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Change my pitch up...
2007-03-21 06:50
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Yo, did anyone see Mariano pitch against Ryan Howard last night? He threw the big guy two consecutive change-ups. The first, on an 0-2 count, was low for a ball. The next one was low too, but Howard lunged and struck out. If Rivera can throw a change up effectively this season, well, that just wouldn't be fair would it?

Oh, and speaking of our man Jorge, Joel Sherman has a column on Posada today in The Post:

The Yanks are making Posada, who is in his walk year, play for his next contract. But even more important is just how vital Posada is to the Yanks. He is their most irreplaceable player. Not the best player. But the one that would be most difficult to cover for should he suffer a long-term injury.

True, true, true dat.

Comments (64)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-03-21 07:04:12
1.   vockins
Colter Bean got the save last night, too. Notched two more strikeouts in the process.

So he's at:
ip6.2 h2 bb0 r0 er0 hr0 so8

2007-03-21 07:11:46
2.   tommyl
Sherman's blog has an interesting trade idea, namely the Yankees send a reliever to the Phillies for Ruiz. I'd love to see Myers go in that trade, frees up another BP spot, and we pick up a decent backup catcher. Probably won't happen, but I think its a good move without studying it too in depth. Anyone else want to weigh in?
2007-03-21 07:13:31
3.   tommyl
I just hope Mo's using the changeup doesn't mess up his cutter, they are difficult to throw at the same time because the wrist action is so different. That changeup was sick though (and used to be his best pitch back in the day when he was a mediocre starting prospect), if he really does incorporate it and stay healthy he could be completely unhittable.
2007-03-21 07:17:55
4.   hoppystone
2. Sounds good. Why wouldn't they (Phils) do it?

And how about the Mattingly-esque glove work at 1B by Giambi?! If only somebody could teach him how to throw, there wouldn't have to be 5 first basemen on the roster...

2007-03-21 07:18:07
5.   Shaun P
1 Hopefully Bean will get another chance in the bigs this year, but it is only 6.2 spring training innings.

Taking up the Posada vs Varitek thing from the last thread: could Varitek be a Hall of Famer? Almost no way, right? I can't think of anyone who's ever argued its possible. I don't see how you could argue its possible, unless Varitek goes Barry Bonds on the league for his age 35-40 seasons. But Posada could be a Hall of Famer without having to do that.

Off topic: Yankee Fan in Boston - sounds like someone is asking for a seat up front on the 'Comeback Carl' bandwagon (I think):

http://tinyurl.com/2bbhsv

2007-03-21 07:24:56
6.   jkay
Check out the trailer for the Bronx is Burning.

http://tinyurl.com/27rkeu

2007-03-21 07:38:01
7.   Jim Dean
Me, I can't believe Varitek is even mentioned in the same breath as Jorge. It's mostly Sox fans trying to feel good about their guy, but Varitek is worse at fielding (including throwing runners out) and worse at hitting.

Jorge's true contemporaries are I-Rod and Piazza. And Jorge is a much better hitter than I-Rod and a much better defender than Piazza. Granted, I agree that Jorge is way underrated. But three more years like last year (yup, I know that's asking for a lot) and he gets his ticket punched to the HOF.

Check it-
Career EQA adjusted for all-time):
MikeP: .315
Jorge: .298
I-Rod: .284
Fisk: .283

Career RATE:
I-Rod: 111
Jorge: 103
Fisk: 103
MikeP: 91

My head might explode if I get into Sherman's premise.

2007-03-21 07:39:27
8.   pistolpete
I think we're seeing the emergence of Mariano 3.0 - he's going to have to approach the game a little differently as he inches closer to 40 yrs. old...

6 Hmm, that doesn't look terrible.

Although I think they were showing the same clips of Reggie & Billy throwing things around the clubhouse over & over...

