From Dave Cameron at FanGraphs.com on October 27, 2011:
Let’s … address LaRussa’s contention directly – does the philosophy of taking pitches cause hitters to perform worse?
There’s a bit of a chicken and an egg problem here. As LaRussa notes, pitchers do not throw the same pitches to every batter, and the inherent ability of a hitter to drive the baseball will influence how many good pitches to hit he sees. If a guy is taking a lot of pitches, drawing walks, and getting into good hitting counts, we can’t say for certain whether he was simply not being thrown any good pitches to hit or whether he was working himself into those counts through a discerning eye at the plate. Does the batter get into a 2-1 count because he doesn’t swing at anything or because the pitcher won’t give him anything to swing at?
It’s different for every hitter, certainly, but we can look at the data on player’s swing rates and the fear they should be instilling into opposing pitchers.
Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-dangers-of-on-base-percentage/
Originally published: October 28, 2011. Last Updated: October 28, 2011.