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  #1  
Old 05-29-2014, 08:18 AM
Moses_Scurry Moses_Scurry is offline
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Default Swinging on 3-0 count. Smart move, dumb move, or inconclusive?

Disclaimer: Any evidence in this post is purely anecdotal. I don't have numbers in front of me.

It appears to me, and has been mentioned in game threads when it happens that the Sox are getting green lights on 3-0 count at a very noticeable rate compared to the teams they are playing and previous Sox seasons. Having Marcus Semian do it is a pretty clear sign to me that Robin is saying "you had better not serve up a meatball, because we are going for it!" to the opposing teams. Where do you stand on this?

To me it is a smart move that is long overdue. Ever since I started following baseball 30 years ago, I've always hated the fact that a good hitter is taking an automatic strike on a fastball down the middle just because it is 3-0. By taking away that freebie, the Sox are putting in the back of that pitcher's mind that he is not getting a break and is still going to have to make a good pitch. By doing this, it should lead to more walks. And when they do get the meatball that they can drive, good things will happen. Even if the result is a foul ball, it still sends the message. Not saying they should be swinging away every 3-0 count, but I think that any reasonably competent hitter should be given the OK to swing if they get something they think they can hit. Obviously I want the Leury Garcia's of the world to be taking all the way.

Of course, I am only remembering the times it worked. Alexei's HR, Semians sac fly last night, etc. Plus even though the Sox appear to be doing it, I have no idea how they compare to other teams in the league. So this could all be moot.

So what say you? Are the Sox forward thinkers who are currently exploiting a minor inefficiency? Or are they just being stupid overaggressive?
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2014, 08:39 AM
Madvora Madvora is offline
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I like the idea, but some hitters are just too dumb to get the green light and will take that as a sign to swing no matter what. If you have a smart, well coached team, who understands the situation, then hell yes, swing away.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:24 AM
SBSoxFan SBSoxFan is offline
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I like it. Any major league batter should be able to handle a fastball "down the middle." In fact, this September 2013 article shows the average on 3-0 pitches from 2007 - 2013 was 0.377. About 94% of the time, the 3-0 pitch is a fastball. However, there's about a 30% chance the pitcher will throw ball 4. So, you have to balance the additional benefit of putting the ball in play versus the safe bet of a walk and what your chances are of getting a good batting result after a 3-0 count. I didn't calculate OPS from the chart, but it looks like you get much more benefit from being allowed to swing 3-0 than taking a 3-0 pitch. There's a good comment about the article that only the best hitters are allowed to swing 3-0 so the numbers are skewed.

I don't know if Moises Sierra qualifies as a reasonably competent hitter, but it was clear he had the green light on the 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the ninth. He took what appeared to be a slider (but the game log has it listed as a cutter) for a strike. The fact the pitcher did not throw a fastball might suggest the scouting report on the Sox is that they will swing on 3-0.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:46 AM
kufram kufram is offline
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I think little Leaguers should always take a 3-0 pitch.

A good major league hitter, obviously depending on the situation, should be looking for his pitch on 3-0 and if he gets it he should destroy it.... otherwise, take it.
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  #5  
Old 05-29-2014, 09:58 AM
Irishsox1 Irishsox1 is offline
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It depends on the hitter, the pitcher, the situation and the inning.

It's similar to the mind set of swinging at the first pitch. Paul Konerko generally takes the first pitch but in Game 2 of the '05 WS with the bases loaded Paul swung at the first pitch, if he makes an out, he's over aggressive, if he hits a homerun, he's a world series hero.
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  #6  
Old 05-29-2014, 10:01 AM
Moses_Scurry Moses_Scurry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBSoxFan View Post
I like it. Any major league batter should be able to handle a fastball "down the middle." In fact, this September 2013 article shows the average on 3-0 pitches from 2007 - 2013 was 0.377. About 94% of the time, the 3-0 pitch is a fastball. However, there's about a 30% chance the pitcher will throw ball 4. So, you have to balance the additional benefit of putting the ball in play versus the safe bet of a walk and what your chances are of getting a good batting result after a 3-0 count. I didn't calculate OPS from the chart, but it looks like you get much more benefit from being allowed to swing 3-0 than taking a 3-0 pitch. There's a good comment about the article that only the best hitters are allowed to swing 3-0 so the numbers are skewed.