2007-03-21 07:39:51
9.   buffalocharlie
http://www.aarongleeman.com

Thought I would post this link. Aaron Gleeman made Phillip Hughes is #2 prospect behind Alex Gordon

2007-03-21 07:40:47
10.   vockins
5That's true, but he's had as much relief work as any other reliever in ST. I guess it's a good sign he hasn't gotten the boot already.
2007-03-21 07:41:56
11.   williamnyy23
2 Unless you could get him for next to nothing (i.e., not Karstens, Bean, etc.), I don't think Ruiz presents that much of an upgrade. After all, he is already 28-years old and has one season (OPS+ 88) under his belt.
2007-03-21 07:54:33
12.   tommyl
4 The primary reason I thought Giambi was moved to DH was his health, they don't think he can play full time there anymore and avoid injury. Also, he's always been good at scooping throws, its his throwing and his range that are awful. But these points do go to show that defense at first base is not the same thing as defense at shortstop or center field.
2007-03-21 08:04:57
13.   Shaun P
11 I agree on the 'buy low' idea. I would give up Bean for him in a second, though - or maybe even Britton or Bruney. The Phils are in need of bullpen help, after all. Ruiz has really good minor league numbers (http://tinyurl.com/2xam2w). He hits for some power and knows how to take a walk.

An 88 OPS+ is great for a backup catcher. If Nieves, Chavez, or Pratt put up an 88 OPS+ this year, I would be floored. The last Yanks BUC to do that was Flaherty (95 OPS+ in '04, due to his flukey .465 SLG; 97 OPS+ in '03, due to his flukey .457 SLG - he never slugged like that before or since). And in both seasons, Flaherty had very few ABs (105 in '03, 127 in '04 - I'd give you PAs but I can't find them online anywhere, not even b-r.com).

Finally, FWIW, here is Ruiz's 50% PECOTA projection:

.273/.331/.430

The average AL catcher in 2006 hit:

.271/.332/.417

So yeah, I'd be very happy with Ruiz.

2007-03-21 08:08:39
14.   wsporter
5 MFD, As a Yankees fan, if there is one sawx player I wish we could have it would be Veritek (the Yankees fan part automatically eliminates the rain man, fatso and bloody sock). I have always liked his take-no-prisoners attitude and the way he approaches the game. He reminds me of Munson in that way (without the physical talent).

I wish we had him ... we need a backup for Jorge.

2007-03-21 08:22:25
15.   sam2175
Phillies are more likely to offer Chris Coste than Ruiz, and that kills any potential for trade. Coste does not provide any potential upgrade over incumbents, his fluky 2006 notwithstanding.
2007-03-21 09:00:20
16.   JL25and3
14 Of the recent Sox players, I've always had the most respect for Wakefield and Nixon. Put aside Nixon's health - obviously, not his fault - and the fact that he's got an insufferably stupid first name. Otherwise, the two of them are pros who do their jobs, work hard and never make a problem. That's the kind of attitude that I like most - Matsui rather than Sheffield.
2007-03-21 09:03:24
17.   williamnyy23
13 I am not sure how much I can read into the recent minor league statistics of a hitter who has had an 8-year minor league career. If you look at his numbers, 2006 seems to be the outlier…and maybe that shouldn't come as surprise when you consider Ruiz' relative experience compared to the pitchers he was facing. Also of note, Ruiz career minor league OPS of .757 isn't that much higher than Nieves' OPS of .737.

While I guess you could argue that Ruiz is likely to outperform the dregs that the Yankees have in camp, I don't think his acquisition would present much in the way of a solution. Bean is an intriguing bullpen option and Karstens has way to much value right now. Trading either in a deal that amounts to pure speculation doesn't seem prudent.

As for the PECOTA projection, I would point out the following:

1) I would imagine any projection system would be less accurate for a player like Ruiz who has spent so much time in the minors and so little in the majors (these players are probably relatively rare).
2) I'd also imagine PECOTA takes into account league and park effects. Considering that Ruiz is currently scheduled to play in a very friendly hitter's park, I have a feeling his projection would be lower if it was rerun for Yankee Stadium.

2007-03-21 09:05:24
18.   Peter
Am I the only one here who really dislikes Varitek? His tough guy act with A-Rod, the big C on his chest, the way RSN fawns over him -- I just find him incredibly annoying.

Jorge, on the other hand, is my favorite Yankee so I tend to be very biased in any Posada vs Varitek debate.

2007-03-21 09:15:32
19.   JL25and3
I don't like Varitek at all, and the C on his chest deeply offends me.

