Thursday, August 07, 2008

Visualizing the Platoon

There's a lot to digest, but this Dan Brooks article about the platoon split was really interesting. I've often heard the theory that it's easier to hit a ball moving towards you than one moving away from you, but I've never completely understood why it would make such a huge difference.

Instead, you sometimes hear players say that they see the ball much better when the pitcher throws with the opposite hand, but this is the first time I've seen someone actually show how pitches look different depending on which batters' box you're standing in.

These two graphs show Justin Masterson's fastball and slider from both batters' boxes (the first one is the view for righty batters, the second for lefties). You can see how a lefty could distinguish the slider from the fastball much more easily than the righty. Shifting a few feet to the side (even from 60 feet away) gives you a much different view, especially when the pitcher has a low arm angle like Masterson.

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