Carleton: The pink elephant effect in baseball

From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on July 19, 2016:

Now pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers. Number 21. Jeremy Jeffress.

Check that. Number 13. Will Smith.

Wait… Number 34. Rollie Fingers?

The Brewers may not bring out their closer of yesteryear (or his Hall of Fame mustache) any time soon, but Jeffress and Smith make quite the pair, don’t they? Smith is left-armed and listed at 6-foot-5. Jeffress is right-armed and listed at 6 feet. Jeffress throws his fastball at 95 mph. Smith throws in the low 90s but offsets it with a couple of high 70s breaking pitches. Jeffress is a proverbial “groundball machine” while Smith tends to have a more average profile. But if you venture across the Cheddar Curtain for a three-gamer with the Brew Crew, you might have a game where you get to face both men in two consecutive plate appearances. That might make your head spin so fast that you might think Rollie Fingers was back out on the mound.

Well… does it? Sure, the hitters will notice that Jeffress and Smith pose two completely different challenges, but does the fact that they are so radically different from each other mean that they will have extra difficulties? Does Jeffress’s fastball “look” faster when the last thing that the batter saw was a 79 mph curve out of Smith’s hand? Does the change from right to left (or left to right) confuse the hitters? If it does, does it really have any effect on what happens in the plate appearance?

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 19, 2016. Last Updated: July 19, 2016.