Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ejections: Brian Knight (1)

HP Umpire Brian Knight ejected White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski for arguing a strike call in the top of the 6th inning of the White Sox-Rays game. With two outs and one on, Pierzynski hit a 0-1 fastball from Rays pitcher Wade Davis for a groundout. Replays indicate one callable pitch during the at bat, a borderline fastball ruled a strike, which was outside the bounds of the strike zone. Because this one call did not have a realistic effect on the outcome of this at bat, this call is correct under Rule 6.e.iii. At the time of the ejection, the Rays were leading, 4-1. The Rays ultimately won the contest, 4-1.

This is Brian Knight (91)'s first ejection of 2011.
Brian Knight now has 4 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (0 Previous + 2 MLB + 2 Correct Call = 4).

This the 11th ejection of 2011.
This is the 4th player ejection of 2011.

Pitch f/x courtesy Brooks Baseball


tmac said...

I don't have a horse in this race.. but a missed first pitch CAN and WILL "have a realistic effect on the outcome of this at bat". That is very short sighted... Hitters hit a much lower number when behind in the count. While there is no predetermined outcome... Calling the first pitch a strike (when it should be a ball) does lead to a batter swinging at a pitch he could normally let go to make the count 1-1.

Gil "CASD" said...

This is one of the most common "pitch count fallacies." A 2002 University of Texas paper on the subject found that the overall average for batters (in their data set of over 20,000 plate appearances) was .273. Batters had an average of .356 on a 0-0 count, .374 on a 1-0 count, and about .350 on a 0-1 count. .024 is not significant enough to merit the "realistic effect on the outcome" argument, given that the batter only experienced a 0-1 count (versus 0-2). Had the batter experienced a 0-2 count, his expected average would be around .187. That is more significant. Still, however, in the world of sabermetrics, perhaps no statistic is more overrated and overused than the Batting Average.

A better measure of realistic effect on outcome, therefore, is hits per strike (HPS [trademark to UT]) or In Play AVG (IPA [also trademark to UT]). It is the 0-2 and 1-2 counts which dominate - by far - the low HPS and IPA figures for "behind in the count." In regards to HPS, we see that batter's actually fare better at getting a hit with a 0-1 count (HPS ~ 0.110) than they do with a 0-0 count (HPS ~ 0.080). Furthermore, HPS for a 1-0 count is approximately 0.109, basically the same as it is for 0-1. In regards to IPA, batters with a 0-1 count do far slightly worse than they do with a 0-0 count (.350 versus .357), further compared to a 1-0 count (.375), but again, this is not too significant, especially compared with the 0-2 IPA of about .331.

In conclusion, great care went into constructing the UEFL Rulebook. The wording of "realistic effect on the outcome of this at bat" was carefully crafted to reflect the statistics and data analysis of baseball trends. A realistic effect is not the same as a statistically significant effect (though they are very similar); rather, the realistic effect cited in Rule 6.e.iii refers to the plausible if not anticipated or expected chance, backed up by sabermetrics or other objective data, of a different outcome of the at bat, as it relates to the team benefitted by this outcome.

In other words, we're looking at an out versus a base hit. We are not looking at a single versus a double, for instance. Realistic effect refers to advantage swaying from offense to defense (or vice versa) on the actual outcome of the at bat. This at bat ended in a third out. There was no sacrifice possibility. Objective analysis of baseball data, statistics, and facts demonstrate that the batter's hit in this situation with a count of 0-1, versus a potential count of 0-0 or 1-0, is insignificant. Because the 0-1 pitch was thrown for a strike, we consider HPS, and note that the 0-1 HPS and 1-0 HPS are within 0.001 hits of each other. The game in question didn't exactly have 1,000 at bats, so the realistic chance of this at bat ending differently (in the batting team's favor) is very low, factoring in the 3 pitch potential of a walk. The probability of a taken 1-0 pitch being a ball is lower than for a 0-1 pitch (1-0 pitches yield less ball calls than 0-1 -- ratios of 1.8 and 5.5, respectively).

Source: Bickel, J. Eric and Dean A. Stotz. 2002. "Batting Average by Count and Pitch Type: Fact and Fallacy," The Baseball Research Journal 31, 29-34. PDF

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