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The Pitch-Mix is a Big Deal...

Posted: 2021-04-02 10:59:57 (ET)    [ 679 views ]

...and, the VMI is the only gauge.

Prior to opening day, I wrote that the opener was going to be historic.  It may have been, but it also may have gone mostly unnoticed, because baseball people look at the game results as a whole and do not dissect the pitch-mix.

With two games postponed, 22 of the teams played in heavier air than they were used to experiencing from spring training.  The pitches were diving and darting and lifting more than most of the league would have imagined.  

Since we gauge the teams' exposure using the VMI where a minus means the team is out of its element from playing in warmer air and/or higher altitudes where the pitch had lesser late movement than they will experience in their upcoming game.  In minus VMI conditions, we have noted that the Tight Pitchers use a better pitch-mix with the 4-seamer off-set with the slider and Reverse Pitchers use a more dangerous pitch-mix using the Sinker or Cutter and offsetting with slower pitches.

MLB opening games were historic in my opinion, and results were as follows:

Of the 22 teams sporting a minus VMI, 18 of those teams hit the 4-seamer well below the MLB average in hits/strike thrown. Most of those 18 teams hit less than half the normal production.

Versus the slider, 19 of those 22 teams hit far below the average in MLB.  Most were below half the normal production on that pitch, as well.  Of course, some of those sliders were used by Reverse pitchers and Loose pitchers, but the adjustment is still the issue.

Why am I making a big deal of this?  It is because in MLB only Coors Field generates these high minus VMI's and the Colorado Rockies are the primary focus on road woes and home field advantages, by observers and other baseball pundits.  Most would shake their heads at the Colorado Rockies and say, they are just not talented.   So, when 18 of the the 22 teams in the league experience the same thing Charlie Blackmon and the Colorado Rockies always experience when leaving Coors Field, it is a big deal. 

As for the Reverse pitches, 17 of the 22 teams sporting the negative VMI, hit well above the average per strike thrown against the Sinker.   The Cutter was hit above average, as well.

The Loose pitches, (which are always a concern for high percentage hits, because they are slower and a hitter can get his eye on the pitch better) were hit in a percentage that seems rather normal for MLB.  Many times, when a hitter is overpowered by the 4-seamer as was the case in most of the opening day games, the hitter is relieved to see an off-speed pitch.  I assume this was the case in many of those games.

How does this help you?  Well, it is seldom the case whereby so many teams are so far out of their element, as are those teams who leave Coors Field.  So, this is further indication that the Tight, Loose, Reverse pitcher report can be counted on to help you determine production increases and decreases against certain pitches vs the VMI rating.

Was it Historic?  I think it was, because almost all the teams were far out of their element.


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