Let’s discuss the THT Annual

This is the place to leave your questions, comments and complaints about the THT Annual. We’ll try to answer all questions as quickly as possible though we just might ignore your complaints. You can read about the Annual, including an abbreviated table of contents, in this post.

You can purchase the Annual at Amazon as well as the Kindle Store. There are plans to roll it out to Amazon Europe and Nook very soon. We get the most financial support if you purchase it for a dollar more at our own store, though you’ll have to pay for shipping fees when you do. Sorry about that.

Regardless of how you get it, ask your questions about the Annual here. And a favorable review at Amazon would be very helpful too. Just sayin’.

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  1. Shane Meredith said...

    Bought my hard copy yesterday. I have every year. I would like to have them on my Nook also but I can’t justify buying a book twice. I was just wondering, is there some kind of special discount ( like free grin )for people who purchase the hard copy?

  2. obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

    Amazon is starting to provide Kindle options on your future and past book purchases.  Some are free, like, for example, the new Beatles book, which I got on Kindle days before the book was delivered to me.  For other books I’ve bought, the cost of getting Kindle version ranged from 0.99 to 1.99 to 2.99, and I’m sure the gamut will be covered with time.

    I like having the paperback version but would be willing shell out a little extra to get the Kindle as well.

  3. Tom Jefferson said...

    Greetings.  I am still reading the excellent HT Annual, and have a question on the fascinating Jon Roegele pitch/fx analysis on the changing strike zone.  This, combined with defensive alignment changes analyzed by Zimmerman, and the fangraphs article on increasing % of pitchers hitting 95 mph, all provide evidence for the improving pitcher basic stats versus hitter stats over the last few years.

    Question:  What additional factors could be involved?  Is there any evidence that younger pitchers have the advantage over younger hitters (in the majors, since I believe it is true in the minors).  Is that extractable from the database as an additional factor, or is the younger player set too small to affect the entire aggregate of pitcher and batter statistics for a season?

    Thanks for your time and providing an excellent read!

  4. studes said...

    Great question, Mr. Jefferson. I like the Joe Maddon quote in that article, saying that data developments tend to help defense. One thing that would be very difficult to determine is pitch selection. Perhaps pitchers have become more savvy?

    Pitchf/x provides pitchers and their coaches with a ton of detail, and my guess is they are using it in ways we don’t know. Better identifying when pitchers are tired, or better information on batter/pitcher matchups.

    The younger pitcher vs. younger batter issue is an interesting one.  Pitchers do tend to peak earlier than hitters and, as Bill James pointed out in the Annual, they have more opportunity to adjust more quickly if something isn’t working.

    The assumption behind your question is that there are more young pitchers and hitters than there used to be, right?  That may well be true in this post-PEDS era.

  5. Tom Jefferson said...

    My hypothesis is that a good young pitcher (that has survived injury and ineffectiveness and made it to the big leagues, and as Bill James believes is more likely than a young hitter to get their chance at a younger age or experience level, on average), has more advantages than a young hitter, and in fact has advantage over more established hitters that dont yet have the book on them, and that then it becomes a battle of learning curves, but the young good pitcher will always be ahead of the hitters.  And that is because of all the reasons mentioned that are advantaging pitchers, without yet any similar innovations to help hitters other than video analysis and coaching.  And after all, in a pitcher versus hitter—the pitcher knows what he’s trying to do, its just a matter of execution; the batter is making educated guesses and adjustments. 

    And, in looking at the current trends in pitchers in aggregrate outperforming hitters in aggregrate, if pitchers peak earlier than hitters (is this true?), and there is a larger influx of young pitchers that are selected out as good enough to start in the bigs (and a greater percentage additionally hitting 95+ mph), wouldnt you expect an additional age factor?  Is that a provable (or disprovable)hypothesis?

    Thanks for indulging my questions, raised again by very interesting pieces in the Annual

  6. Jon Roegele said...

    Thanks for the feedback Tom. I’m glad that you found my article (and the book in general) interesting. I haven’t received my copy of the book yet, so don’t have the full context at this point that you’re thinking about here.

    In general though, I believe that advanced analytical data does best serve parts of the game that are more “proactive” so to speak. In other words, pitchers are in control of which type of pitch they throw and to which location (well, except the Marmols of the league). Likewise, defensive players have the luxury of positioning themselves between active parts of the game. So they are acting proactively and can thus decide on the best course of action based on all of the available data.

    Hitters are of course reactive. All they can do is swing at or take each pitch as it comes. I suppose if a hitter knows a type of pitch and/or a location, this makes a big difference. This would be why hitting ahead in the count is so desirable, as you can sit fastball over the plate. So this would be the biggest use of data that I could see to provide hitters with – something that is relayed to them in real time from the third base coach say that gives them the best idea of what pitch characteristics to expect next. This is likely tricky data to extract with a great deal of success. Would be fun to look into though….it falls under the large, still fairly understudied area (at least publicly) of pitch sequencing.

    I hope to continue studying pitch sequencing going forward.

  7. Brian Oakchunas said...

    Thanks for starting this thread. I love reading the annual, but we’ve all become so used to having an interactive experience with articles that it’s hard to finish one and not have a comments section.

    Not to argue with Bill James, but I’m going to. The reason pitching prospects fail is because THEY WEREN’T THAT GOOD IN THE FIRST PLACE. How many pitching “prospects” have BB/9 MLEs over four or K/9 equivalencies under five or, often, both? I understand they have talent but they are not yet realizing it, even in the minors. James talks about an inability to make adjustments, but that’s just it—they don’t need to adjust; they need to improve.

    I do projections (for my ow use) every year. After doing the top five SPs for every team, I go through the organization’s top ten prospects and consult Oliver as a quick reference to see if they are even worth projecting. More often than not there isn’t a single one that has a decent K/BB. Archie Bradley is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Oliver projects him to have a 5.21 BB/9. Nobody gets by on that. He will have to improve substantially to realize his potential. As Brad Pitt playing Billy Beane might say, “If he’s a good pitcher, why doesn’t he pitch good?”

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