchers win 50% – 75% of the time, it is apparent how difficult it is to score runs.

It take roughly 2 hits to score 1 run in MLB. The average fluctuates from a low 1.87 to high of 2.08. Offenses have to work hard to get 2 hits strung together in the right sequence to score. What has changed the game, is the idea of the Home Run. Offenses are willing to give up the struggle with the pitcher (they are losing) to hit the ball over the fence. It is easier to score and work less hard to get their runs. This has created the strikeout and Homerun game we see today.

Other elements are the shift. Shifting has decreased the offense ability to string multiple hits together. The shift makes sense in that it applies a player to where the batter hits the ball the most. Since the hitters do not want to hit the ball where the fielders aren’t, they make more outs and hit for less average.

The game has many degrees of complication. It is hard to hit a round ball with a round bat thrown at 95mphs. However, when your skilled to do that and you are the best in the world at doing so, I would expect a better outcome. It is NOT ok to continue letter pitcher win without better fight from hitters. It is NOT ok to strikeout as much as they do. The game will be better when the hitters work together as a lineup to make a pitcher work hard. They are too lazy. Working each batters unique strengths against the pitchers weaknesses, the offenses can make progress. Let’s see if 2021 is a year where the offenses start getting smart. They are smart, they just play dumb!

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