There was a seminar held at Harvard University recently that included an in-depth discussion on sabermetrics, scouting and the science of baseball. Michael Richmond, from the Physics Department at Rochester Institute of Technology, was one of the speakers and something he said has changed my mind forever about that super hero of a man (or not) standing alone on a regular basis in the batter’s box. Here’s what he said:
“The average fastball travels at 2,200 rpm, as opposed to 1,300 for a curve-ball or change-up. And the only way the player can tell which pitch it is and how much it will move is an immediate judgment call.
The batter has to see the difference and say, ‘Oh, that’s a change-up’. I find it amazing the batters can pick up the difference in spin when they only have five or six revolutions before they have to make that decision.”
Whoa! I promise to never criticize another batter’s wild and crazy swing at a pitch unless, of course, he chooses not to swing. And not even then, because based on what Richmond says, you almost have to make up your mind during the wind-up whether you’re going to swing or not. Who knew? I’m still having trouble wrapping my little mind around sabermetrics and now I find the ABC’s of baseball, you know, the “see ball, hit ball, run theory” is a bunch of hooey folks. Probably most of you already know this stuff, but I’m just saying there’s a reason baseball fans are the most knowledgeable and opinionated of all sports fans. They have to be. Who can possibly know all this stuff? Who even wants to know it all?
The batter and the hitter. Not necessarily the same and there’s a reason for that! Baseball ~ don’t you just love it?
Here’s a link to the article written by Spencer Fordin. It’s worth the time. “Harvard Hosts in-depth Baseball Seminar.”