Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated predicted the winner of the 2017 World Series three years before it happened, which is very impressive. However, the Effective Velocity Microscope, predicted virtually every hard hit ball of this year’s Postseason, nearly the exact percentages. Carlos Pena, on MLB Now presented a set of predictions before the Postseason with the categories of how the hard contact would happen and the percentages that would be in each type. The numbers were staggeringly close to exact. In other words, we predicted exactly how virtually all of the hard hit balls of the Postseason would happen in advance……………..and we were right.
The Carlos’ Tunnel Vision (looking at baseball through the Ev Microscope) essay that Carlos did on Effective Velocity laid out exactly the ways that hard hit balls are happening. In thousands of studies, the hard contact happens in only these ways because hard contact is all about ‘Timing’…….. Timing is enhanced when pitchers are predictable with low deception.
- Timing – pitchers are throwing pitches close in Ev speed, making it easier to time them – Pitches within 6 EvMPH of the previous pitch make timing easier
- Predictable – pitchers are throwing the most predictable pitch at the most predictable area and at the most predictable speed – Fastball down and/or away is the most common
- No Deception – focusing on down and away fastballs, pitchers can’t hide the identity of off speed pitches and so 20% of the hard contact happens with no Ev Tunnel
- Earned – when pitchers use Ev Tunnels and have at least 6 EvMPH between pitches, their pitches are harder to identify and time up – only 10% of hard contact happens in this way – 2017 Postseason HRs – 11% were in the ‘earned’ category
Let’s see how it turned out with all the Postseason HRs (Below):
Below is Home Runs & Hits from the 2017 World Series…………
Ev Metrics can predict hard contact because they focus on the causes not the results. Analytics is like a Polaroid of a period of time, after it happens. Statistics are factual but the interpretation of statistics is largely subjective. The Ev Microscope looks at the causes of hard contact and determines how the statistical picture will look based on timing. The scariest part for hitters is that it shows clearly that right now, hitting is very dependent on ‘Poor Pitching’. Hard hit balls happen when pitchers make these very basic Ev mistakes. Ev has a vast amount of layers, much like math. Simple math starts at addition but has countless layers beyond. The mistakes that pitchers are making now are at the 1st grade level of Ev, the adding and subtracting phase.
What this means is that when pitchers really address their sequencing mistakes, hitting will get much, much harder. The simple approach of ‘just swing hard and swing up’ will no longer work. Then what?
Effective Velocity was the single most important factor for teams going home or moving on in the Postseason. All 9 ‘Elimination’ games in this Postseason, ended in a game winner that was the result of an inefficient Ev Pitch Sequence. 33 of the 38 total Postseason games also featured a game winner on an Ev inefficient pitch.
What this means is that 88% of all hard contact this World Series could have been eliminated, or at least minimized dramatically by maximizing Ev efficiency. Of course, not all 88% of hard contact will be eliminated, but you can rest assured, when the timing gifts go away, so will a huge % of hard hit balls. The same exact pitcher/hitter confrontations resulting in devastating homeruns, also resulted in weak to no contact when the pitch sequencing was more Ev efficient.
George Springer, World Series MVP, went from struggling to awesome in one at bat. How is that possible? The HR that sparked his performance in Game 2 of the World Series was an ‘At Risk’ pitch, back to back 86 EvMPH pitches in the same location. He went off after that and all but 10% of his hard contact, happened on inefficient Ev Pitch Sequences. 50% of his hard contact was on pitches within 6 EvMPH of the previous pitch and 40% were either in the Hitter’s Attention (the most predictable Ev Speed) or easier to identify, due to no Ev Tunnel. This means only 1 in 10 of his hard hit balls were on pitch sequences that were ‘Ev Efficient’. This was almost exactly the same as all hitters in the postseason, with only 12% of hard contact that happened on the hardest to time sequences.
It is very safe to say that hard contact is all about timing. Hitting is all about timing and this postseason was all about pitchers bending over backwards to help that timing. The hitters still have to execute and they did that beautifully, however, what will happen when pitchers learn to maximize their pitch sequences?