On the other hand, I've been saying for a long time that Posada is the Yankee MVP almost every year. It's just as Sherman says - he's not necessarily the best player, but the dropoff from him to any replacement is the biggest.

2007-03-21 09:23:45
20.   Shaun P
18 No. I can't stand Varitek either. But he is a good player.

17 True, Ruiz's production goes down in a move from Citizens to the Stadium. I'd still prefer a 28-year-old who can hit and catch OK to the current crop of potential BUCs.

Studies show what's important for projecting hitters is the last 3 years. AA and AAA stats, where Ruiz has been the last 3 years, translate very nicely to the majors. The last 3 years are a lot more telling than overall mL career OPS.

As for Ruiz vs. Nieves: Nieves has spent more time in the minors than Ruiz. Despite playing over 1000 games in the hitters haven of the PCL, Nieves never slugged over .500 once. The only time he reached double digits in homers (with all of 10), he got the most ABs he ever got in the upper levels, in the second hitter-friendliest park in AAA, Salt Lake. His career high for walks in the upper levels is 25. Ruiz is clearly the better hitter.

Finally, I never said the Yanks should give up Karstens - why would the Phillies want another starter, they are already trying to deal one away (Lieber) - but Bean is completely expendable. The Yanks probably aren't going to give him a chance, and the Phils need bullpen help. A guy like Bean could succeed in the weak hitting NL. A RH-reliever - particularly one who is 29 and doesn't throw 90 MPH - is very much worth a decent BUC. (This is my set up for Jim Dean to chime in. =)

2007-03-21 09:43:39
21.   williamnyy23
20 For what it's worth, minorleaguesplits.com translates Ruiz 894 OPS to a minor league wide equivalent of 795.

I didn't mean to turn this into a Ruiz versus Nieves debate. I would agree with you that Ruiz should hit much better than Nieves. I do not agree, however, that Ruiz represents a real solution to the Yankees BUC problem. In other words, if the team is going to seek a trade, I would prefer that they aim higher than Ruiz.

If the Phillies wanted Jose Veras, I would make the trade, but I think Bean is intriguing enough (116K in 88ip in 2006 and 11.5Kd9 for his Ml career) that another team might be willing to give the Yankees something of greater value than Ruiz.

2007-03-21 09:55:13
22.   mehmattski
21 That sounds reasonable, the Yankees should be aiming high with a BUC/Catcher of The Future search. Ruiz, however, seems like a competent stopgap between Posada and any internally developed prospect. I don't know a whole lot about high-level minor league catching prospects, but if Ruiz can be had for one of the surplus bullpen arms, it paints a much rosier picture in the BUC arena. PECOTA also says that Ruiz could hold onto average level performance for a few years (EQA ~.260) while Nieves is expected to experience a drop off a cliff (EQA of ~.100 by 2008).

So, a chance to considerably improve a weakness at the expense of a surplus- it sounds like a thing that will make too much sense to actually happen.

2007-03-21 09:57:22
23.   wsporter
21 Salty?
2007-03-21 10:15:52
24.   yankz
There is no way in hell the Braves trade Salty for Bean.
2007-03-21 10:23:45
25.   wsporter
24 Obviously not for Bean alone! (we'd probably have to throw Ben Davis in too. :-))

But what package would make both sides think? Any ideas?

2007-03-21 10:27:00
26.   standuptriple
18 I dislike Varitke too. As a former backstop it offends me that he initiated a fight while wearing his mask. Nothing is more telling than that. And his "We don't throw at .240 hitters" comment was complete BS. I think he's overrated at "handling pitchers" as well. Basically he is to me what David Eckstein is to firejoemorgan.
2007-03-21 10:29:50
27.   rilkefan
3 Is there a reason to worry that Mariano's change will get picked up on occasion and hammered?
2007-03-21 10:33:38
28.   tommyl
27 I trust Mo to know when to throw it. The guy knows a lot more about pitching and picking spots than any of us do (unless Clemens is reading this blog, and well Schilling probably is but I trust Mo more).
2007-03-21 10:39:18
29.   Jim Rice
So, is everyone here offended by Jeter's captain status, too? At least Varitek is actually praised for being a leader by his teammates. (For the record, I think the whole idea of having a "captain" on a baseball team is pretty silly, whether it's Varitek, Jeter, or anybody else.)

