Sunday, February 15, 2015

Introducing: Scouting Reports

All baseball swings have holes. Even the great Mike Trout struggles on high fastballs. The key for teams, of course, is to find those holes and have the ability to take advantage of it. Now, it’s not like the Braves have come right and told me their scouting report on the Nationals’ hitters, but I have been binge watching a lot of Sherlock on Netfilx recently, so I’m putting my deduction skills to good use. Although I can’t read the Braves’ scouting report, I can look at how that scouting report gets put into action.

For this new series, I’m going to use a couple resources to investigate how the starting 8 position players for the Nationals have been pitched recently as a proxy for the league’s scouting report. my starting point for each player will be Baseball Savant and their PITCHf/x heatmaps for the second half of the 2014 season. Baseball Savant allows you to filter by pitch type, so we will look at fastballs, breaking balls, and changeups to see if we can spot any trends in pitch type or pitch location. For example, if we spotted a cluster of fastballs high and tight (like you would see for Mike Trout recently), I believe it is safe to assume that is a result of the scouting report on the hitter. We will also check out the pitch types each hitter sees from right handed pitchers and left handed pitchers to see if there is a pattern.

With real baseball just around the corner, these scouting reports will give you an idea of how Nationals’ players will get pitched to.

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