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Pitcher's Report Card: Measuring Pitch Execution

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Greg Moore

We’re trying to create a “Report Card” for our pitchers. Do you measure or count things your pitchers do well or poorly in each AB?

We use one measure. It’s pitch execution. An executed pitch is within six inches of the intended target. Imagine a single point in the middle of the catcher’s glove. A study by Perry Husband looked at three seasons of pitches (all games). At that time Big Leaguers executed within six inches 67% of the time. This is our goal.
With the high velo pitchers now, pitch execution is down in the Big Leagues. Big League pitching from ten years ago is closer to college and high school baseball now. It’s an execution game.

67% is our goal against a single hitter, in innings and of course after the game. Rarely does a college starter achieve this in extended innings. A reliever may in short bursts.

When you use this measure there’s a predictable tempo (not a result) of the outing:

  • 40-44% Struggling
  • 45-49% Pressed
  • 50-54% Battling
  • 55-59% Control of game
  • 60-64% Command of game
  • 65-70+% Domination

Measuring pitch execution takes time for the chart guys. It’s easier to see from the dugout. When measured it allows pitchers to break their outing out by certain pitches, with runners on base and throughout flurries of pitches. For example, “From the 3rd inning to the 5th you executed 28 of 45 pitches (62%).” “Late in the game you were 5 for 15 (33%).”

This six-inch standard can be used in play catch too. A pitcher throws a ten-pitch block to finish. Their partner counts “booms!”, executed pitches. If the number is above 67%, he is a Big Leaguer for the block.

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