That said, the whole Varitek/Posada debate really only seemed reasonable for a brief shining moment in 2004/2005. In 2004, Varitek came close to matching Posada's offense for the first time, and in 2005 he was (offensively) better. Posada had declined for three straight years, and it looked like maybe Varitek would be better going forward (depending on how you rate each player's defense). Sadly for Sox fans, Posada rebounded offensively last year and Varitek absolutely cratered. So that ends that debate.

Defensively, though, I think there's still room for disagreement. I agree Varitek's pitch-calling is over-rated, but no Sox pitcher has ever resisted having Varitek as his catcher; in addition to Randy Johnson, didn't Clemens have trouble working with Posada early on? Also, Varitek pretty clearly surpasses Posada at blocking the plate, from what I've seen (admittedly, a relatively minor skill).

2007-03-21 10:40:28
30.   rilkefan
28 I'm just thinking that the batter is faced with an unhittable pitch which when in fact hit is usually a crappy single - but if he's going to see x% pitches that can be hit far why not sit on them? Maybe x is a small number used to make the cutter more effective - it just seems hard to a priori calculate what it should be since no one knows what his OPS_against(change) is.
2007-03-21 10:47:39
31.   Knuckles
Finally settled on a name for my fantasy team. Whattaya think of: New York Wang-Kei's?

On another note, per the post on The Griddle, InDemand may be in the process of matching DirecTV and being able to carry the Extra Innings package. This is all getting very annoying. I was coming around to the idea of paying for the premium online package, month by month, since I may be moving back to the Yanks' broadcast region this spring/summer. Now, if I can get it on TV, albeit with a full-season cost, it's a whole new decision, but I may have to stick with the online bit due to the portability of it and ability to cancel whenever I want...

2007-03-21 10:55:50
32.   JL25and3
29 I'm not offended by the fact that Varitek is captain, just that he wears a C on his uniform to advertise it. It's just gauche. I don't care if it was the team's idea, I fault him for not refusing to wear it.

I've said repeatedly that last year Jeter did a great job as the shortstop and a lousy job as the captain.

2007-03-21 11:00:54
33.   Shaun P
21 I don't get why you don't see Ruiz as a fine BUC solution for 2007^. A .795 OPS out of a starting catcher is fantastic (average AL C had a .759 OPS in '06), and more so out of a BUC. Why hold out for something better (who?), especially if the cost is low?

^I don't see Ruiz as a long term gap between Posada and ? - but a great BUC for at least the next couple of years.

Imagine a lineup with Ruiz spelling Posada at C vs. a lineup with Nieves/Chavez/Pratt spelling Posada at C. I'm salivating, myself.

And . . . (real stretch here) with a BUC who can actually hit, Torre could pinch hit for Mientkiewicz late in a game, then shift Posada to 1B and put Ruiz behind the plate. (Caveat - Posada has played 1 game at 1B since 2001.)

2007-03-21 11:04:32
34.   wsporter
30 Don't you get a sense, after watching Mo all these years, that if he senses a team or hitter has strategized that it will sit on his change they are likely to see a lot of three pitch cutter at bats? I like the idea of his giving hitters something to wonder about, even if x% is very small, say once out of 30 pitches. I think we can rely on Mo to work it in effectively by feel rather than through a forced analysis based on some sort of inefficient model.
2007-03-21 11:15:20
35.   RIYank
There's no way anybody is going to sit on a Rivera change, no way. The K-rate for batters who try it will be around 70%. They'll watch strike after strike or flail helplessly at a cutter, hoping desperately to see the ball fade slowly... and when the change does arrive, they'll usually foul it off anyway.

I guess I'm just paraphrasing 34 wsporter.

2007-03-21 11:20:42
36.   williamnyy23
33 That 795 OPS figure was a minor league equivalent, not major league. In other words, when adjusting his .895 International League OPS across all minor leagues, the equivalent number was 795.

