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Do batters learn during the game?
2006-04-16 13:41
by Bob Timmermann

Alan Schwarz, with assistance from Dave Smith of Retrosheet writes in the New York Times about whether or not batters get better during a game if they face a pitcher multiple times.

Smith's study of batters from 1960 through 2005, showed that the first time a batter faced a pitcher, the average OPS was .721. The second plate appearance was .747. The third was .763. Plate appearance #4 was .753.

2006-04-16 14:39:35
I think if a batter sees enough of the SAME pitcher for sure he's gotta get better.
2006-04-16 15:18:55
2.   yankee23
It also depends greatly on the skill of the pitcher and his tactics. Sometimes Halladay doesn't throw a fastball until the late innings, once the batters have stopped looking for it. Maybe that's the 4th at-bat?
2006-04-16 15:37:27
3.   Bob Timmermann
The theory advanced in the story is that batters will only face a pitcher four times if the pitcher is throwing well to begin with.

The figures for Helton were pretty stunning. He started off with an OPS of .900 and I think he was up arond 1.200 by the third time around.

2006-04-16 15:43:15
4.   coachjpark
From my limited sample size experience as a college pitcher, batters tend to have an advantage the next time around.

One of the few times I started (CMS Stags), I went threw the order perfectly the first time. 9 up, 9 down. Apparently, the Whittier Poets figured me out after that, as I lasted only 4 1/3 innings that game, giving up 6 runs.

2006-04-16 15:48:29
5.   D4P
Does increasing OPS over multiple ABs vs. the same pitcher in the same game reflect "hitters learning" or "pitchers fatiguing" (or both?)
2006-04-16 19:30:42
6.   das411
5 - Sounds like a question for Al Leiter.

3 - Bob, do they have the same stats for Sir Barry? er, at least pre-2005 Barry?

2006-04-17 08:32:37
7.   Steve
Go Stags!
2006-04-17 08:44:58
8.   Bob Timmermann
I'm related to a Sagehen.

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