A few weeks ago, I took a look at Carlos Santana’s swing-take profile, one of the newest tools from Statcast/over at baseballsavant.com. We do not yet know how predictive the tool is, but there are certainly some trends present. These profiles also exist for pitchers, pulling from a much larger sample size than hitters, as they throw more tracked pitches than a hitter sees in a given season.
Pitching is a beautifully complex endeavor, but the broader goal is simple – do not get beat in the middle of the zone. Shane Bieber took it one step further in 2019, according to our new friend, swing-take.
He did not just avoid getting beat in the middle of the zone, he baffled hitters there. The righty was tied with Aaron Nola and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander for fifth in baseball this season with -16 take runs in the heart of the zone, trailing only Trevor Bauer (-20), Gerrit Cole (-19), Charlie Morton (-19) and Stephen Strasburg (-19).
(Again intuitively, pitchers look for negative runs in this tool, whereas hitters look for positive runs.)
To reiterate, we still do not know how predictable the swing-take tool is, but it is rather obvious who some of the best pitchers in…