John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™

How Important is Hitting the Catcher’s Target?

At Baseball Info Solutions, our video scouts recently began charting the catcher’s target before each pitch. This opens up many new avenues for analysis, but first we should examine the difference between pitches that hit the target and those that don’t.

Considering all final pitches of each at bat from the 2010 season, we split the sample into two equal-sized groups based on the distance between the catcher’s target and the actual pitch location.

Pitcher Effectiveness by Distance from Catcher’s Target
  Walk % Strikeout % Batting Average On-base Percentage Slugging Percentage
Close to Target 5% 19% .258 .292 .388
Far from Target 11% 18% .256 .345 .419


When pitchers miss their targets, they do in fact allow a much higher walk rate and on-base percentage and a slightly higher slugging percentage. However, batting average allowed remains roughly the same, and the slugging percentage difference is surprisingly small. It’s important to note that we’re only considering the final pitch of each at bat. Missing the target earlier in the count can impact the rest of the at bat tremendously. As a result, we’re probably underestimating the total effect of missing the catcher’s target.

Used with permission from John Dewan’s Stat of the Week™,

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    February 20, 2011  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: John Dewan, Stat of the Week, stats

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