Today's edition of sabermetric linkage includes an in-depth look into the strike zone, some new market inefficiencies, game theory/pitch selection and more..
Matthew Carruth of FanGraphs analyzes differences in strike zone by counts: The Size of the Strike Zone by Count | FanGraphs Baseball
There were two points I immediately took away from the list. First is that the right-handed strike zone is almost uniformly larger than the left-handed one. There were only two counts where left-handed hitters faced a larger 50% strike zone: 1-2 and 2-2. However, with 0-2 counts were nearly identical, an interesting but unexplained grouping emerged; counts with two strikes saw a much tighter zone called on right-handed hitters than to their lefty counterparts.
John Carter of Bill James Online discusses some possible new market inefficiencies: Pitch Framers and Readily Available Overachievers | Articles | Bill James Online
These teams best known for scouring for market inefficiencies have apparently found one in the over-value placed on young players with years of pre-free agency left. There are plenty of major league quality players looking for a regular job with a year or two of team control still left. A team can just keep filling in and re-filling in with these superior older vets instead of losing games, while their younger players learn at the major league level.
Matt Swartz continues his series at the Hardball Times, this time discussing dominant strategies in pitch selection: Game theory and baseball Part 3: More pitch selection--THT
Therefore, the only equilibrium is when the batter swings 44 percent of the time and the pitcher throws fastballs 56 percent of the time. In other words, the pitcher with the fantastic out-pitch should throw it less often than the pitcher with the average out-pitch in full counts!
Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated discusses Fred McGriff's Hall of Fame candidacy: JAWS and the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot: Fred McGriff | Hit and Run - SI.com
McGriff finished his career with the same home run total as Lou Gehrig, but times had certainly changed. Not only did he fall just a bit short of 500, he played during an era where that mark’s cachet as an automatic qualifier for the Hall of Fame was obliterated, due not only to the rise of performance-enhancing drugs but also expansion into high-altitude venues (Arizona as well as Colorado) and changes in the ball itself. Through 1997, 15 players reached 500 homers, with nearly all of those players gaining entry to the Hall of Fame in short order; since the BBWAA returned to annual voting in 1966, only Harmon Killebrew and Eddie Mathews needed more than one year to be elected.