Long: An ode to the slider

From Jeff Long at Baseball Prospectus on September 11, 2017:

Recently, I was having a conversation with a coach from a successful collegiate program when a profound concept—an explanation really—hit me. Like most realizations, it was the brutal simplicity of it that made it so useful and resonant. The concept was simply “sliders work because they look like fastballs.”


Harry Pavlidis often reminds me that our job as analysts—especially those of us who focus on defining, improving, and creating baseball statistics—is to “quantify things that the players already know.” This would be a textbook example of Pavlidis’ Precept™.

We’re blessed to have been living with PITCHf/x-type data for a decade, a true revolution in the data we have at our fingertips with which to understand the game. Yet I often feel as though this windfall of data has in some ways spoiled us. In many ways it has conditioned us to become so exceptionally focused on individual pitch performance, rather than looking at each individual pitch as a greater part of the whole. The slider—the concept of the pitch itself—is a perfect example of that.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=32730

Originally published: September 11, 2017. Last Updated: September 11, 2017.