While PECOTA does project Ruiz at an OPS of 760, I (a) don't know how much trust I would put in any projection for a player like Ruiz and (b) suspect that projection would be much lower if Ruiz were to play half his games at Yankee Stadium.

In other words, I think it is pure speculation to suggest Ruiz will approach an OPS of 750. Having said that, he would be a better option than what the Yankees currently have. For that reason, I would trade a RP such as Veras for Ruiz. I would not, however, trade Bean.

2007-03-21 11:22:03
37.   RIYank
Hm, now you (wsporter) have me thinking. If I had the stats, it would be a pretty straightforward problem in game theory.
% of cutters thrown for strikes
% of changes thrown for strikes
% of expected cutters hit
% of expected changes hit
% of unexpected cutters hit
% of unexpected changes hit

(I'm guessing the last two are pretty nearly 0.)
Then there's an equilibrium you can calculate, where the pitcher has a ratio that he throws and the batter a ratio he expects, and neither side can improve expectations by changing his ratio given that the other doesn't change. It's a sure bet that mixing in some change-ups improves the odds for the pitcher.

2007-03-21 11:40:49
38.   wsporter
37 If I'm reading you correctly then you define a Pareto optimal solution (XY) at some point of exchange but I can't figure out where that would lie in a two pitch universe.

I think this is a prisoner's dilemma situation so I'm not sure it can be described as Pareto optimal? Thoughts?

2007-03-21 11:41:28
39.   rbj
I would love for hitters to sit on Mo's change up. Lots of nine pitch innings for him.

Oh, and good discussion below on Jorge for Hall -- I was off doing other things. Agree that he needs 3-4 more seasons and I think he'll get them. Maybe his last two years will be a 50-50 games played split with his young replacement.

2007-03-21 11:44:06
40.   rilkefan
37 You need the OPS on those hits. My question was whether some percentage of changes might get hit harder than Mariano's cutter or 4-seamer.

That is, there's been some reason he didn't throw it before - you can't be too effective.

2007-03-21 11:46:03
41.   wsporter
37 As I think about it, is it an equilibrium condition or the description of a zero sum game?
2007-03-21 11:48:01
42.   RIYank
38 No, a Nash Equilibrium.
Yes, it's zero-sum. Zero-sum two-player games always have Nash Equilibria.

Hm, I guess you'd have to allow that a strategy could be a function of the count, too. That makes it more complicated.

2007-03-21 11:52:05
43.   wsporter
40 "...you can't be too effective"

That raises the specter that Mo may be admitting that his cutter/fastball combination may be less effective now than it was previously. Historically it may well have been that the inclusion of a change would have detracted from the repertoire he imposed on the batter. At this point it may well be that he requires the change to remain at the level of effectiveness he has historically known.

2007-03-21 11:52:23
44.   rilkefan
42 Also the score, and the men on base...
2007-03-21 11:53:10
45.   wsporter
42 Do you see the conditions for a Nash? How do they exchange information?
2007-03-21 11:54:35
46.   RIYank
40 Good point. So replace "& hit" with "expected total bases", say. That number is bound to be higher for expected change-ups than for expected cutters, I agree.
Even so, it's a sure thing that the eq strategy will have some change-ups mixed in. So wsporter's 34 intuition that at least a few change-ups mixed in to 'keep em guessing' will have a positive effect, that's a sound intuition.
2007-03-21 11:57:30
47.   RIYank
46 Darn, I mean "% hit", not "& hit".

45 They don't have to exchange information. The only relevant info is public: the statistics, and the utilities, which I'm thinking of as (expected) total bases, but I suppose it could be Win Expectancy Added or something like that.

44 Yeah, true, in principle. I bet those don't make a big difference in practice.

2007-03-21 11:58:05
48.   wsporter
45 I don't mean that to read "you're nuts if you see a Nash" but rather "how do you see a Nash?" :-)
2007-03-21 12:00:43
49.   Rob Middletown CT
I saw the Howard AB last night. Neither changeup was thrown for a strike. They both started low and ended up in (or very close to) the dirt. Howard chased the second one for strike 3.

I don't think Mo would throw his change in the zone. If he throws it in the regular season at all, it'll be once in a while and it'll be like last night - either the batter is fooled and ks, or identifies it and doesn't swing 'cause it's a ball.

