Zimmerman: All fly balls are created equal

From Jeff Zimmerman at The Hardball Times on February 6, 2014:

The longer a ball is in the air, the more time a fielder has to catch it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Sometimes, in this world of advanced fielding stats, we forget the simple things. While we’re busy measuring things like pitch velocity and deflection, or angle of the ball off the bat, or the exact zone a ball lands in, why not also talk about hang time?

The first research on this subject was published in the 2004 Hardball Times Annual when Robert Dudek manually tracked the fly ball hang times of eight pitchers and tabulated the results. Nowadays, thanks to Inside Edge, the data are available on every batted ball that is in the air for at least 1.5 seconds. (This includes line drives, flies and pop-ups—but we’re going to use the generic term “fly ball.”) There is a lot we can do with this data.

First, here is a comparison of Dudek’s original data with the Inside Edge 2013 data. The next table shows the percentage of the time a fly ball was caught for an out, broken out by how many seconds it was in the air. The data include all fair (not foul) fly balls (balls in the air at least 1.5 seconds) except for home runs.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/all-fly-balls-are-not-created-equal/

Originally published: February 7, 2014. Last Updated: February 7, 2014.