Swydan: Just how rare is a 14-pitch plate appearance?

From Paul Swydan at The Hardball Times on May 16, 2014:

Yesterday, Xander Bogaerts had a 14-pitch battle with Phil Hughes. Hughes eventually won, as Bogaerts hit a weak fly ball to center field. But it got me wondering, just how rare of an event this was. The venerable Jeff Zimmerman was kind enough to help me find out this very thing:


The numbers were pulled from Retrosheet, so this year’s data is not yet there. Still, you get the idea. Pretty freaking rare — .003%. Dave Cameron is fond of saying that you should never need more than one decimal place, and using his rule, you’d basically say that 14-pitch battles never happen.

And from a player perspective, the patience and bat control necessary to achieve such a plate appearance seems even more rare. The below list is sorted by player, and you can see that there are several players here multiple times — 41 by my quick count. And if I had more time to parse this list, I think we would find that there aren’t a lot of 21-year-old rookies on it either.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/tht-live/just-how-rare-is-a-14-pitch-plate-appearance/

Originally published: May 16, 2014. Last Updated: May 16, 2014.