THT: Ground balls!

I published two articles on ground balls last week at The Hardball Times. The first used boosted trees to assess the impact that pitch and contextual factors have on predicting whether grounders will be hit. The second took a closer look at how pitching inside hardly scares batters into hitting more grounders, even though the Pirates are strong believers and have been a great GB team in the past three full seasons.


2 thoughts on “THT: Ground balls!

  1. Hey, Mr. Schifman:
    Great effort put forth into this article. I do think an area that needs to be included is a mental aspect in the regard of how the batter perceives the previous pitch. That high FB that induce gbs and flatter delivery plane that deceives hitters is an extremely important component. The exit velocity of the gb can tell a lot about the hitter’s timing. Up and slighly late will produce a gb, no matter what the prevailing pitch theories are on being up in the strike zone.

    The individual who can really progress your study further is Perry Husband of Hitting Is a Guess. I’m aware that some of his research is closely guarded since his involvement with MLB organizations, but he’s always eager to discuss Effective Velocity which is stronger than certain sabremetric numbers.

    Keep up the outstanding work and many thanks for expanding the envelope!

    Bill Masullo
    Bellefonte, PA


    1. Appreciate it, Bill. You’re right that a previous high pitch does help to produce a grounder, but I found its benefit to be small (just ~2% of the GB recipe). Several other components–namely, how the current pitch behaves–hold much greater standing in a GB prediction.

      I agree that exit velocity is instructive of timing, and perhaps the “previous pitch” variables would prove more effective on that front than on batted ball type.

      I’ve read over the SB Nation feature about Perry and his effective velocity theories a couple of times–definitely interesting and intuitive. Could be a future piece!


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