From Scott Lindholm at Beyond the Box Score on May 1, 2014:
This tweet rolled across my Twitter timeline last Friday, April 25th:
John Smoltz is saying the strikezone shrinks in the late innings of a close game. Anyone have a link to research on that?
— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) April 26, 2014
I never trust anything I see on Twitter (or the Internet, for that matter) without checking out the bona fides of the party involved, and after a rigorous vetting process, determined the tweeter involved could be trusted–indeed, they appear to be a stunningly bright group of men and women at the forefront of sabermetric research, but I digress. It poses a legitimate question, and the data exists to check the veracity of the statement.
Before showing the data, it’s important to draw an important distinction. When John Smoltz shaves, he loses more baseball knowledge than I’ll ever possess in my lifetime. In testing questions like this, my purpose isn’t to demean someone or show off my vast knowledge as much as check if the facts line up with the statement. There will never be an instance when my opinion should be given greater weight that.
With the advent of PITCHf/x in 2008, we can move beyond the Opinion Era to the Fact Era. All data comes from Daren Willman’s outstanding baseballsavant.com, and this picture shows how the strike zone is defined.
Read the full article here: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/5/1/5668626/john-smoltz-strike-zone-baseball-pitchfx
Originally published: May 1, 2014. Last Updated: May 1, 2014.