I don't know if Moises Sierra qualifies as a reasonably competent hitter, but it was clear he had the green light on the 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the ninth. He took what appeared to be a slider (but the game log has it listed as a cutter) for a strike. The fact the pitcher did not throw a fastball might suggest the scouting report on the Sox is that they will swing on 3-0.
See, I LOVE hearing this, and didn't catch it while following gamecast last night (damn blackout rules ). If outs are the most precious commodities and shouldn't be given away via the bunt, then it only makes sense that pitches are also valuable commodities and shouldn't just be given away by auto-taking the 3-0 count. If you end up taking because the pitcher is throwing a curveball, you are still making him work just a little harder, and you are increasing your chance at the 4 pitch walk.
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  #7  
Old 05-29-2014, 10:31 AM
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voodoochile voodoochile is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishsox1 View Post
It depends on the hitter, the pitcher, the situation and the inning.

It's similar to the mind set of swinging at the first pitch. Paul Konerko generally takes the first pitch but in Game 2 of the '05 WS with the bases loaded Paul swung at the first pitch, if he makes an out, he's over aggressive, if he hits a homerun, he's a world series hero.
Yep. As an example, anyone swinging on a 3-0 pitch with the bases empty and down by more than a single run should be made to run laps.

However, with runners on and one of your best/most disciplined hitters at the plate, I see no problem with them being given the green light. anytime the tying/go ahead run is at the plate or on base in late inning play, any middle of the order hitter should be allowed to try and make an impact with a big hit.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:41 AM
Tragg Tragg is offline
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It depends on the situation and who is doing the swinging. Yes, I want our best hitters greenlighted at 3-0 with runners on base.
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  #9  
Old 05-29-2014, 10:48 AM
Moses_Scurry Moses_Scurry is offline
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It depends on the situation and who is doing the swinging. Yes, I want our best hitters greenlighted at 3-0 with runners on base.
But do you want Marcus Semian and Oises Sierra greenlighted?
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  #10  
Old 05-29-2014, 10:56 AM
Tragg Tragg is offline
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Originally Posted by Moses_Scurry View Post
But do you want Marcus Semian and Oises Sierra greenlighted?
Depends on the situation. 3-0 is such a favorable count that my default answer is yes. I think it's most risky with players who swing at bad pitches like Alexei and Viciedo.
I definitely want Gillaspie, Eaton, Abreu and Dunn green-lit.
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Old 05-29-2014, 10:58 AM
34 Inch Stick 34 Inch Stick is offline
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always taking 3-0 seems like a theory developed to work in little league that becomes some kind of shared consciousness
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:06 AM
Moses_Scurry Moses_Scurry is offline
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Originally Posted by 34 Inch Stick View Post
always taking 3-0 seems like a theory developed to work in little league that becomes some kind of shared consciousness
Pretty much. Ever since Buttermaker went off on Ahmad Abdul Rahim for swinging at 3-0, it's always been established dogma for me. I just never agreed with it. If Ahmad had put that out of the park, Buttermaker would have happily given him a cold one to celebrate!
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:20 PM
DrCrawdad DrCrawdad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tragg View Post
Depends on the situation. 3-0 is such a favorable count that my default answer is yes. I think it's most risky with players who swing at bad pitches like Alexei and Viciedo.
I definitely want Gillaspie, Eaton, Abreu and Dunn green-lit.
I agree.

May 9th vs Arizona I was sitting in the section by homeplate (my first game of the season.). The Sox loaded the bases. Alexei had a a 3-0 count. I videoed the pitch because I figured that if Alexei got a green light in that situation he was going to screw himself into the ground swinging for the fence. Alexei connected with a Grand Slam and I had a great video.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:50 PM
TDog TDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moses_Scurry View Post
Disclaimer: Any evidence in this post is purely anecdotal. I don't have numbers in front of me.

