Neyer: What we talk about when we talk about ground-ball pitchers

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on March 27, 2012:

As I've mentioned at least three or a hundred times already, recently I was lucky enough to engage Brandon McCarthy in a public discussion, under the auspices of the first SABR Analytics Conference (excerpts and audio here). And the next day, I was part of a panel that included FanGraphs' Dave Cameron. At one point, I asked Cameron a fundamental question that, oddly (or inexcusably), had never occurred to me before: What is a ground-ball pitcher?

Dave answered and he answered well. But I wasn't really paying attention. I rarely am. So let's work through it together, just me and you ...

We know, roughly speaking, what a power hitter is. You hit 30 homers and you're a power hitter.

We know, roughly speaking, what a power pitcher is. You strike out eight or nine batters per nine innings and you're a power pitcher.

We know what a lead-off man looks like, and a good-field/no-hit shortstop. We know a crafty left-hander when we see one (raise your hand, Jamie Moyer). We know a junk-baller, and a pure hitter. We see those types of players in our minds.

Or, let me rephrase ... we see the statistics of those players in our mind's eye. Sure, we have images, too. But we can attach numbers to those images. It occurred to me that I didn't know which numbers go with ground-ball pitchers.

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This page was last updated March 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm MST.