#Hot Corner

More baseball questions from my dad

Yesterday I answered some questions my dad asks me when we watch ballgames together. They're the kind of questions that ...

  • Seem simple at first
  • But often require lots of research
  • And most fans probably don't know the answers to...
  • ... but might be curious about.

Stuff like, How many players are left-handed? and What's the difference between a pitcher's ERA on four days rest vs. three?

Here's Part Two.

* * *

How many players are from the Dominican Republic?

About 100.

Are those regulars?

No. Of the 257 players in the majors who are qualified to win the batting or ERA title (3.1 plate appearance per game for hitters, one inning per game for pitchers), 28 were born in the Dominican Republic.

What about other countries?

183 Americans
28 Dominicans
17 Venezuelans
7 Cubans
5 Japanese
4 Canadians
3 Mexicans
2 Koreans
2 Puerto Ricans
2 Colombians
1 Nicaraguan
1 Curaçaoan
1 Jamaican

Edwin Jackson was born in West Germany (military brat) and Hunter Pence is from Omicron Persei 8.

Do right-handed pitchers throw harder than lefties?

Yes. A few years ago John Dewan found that 63 percent of right-handed pitchers, compared to 29 percent of lefties, have an average fastball velocity over 90mph.

Why is that?

Here's what Bill James had to say:

Right-handers do throw much harder than left-handers, as major league pitchers. The reason is that, in a counter-clockwise game, being left-handed is a significant advantage. As such, it acts as a selection mechanism in the long sorting-out process that major league baseball uses because we don't have a sorting hat like Hogwarts. A pitcher must have a certain number of "benefits" or "advantages" to make the majors -- a certain level of velocity, a certain level of command, an understanding of how to throw some different number of pitches. When a group of players has one advantage, they need fewer advantages in other areas in order to get past the sorting hat.

Do young pitchers throw harder than old pitchers?

I think so.

How much harder?

We need to get you a researcher.

This probably isn't the best way to do this, but I figured the median average fastball velocity of all qualified starting pitchers without regard to innings. I threw out relievers because they throw harder than starters, and aren't perfectly distributed among age groups.

Age     MPH
20-22 93.4
23-25 91.6
26-28 91.5
29-31 91.7
32-34 89.7
35-37 89.3
38-40 90.2

Why is Pie Traynor in the Hall of Fame but not Stan Hack?

Traynor had the better batting average (.320 to .301) and lots more RBI (1273 to 642). But Smilin' Stan was a leadoff hitter, and they're always underrated. Plus, nobody back then knew or cared about Hack's huge advantages in walks (1,092 to 472) and On-Base Percentage (.392 to .362).

* * *

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