Sullivan: The recent history of contact teams in the playoffs

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on October 20, 2015, with mention of SABR member Ben Lindbergh:

First things first — by sheer coincidence, Ben Lindbergh wrote about something similar this morning at Grantland. This is a link to the post, and if you missed it, this is another link, and you should read it, and it’s good! It’s never fun to have article overlap, but as I’ve noted before, I’m stubborn about writing ideas, and more importantly, Lindbergh went about doing his research in a different way. So what follows is my own spin on things. It won’t surprise you that we arrive at similar conclusions.

Here’s a theory. The Royals have been successful in the playoffs, right? Already, today, they’ve gotten to R.A. Dickey, not that he’s the ordinary type of postseason pitcher. In the playoffs, the Royals have been able to hit. In the playoffs, pitchers overall tend to be better. A year ago, the Royals were an excellent contact team. This year, the Royals were maybe the best contact team in a very long time. So, does it make sense that being a contact team might provide some sort of playoff advantage? Are contact teams less vulnerable to going quiet against the best pitchers in the game? Not that all the best pitchers make the playoffs, but, you see where this is going. The pitchers are good. Does the offensive style really matter?

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Originally published: October 20, 2015. Last Updated: October 20, 2015.