Tag Archives: hits

Playing Hit and Run With Line-Drive Rates

Balls in play can travel one of three ways: on the ground, on a line drive (minimal arc) or on a fly ball (deeper arc). In its description of batted balls, FanGraphs says: “Generally speaking, line drives go for hits most often, ground balls go for hits more often than fly balls, and fly balls are more productive than ground balls when they do go for hits (i.e. extra base hits).”

Do line drives really go for hits most often? For argument’s sake, let’s just say they do. That being the case, I proposed this thesis:

1. The team that hits the most line drives will also score the most runs in their respective league.

After some research, I found that only three times since 2012 has a league line-drive percentage leader also finished in the top five in runs scored (Detroit Tigers in 2013 and 2014, and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013).

So there went that theory. But I wanted to dig a little deeper (shocker, I know) and came up with a revised thesis:

1a. Line drives are directly responsible for more runs for a team than their fly ball or ground ball counterparts.

I tested this statement in the American and National Leagues, using a small, seven-day sample size. The Tigers and the San Francisco Giants were the teams I chose since they were leading their respective leagues in line-drive percentage at the time this data was compiled.

I also took some liberties when considering what batted balls to count. For example, I didn’t count pop ups or line drives to an infielder, since neither of those outcomes typically result in a run scored. Sacrifice flies were counted as fly balls, even if the ball’s arc was flat. As far as what constituted a line drive and what constituted a fly ball, I based it off MLB.com’s play-by-play application.

Here were my results, displayed in a chart:
Continue reading

Advertisements

Bring the Blitz Back to the Pro Bowl

NFL fans have been critical of the Pro Bowl in recent years and with good reason. After the game in 2012, Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about the need to improve the game or “consider eliminating” it. Four Pro Bowls later and I don’t know if enough improvements have been made.

If there was a single thing the NFL could do to improve the quality of the Pro Bowl, it would be to allow teams to blitz.
probowl
I understand the NFL’s attempt to keep injuries down in a meaningless game, but without blitzes, the game just isn’t the same. For example, in the last two Pro Bowls, the quarterback dropped back to pass 178 times and was sacked a mere three times. For comparison’s sake, I looked at two random regular season NFL games over the past two seasons, Week Six of the 2014 season and Week Eight of the 2015 season. The Vikings-Lions game in 2014 featured 70 dropbacks and 12 sacks while the Chargers-Ravens game in 2015 featured 74 dropbacks with four sacks.

Keep in mind, allowing teams to blitz doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily reach the quarterback. But putting that kind of pressure on the quarterback can lead to:

  • Negative yardage plays
  • Incompletions
  • Interceptions (or Pick Six)
  • Fumbles (or Sack-Fumble Six)
  • 50/50 balls

Pick Sixes, Sack-Fumble Sixes and 50/50 balls (‘jump ball’ between a wide receiver and a cornerback) are potential game-changing plays and all have the ability to invigorate an excitement-starved crowd.

What would the MLB All-Star Game look like if stolen bases weren’t allowed? What would the NHL All-Star Game look like if no odd-man rushes were allowed? In recent years, the NFL has made strides in protecting the quarterback. When the excitement of the game is compromised as a result, it’s time to re-examine the rules.

Aging Gracefully in Section 426

10271606_10203834544412103_2083958341796465289_nI’m proud to say that in 40 some odd posts in a little more than a year, I haven’t made myself a focal point.

Until now.

If you haven’t figured it out yet (and someone like Ruben Amaro probably hasn’t), my blog name is derived from my birthday 4/26.

Now that that’s cleared up, here’s a topical post to celebrate the day: Since 2000, which Phillie has the most hits on April 26? Here’s the top 20 (with a minimum of 2 hits).

Continue reading