Ben-Porat: The increasing importance of pitcher height

From Eli Ben-Porat at The Hardball Times on March 20, 2019:

Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez and Alex Bregman were three of the top five offensive contributors in 2018. They all accomplished this despite being the size of average human beings.

The top pitchers between 2016 and 2018, however, represent a stark contrast. All seven of the top pitchers over the past three seasons were at least 6-foot-3, with only two of the top 14 (6-foot-2 Aaron Nola and 6-foot-1 Trevor Bauer) shorter than that. Of the top 23, only five are below 6-foot-3, and all are at least 6-foot-1. Marcus Stroman is correct that Height Doesn’t Measure Heart; however, it definitely measures an individual’s potential to be a front-end major league baseball starter, especially in today’s game.

I begin most of my research with a hunch, which I then test with data. In most cases, my hunch is generally on the money, though sometimes it just plain goes nowhere. For today’s piece, the data took a very interesting, unexpected turn.

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Originally published: March 21, 2019. Last Updated: March 21, 2019.