Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Size and Shape of Strike Zone Dependant on Batter Handedness

A very interesting article from John Walsh at the Hardball Times:
"Are [umpires] now calling the strike zone according to the rulebook? We can try to answer this question by actually measuring the strike zone as called by major league umpires and compare that to the rulebook strike zone. This is of more than purely academic interest: one of the reasons given for the huge increase in offensive production in the 1990s is the ever-shrinking strike zone. We can't now go back and see if that claim is accurate or not, but we can measure the strike zone today and in the future and see how it changes and how it affects offense."

Hardball Times: Strike Zone: Fact vs. Fiction

A summary of his findings:

Strike Zone

The view is from behind the batter, so umpires appear to be calling the outside pitch against lefties as strikes, among other inconsistencies. The end result is that right handed hitters have a larger strike zone to defend than lefties.

As the author notes, there's still some problems with the data itself, so I consider this an interesting work in progress.

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