Given this site’s belief that pitches aren’t thrown in a vacuum, and the effectiveness of one pitch is affected by the pitches that preceded it; I wanted to identify the most- and least-potent 1-2 pitch combinations in the 2018 Major League Baseball season. To accomplish this, I built a Pitch Combo Effectiveness Tool based on all 2018 pitches thrown in Major League Baseball.
The approach I took was to evaluate every pitch as the second pitch in a 1-2 combo (forcing us to exclude at-bat first pitches). I defined these pitch combos using the pitcher, the pitch types of both the 1st and 2nd pitches (e.g. ‘Four-Seam Fastball followed by a Curveball’), and the pitch location change from the 1st to the 2nd pitch (e.g. ‘The 2nd pitch was further down and more inside than the first pitch’). I then gauged the effectiveness or value of these pitch combinations using the sum of the
The chart showing every pitch combo is below:
So how can we use this Pitch Combo Effectiveness Tool and what can we learn? The depth of detail is great and patterns are surprisingly strong and insightful. For each pitch combo, we also report
average pitch speed change and
difference in breaking action between the 1st and 2nd pitches. We also measure the
Usage Rateof that combo for the pitcher.
The results show clear patterns and trends in what is most and least effective for individual pitchers. As an example, we’ve captured
Four-Seam Fastball, Four-Seam Fastball
lower in the zone.
Visit the Pitch Combo Effectiveness Tool permanent page, or do your own investigation and exploration in the embedded version below.