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A Pitch Graph to be Named Later (part II)
2007-02-09 02:13
by Ryan Armbrust

[click the image to enlarge it]

Thanks for the wonderful feedback on the original post. As requested, I've made some changes to the prototype.

I tried to make the innings more defined, I moved some of the data, and differentiated some colors. I added in the pitchers names, and made the code on the left hand side less mysterious. There's now a pitch count bar at the bottom. I also extended the plate appearance end-lines from the top to the bottom.

Anything else you'd like to see changed or added? Once I get everything smoothed out, I'm planning on posting charts like this for particularly intriguing games this season. There might be some interesting trends that jump out.

I'd write a fancy graphics script to parse the data from pitch-by-pitch sources for every game, and automatically generate a graphic... but that's beyond my technical capabilities. Unless someone out there can lend a hand, I'll just continue to put these together using retrosheet, MS paint, notepad, and my own misplaced sense of persistence.

One last item: any suggestions for a name for this thing? I've been calling it a pitch graph and a pitch chart, but those just don't have a nice ring to them...

2007-02-09 03:07:09
1.   Ken Arneson
The names, pitch counts, alternate colors for the innings are all excellent improvements. You can tell how much a pitcher worked just at a glance.

I'm wondering if Philip might have been right, though, that it might be better to create three groups instead of two: (1) out events, (2) reaching base events, and (3) balls/strikes.

The ball/strike events are less important than the out/reach base events, so maybe somehow they should not be given equal graphical weight. To me, the interesting thing is the length of the at-bat, not whether any particular pitch was a ball or a strike. So maybe the ball/strikes just get a little dot instead of a little line, so the data is still there, but it's more easy to ignore.

This is hard to explain without drawing it myself, but perhaps there's a way to put a box around each AB so you can tell at a glance the outcome of the PA. So the box would always contain the ball/strike sequence, plus would either extend up to contain the out, if it results in an out, or extend down to contain the hit/walk/error if the runner gets on base. (Let me know if that makes sense, otherwise, I can try to email you a drawing of what I mean.)

2007-02-09 03:43:56
2.   Ryan Armbrust
Ken, as much as I'd like to find a drawing in my email inbox from you, I think I know what you mean about a "plate appearance box". I'm still mulling over what Philip said, trying to figure out how to best reorganize to fit with his suggestion. I'll probably have another version or three in a day or two, and they should be more polished. I'd also like to find out whether some of the fine folks who gave their opinions on the first one like my changes.
2007-02-09 03:45:47
3.   Ryan Armbrust
Oh, I forgot... I like the dots for balls and strikes idea. I'll put that into the next version. I think with just a little more tweaking, we'll have something that's very close to what I'm shooting for.
2007-02-09 09:13:01
4.   Ali Nagib
I'm not sure I have a specific idea for what to call this new graph, but I highly recommend coming up with an excessively long and flowery string of words that can be distilled into an amusing acronym. Maybe that's a little too obvious of a suggestion, so I'll see if I can come up with anything more specific.
2007-02-09 09:50:03
5.   dianagramr

You mean like PECOTA?

"Pitcher's Enhanced Chart of Total Accountability"

2007-02-09 09:57:32
6.   For The Turnstiles
The Improved New Schematic That Allows Assessing Pitching Performance
2007-02-09 10:13:56
7.   John Seal
Well, the thing looks like one of those old IBM punch cards--so why not add a baseball reference and call it the Post Game Punch Out Card? (POGPOC).
2007-02-09 10:58:35
8.   dianagramr
When Rivera pitches, it could be a SizeMoUpGraph

(or not ...)

2007-02-09 11:28:41
9.   Philip Michaels
Armbrust's Revised Method of Assessing Slingers.

Also known as ARMAS.

2007-02-09 14:56:46
10.   joejoejoe
It does look like a punch card. I would just call it PUNCH and have it not be an acronym.
2007-02-09 16:06:09
11.   Ryan Armbrust
I like the idea of referring to a punch card. Something like a Punchout Card sounds nice.
2007-02-16 17:28:50
12.   obsessivegiantscompulsive
I just wanted to say how beautiful the chart is. Well done!

Looks like something that Ed Tufte might put together.

I also recall there being something similar (zip chart or something?) that I think I saw on Baseball Musing website, but much more simpler than your concept. But if you can find the programmer, he might be able to modify his prior work to fit your format.

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