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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 5/2/19

How hitters have responded to more strikeouts; changes in the ball, and hitters; an ode to the knuckle curve

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Craig Edwards: As pitchers throw faster and with a repertoire better suited for strikeouts, the effect has been fewer pitches in the zone, more fastballs in the zone but fewer fastballs overall, and thus more strikeouts. Hitters have responded by simply swinging at fewer pitches out of the zone, and taking pitches they do hit and pulling them in the air for more home runs.

The Athletic | Eno Sarris ($): When the Juiced Ball came about, it was just the ball. This time around with home runs skyrocketing, it’s also the hitters. A hitter like Justin Turner, provides the model for everyone: be incredibly selective, and when you see your pitch, do not hit it weakly. This has caused hitters to miss on two strikes but has also lead to a jump in exit velocity and barrels, which has played off the already existing changes in the ball.

Banished to the Pen | Jamieson Weiss: The knuckle curve is really a remarkable pitch, and it has really made some pitchers’ careers. Craig Kimbrel, like David Price once did, uses the spike grip, which is one finger spiked into the ball, and Drew Pomeranz, on the other hand, throws the tucked grip, where you tuck your finger into the ball. Either way, it has established a number of starting pitchers, and it has increasingly come into fashion.