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Fouling off pitches - why isn’t it a strategy?

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Rileydog, Dec 31, 2018.

  1. Rileydog

    Rileydog Contributing Member

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    So we hanve all seen ABs where a a pitcher needs 10-12 pitch to retire a batter. It is infuriating to the pitcher, and the batter is always lauded for a good AB. Last year, Brandon Belt ran up 20 or so pitches in an AB.

    So why not take this to the next level? My question is this - when a hitter is down two strikes in a count and facing a good SP or reliever that a team would rather remove from the game, why not go up there with the express purpose of letting the pitch get deep and fouling it off by swinging late, giving you the most timeto diagnose the pitch? I mean, don’t even try to drive the ball. We see plenty of instances of a batter “giving up” his AB for his team.

    And certainly this makes even more sense situationally. Maybe you don’t do that with Mike Trout up or a red hot Bregman. But how about when there are two outs and you have a Tony Kemp like hitter at the plate. Unlikely to homer, so why not go up and slap foul? You might end up w a walk anyway if on the 12th pitch, Kemp sees it’s clearly a ball out of the zone.
     
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  2. Buck Turgidson

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    Because it's really ****ing hard to do? Same with bunting. It's incredibly hard to hit one square as it is. It is absolutely a lost art in this day and age, where's Wade Boggs when you need him?

    Some guys just cannot do some things, but they're there because they can do the things that they can. You drive outside pitch to oppo, you lay off the upper pitches unless you jump on top of it, you keep your hands in and turn on anything inside, you drop the hammer on anything middle-in (like chopping wood with an axe); chase down a ball in the gap, stop one in the hole, dig out a throw, block spiked slider...whatever.

    And not all hitters/fielders/pitchers are created equal. Asking people to do things they cannot do or are not accustomed to is a recipe for a modicum of unhappiness.
     
  3. bobrek

    bobrek Proud A$$hat Mofo
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    What if it's a really good pitch to hit?
     
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  4. Buck Turgidson

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    If you're the 2018 Astros you watch it go right down the middle and hit the mitt.
     
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  5. moonsh0t

    moonsh0t Member

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  6. Buck Turgidson

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  7. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    It is a known strategy. If a hitter puts 10-15 high effort pitches on a pitcher and the pitcher isn’t removed, the pitcher is more liable to serve up a hittable pitch to the next batter.
     
  8. bobrek

    bobrek Proud A$$hat Mofo
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    I am fairly certain no batter in the history of baseball has ever gone up to the plate with the intended strategy to foul off multiple pitches in order to get the pitcher to a 10+ pitch count.
     
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  9. Redfish81

    Redfish81 Member

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    Go to a batting cage and get in the one throwing 90mph. Try and hit that. Then realize you know the fastball is coming and aren't dealing with the nastiest breaking pitches in the world as well.

    It takes ELITE hand-eye coordination to be a hitter that can spoil pitches until you get a good one. Especially when you consider it's not a strategy kids spend years learning. You are taught to square up the ball and not foul it off over and over.
     
  10. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    I flat out disagree. I’m not saying it’s a super common strategy, but it’s definitely a known thing to try to put extra pitches on a tiring pitcher.
     
  11. xcrunner51

    xcrunner51 Contributing Member

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    Double post
     
  12. bobrek

    bobrek Proud A$$hat Mofo
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    You truly think a hitter says to the manager - "I'm going to go up there and intentionally foul off 10+ pitches"?

    Granted, hitters will attempt to foul off a tough pitch to hit if they are at 2 strikes in the count, but none go up there with the intent to stretch the count by fouling off pitches. It's a dumb strategy because it is so hard to do and if you get that hanging breaking pitch, you're going to hit the crap out of it.
     
  13. Major

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    According to interesting-fact-#7 in that article above, MLB players don't even really show any ability to really intentionally foul pitches off.

    The stories say that Hall of Famer Luke Appling could foul off pitches for as long as he wanted to. Maybe he could, but we don’t have the data to prove it. What do we know is that modern major leaguers — even the few purported to possess the skill — show little inclination or ability to foul off pitches more successfully with two strikes. Here are the leaguewide rates from last season:

    0 Strikes: 37.6 percent Fouls/Swing
    1 Strike: 37.9 percent
    2 Strikes: 38.8 percent

    That difference between rates in two-strike and non-two-strike counts is negligible, about one extra foul for every 100 swings. Some said Ichiro was an exception who could bear down and spoil pitches with two strikes; if he was, it wasn’t by much. Jason Kendall said he was the same sort of exception; the stats said otherwise. Nakashima, sui generis in so many ways, is an actual exception here too.

    [​IMG]
    Many players say they can flick pitches away at will. Nakashima is the rare hitter whose stats support the claim.
     
  14. bobrek

    bobrek Proud A$$hat Mofo
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    Thus my qualifier....”will attempt”.....
     
  15. Rileydog

    Rileydog Contributing Member

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    That was a great article that answers my question. Thanks for posting. I thought that a Tony Kemp could stand up there and foul off pitches like the Japanese dude referenced in the article.
     
  16. Rileydog

    Rileydog Contributing Member

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    That was a great article that answers my question. Thanks for posting. I thought that a Tony Kemp could stand up there and foul off pitches like the Japanese dude referenced in the article.
     
  17. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    I agree with all that.

    But I think the implication here isnt asking why not everyone does it, but why no one does (consistently as a plate strategy). One answer might be is that it is hard to get on base if your goal is to hit the ball in foul territory. Eventually, you lose. But could a practiced player with the right skills make the opposing pitcher throw 14 or 18 pitches very time he comes to bat? Or perhaps in certain situations? Might there be times when this counts for something? After all, you always(usually) get to swing at one down the middle eventually given enough pitches.

    Taken to fantasy speculation, could one imagine a roster with 5-6 guys who made you throw 12+ pitches to get them out? Some starters wouldn't get out of the 3rd inning. A bizarre strategy that would probably fail. But wouldn't, couldn't, some club some time that had a nothing to lose kind of season happening try it anyway?
     
  18. bobrek

    bobrek Proud A$$hat Mofo
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    MLB had has thousands of games where teams had nothing to lose and yet not a single one has yet invoked this strategy. That says a lot.
     
  19. Rileydog

    Rileydog Contributing Member

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    Until last year, no team employed “openers” and defensive shifts are a development that came in the last few years despite decades of baseball and thousands of games played.

    Actually, I posed the question after reading another article about the Rays effective use of “openers”. I started wondering what other unconventional strategies have not been explored and this idea popped back up in my mind, as I’ve considered whether it’s viable in certain circumstances for a while now.
     
  20. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Obviously not for this reason or to this level

    But the recent KC teams that were good had plenty of at bats where they just fought off and fouled off good pitches until they either got the one they wanted, or they worked the hell out of the pitcher

    Again, they weren’t doing what the OP suggests, but it’s as close of an example as you can get

    Hated playing those guys
     
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