It appears to me, and has been mentioned in game threads when it happens that the Sox are getting green lights on 3-0 count at a very noticeable rate compared to the teams they are playing and previous Sox seasons. Having Marcus Semian do it is a pretty clear sign to me that Robin is saying "you had better not serve up a meatball, because we are going for it!" to the opposing teams. Where do you stand on this?

To me it is a smart move that is long overdue. Ever since I started following baseball 30 years ago, I've always hated the fact that a good hitter is taking an automatic strike on a fastball down the middle just because it is 3-0. By taking away that freebie, the Sox are putting in the back of that pitcher's mind that he is not getting a break and is still going to have to make a good pitch. By doing this, it should lead to more walks. And when they do get the meatball that they can drive, good things will happen. Even if the result is a foul ball, it still sends the message. Not saying they should be swinging away every 3-0 count, but I think that any reasonably competent hitter should be given the OK to swing if they get something they think they can hit. Obviously I want the Leury Garcia's of the world to be taking all the way.

Of course, I am only remembering the times it worked. Alexei's HR, Semians sac fly last night, etc. Plus even though the Sox appear to be doing it, I have no idea how they compare to other teams in the league. So this could all be moot.

So what say you? Are the Sox forward thinkers who are currently exploiting a minor inefficiency? Or are they just being stupid overaggressive?
Semien didn't hit a sacrifice fly Wednesday night. He did his job, certainly by moving the runner to third by making a productive first out of the inning. His job was to get the runner over to third. If he had bunted, it would have been a sacrifice.

Strategically, the Sox might be better off with Semien moving the runner over to third than walking. The Sox need one run to win. A walk sets up a situation where Sierra has to move the runner over to third, probably with a bunt. But the walk creates a force at third. In the bottom of the ninth with the score tied, I would rather have Sierra hitting with a man on third and one out with a drawn-in infield than having Sierra hitting with runners on first and second and nobody out.

Swinging at the 3-0 pitch depends on the situation and it depends on the hitter. Statistically, I've always read that hitters are well over .300 when swinging at 3-0 ends the at bat, but that makes the rate of outs over .600 (although Semien's "failure" on 3-0 Wednesday night was key to winning the game). Obviously, there are many more walks on 3-0 than there are hits, so your OBP and OPS in that situation would be deceptively unreal for this conversation.

It could hitters aren't getting more green 3-0 green lights this year as they are feeling more comfortable swinging 3-0. It is entirely possible that hitters who walk on four pitches have the green light on 3-0. It's possible that hitters with the green light will take the first strike on 3-0. If the strike isn't what they were looking for to drive, you would hope they would take that pitch. There are some hitters who will swing at bad pitches on 3-0, and those are ones you don't want to have the green light. Over the years, I've seen Konerko take a lot of 3-0 pitches when it appeared he was ready to swing. There are players, Konerko not being among them, who it would appear don't like to swing at 3-0 because walking seems to be a statistical priority with them. Even if you take a strike 3-0, the pitcher can still walk you on 3-1.

It depends on the hitter and the situation. Even after Semien swung on 3-0 to get Garcia to third, I didn't expect Sierra to swing on 3-0. For one thing, I thought the pitcher was working out of the strike zone to get Sierra to chase to get the strike out. For another, a walk there would bring up Eaton. Sierra would have a good chance to steal and there would be all kinds of pressure on the defense with the infield in.

There was the Sox win over the Diamondbacks this year were there were two 3-0 home runs, of course, Ramirez hitting a 3-0 grand slam and Abreu later leading off an inning with a 3-0 home run. There was an A's game this year Derek Norris hit two two-out three-runs home runs off Gio Gonzalez, each time on a 3-0 pitch. The second gave the A's a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the second. I don't watch every A's game, but the last I heard he was 2-for-2 on 3-0 swings, but had taken ball four about eight times.

I suppose it doesn't hurt in the scouting report that this guy will do bad things to your pitches if you try to sneak in a 3-0 strike. But it comes down to execution.
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  #15  
Old 05-29-2014, 01:17 PM
russ99 russ99 is offline
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I'm a big fan of working the count.

3-0 should be a take unless the hitter sees a pitch they can hammer, and even that should be tempered based on game situation.

Like if there's no outs in the bottom of the ninth and we're down a run.
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