Tampa Bay Rays logoTampa Bay Rays

Two Strike Fouls—Not the Key for Kazmir

Harry PavlidisSenior Analyst IOctober 16, 2008

Listening to the fifth game of the ALCS, the Tampa broadcast, while Scott Kazmir enjoys the home run festival. One of the announcers said a key for Kazmir is reducing foul balls on strike two, since it can pile-up the pitch count.

Sure, a foul ball means another pitch when all the other outcomes don't. Which is a little misleading. If I get you to foul one off, then whiff, is that more or less pitches if I gave up a line drive single on that foul ball, instead? The real question is, why am I pitching?

Back to Kazmir. For strike two counts only, all PITCHf/x recorded games, for pitchers with at least 300 qualifying counts. Looking at swings, and hit batters, too.

Group Averages
In Play0.243
Foul0.242
Whiff0.118
Homer0.007
HBP0.002


So, there you have it. That's from a sample of 222,000 + pitches. How does Kazmir compare? His sample includes 1212 pitches.

ScottKazmir
In Play0.202
Foul0.278
Whiff0.144
Homer0.012
HBP0.003


Figuring about 20 strike-two counts per start, the 3.5 percent difference between Kazmir and the group means about 2-5 extra pitches per month. It could cost him an inning or two over the course of the season, so I'd only worry about it coming all at once.

Since Kazmir ranked 42 out of 330 pitchers, perhaps he isn't extreme enough.

Here are the top five in fouls on strike two.

DaveBorkowski0.331
ScottBaker0.326
RussSpringer0.319
RafaelBetancourt0.314
JonathanPapelbon0.310


And the bottom five

ShawnChacon0.182
KasonGabbard0.182
DanielCabrera0.181
AdamWainwright0.181
JohnGrabow0.169



So, for an extreme split, let's take .32 and .18. That's about three more pitches per start as a result of foul balls on strike two.

So, sure, there can be an effect, but pretty small in any case.

For a guy like Scott Kazmir, who is in the top 15 percent of this group, and presumably the league, it is probably a stretch to make it a key to his game.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices