Baseball Magazine

Three Pitching Stats You Need to Be Keeping

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Traditional pitching statistics (hits, runs, earned runs, strikeouts, etc.) can be very misleading and

Be sure your pitchers know what stats are really important

Be sure your pitchers know what stats are really important

often do not get to the bottom of why a pitcher succeeds or struggles during an outing.  Take earned runs for instance.  If a player gives up 10 runs and only 3 earned runs, does that mean the pitcher’s defense was really bad that day or did the pitcher have a meltdown after the first error and never recovered?  You don’t know unless you were there and knowing what to look for.

Three pitching stats that I always felt were worth keeping are below.  An explanation follows.

  1. Percent strikes.  Nothing good happens until a pitcher throws a strike. The goal for just about every pitcher should be 6 strikes out of every 10 pitches (60%).  If a player has good control then push the target goal to 70%.
  2. First pitch strikes.  Often called “the best pitch in baseball,” a first pitch strike immediately steers the at-bat in the pitcher’s favor.  The goal is 70% of batters see a first pitch over the plate.
  3. Two out of three.  This stat calculates how often a pitcher threw two out of the first three pitches for strikes.  It’s an off-shoot of “first pitch strikes” to make sure pitchers are not throwing strike one and then giving the count back to the batter with several balls after that.  The stat could be the total number of times or a percentage.  If it is a percentage, the target goal should be 70%.

Bonus:  Another stat I like to keep which goes along with #3 is how often a pitcher finishes at-bats within three pitches.  It could be a strikeout or any other outcome where the ball is put into play.  This stat is a secondary one because the hitters have a lot of control on this one.  Some batters like to swing early in the count and some do not.  However, I want my pitchers to have a soft goal of three pitches per batter to get the batters used to swinging early.  It also helps keep their defense awake and ready as well.  

To calculate these stats you will need a scorebook, game chart, or pitching chart that records each pitch a pitcher throws.  A copy of a Game Chart can be found on the Resource page.

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