2007-03-21 12:06:36
50.   RIYank
Good point, Rob Mid. So the maximum damage is just a ball, not a hit.

48 Well, as I said, if it's two players and zero sum, then there must be a Nash eq.
The method for calculating what pair of strategies is in equilibrium, though, is complicated.
http://tinyurl.com/5c4sc

Here's an example. Suppose we play a game where we each pick either a deuce or an ace and put it face down on the table. Then you win a dollar if we both put down an ace and two dollars if we both put down a deuce. And then we'll play again, with you having to pay me if the two cards are the same. So, the 'defender' is trying to make the cards not match, and the 'attacker' is trying to make them match. What is the best strategy for each?

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-03-21 12:07:42
51.   Sliced Bread
43 I think the addition of the change up has more to do with mitigating further damage to Mo's elbow, which was barking late last season. The cutter, over time, is brutal on the elbow.

Plus, I imagine Guidry had a lot of influence here as he added the change up late in his career, about the same age as Mo is now.

I think it's going to be an effective pitch for Mo because his delivery is so smooth and consistent. Seeing it on TV last night, I found it impossible to detect coming out of his hand.

2007-03-21 12:11:05
52.   wsporter
47 Two pitches Fastball and Change. Two players Mo and batter. Mo can throw 2 pitches batter can guess 2 pitches. There are two conditions viewed as optimal to the batter and two viewed as optimal by Mo. What exchange of position will lead to an incremental improvement for both players?

This is how I saw it as Pareto.

I guess you're right though. I'm having a hard time seeing beyond those limiting conditions! But that's not unusual.

2007-03-21 12:15:51
53.   wsporter
51 Yeah, I see that. The only thing I would suggest is that 2 or more years ago we really didn't have the physical concerns that are brought on by age and therefore Mo can't be as effective with it because he can't physically take the strain of throwing it as consistently and can't and therefore won't be as effective as he was if he relies solely on the cutter.
2007-03-21 12:19:09
54.   wsporter
49 50 If anyone has personified the ability to get batters to swing and miss when they know what's coming it's Mo. There has to be more involved to modeling than guessing pitch. I guess that's location, location, location ...
2007-03-21 12:19:13
55.   RIYank
52 It's zero sum, so all outcomes are Pareto optimal. (Every gain for one side is at the expense of the other, which means there is no way to improve the position for one without making it worse for another, which is the definition of a Pareto optimal outcome.)
2007-03-21 12:27:41
56.   Knuckles
Dammit, of all the days to leave my statistical analysis cap in my other briefcase!
2007-03-21 12:30:19
57.   wsporter
55 Right, so I'm wondering what conditions can be imposed that will bring us to a Nash condition? (in an academic not a smart ass way)
2007-03-21 12:41:07
58.   RIYank
57 Sorry, not following you. (1) There has to be a Nash equilibrium, because it's zero sum (and finite). (2) We have no way of knowing exactly what strategies are, because we don't know the statistics (and indeed statistics for Mo's cutter do not exist!).

Anyway, we'll never know, really, because no Sabermatrician is going to have a way of telling whether the batter was guessing breaking ball or heat!

2007-03-21 13:38:52
59.   wsporter
58 Right, that's what I get for lawyering for a living, I forget the important stuff -Von Neumann/Morganstern. :-) Thank God for the net, I was not going to pull that box of books out of the attic.

I was locked into improving the Pareto Optimal outcome not recognizing that it formed the Nash Equilibrium. Oh well. Of course now I'll be thinking about this stuff instead of the Communication Skills class I'll be teaching tonight. Very bad.

2007-03-21 13:44:52
60.   tommyl
59 Well, just tell them that figuring out the equilibrium is an important communication skill. Then read a newspaper while they figure it out. See? Problem solved.
2007-03-21 13:59:05
61.   Shaun P
Only at Bronx Banter does the discussion go from Mo's changeup, to the merits of Carlos Ruiz as a major league hitter/BUC in the AL, and back to Mo's changeup, in the context of game theory.

The game theory stuff sounds like a fascinating discussion, but I guess the missing data RIYank points on in 58 ends it. Or could you just presume that, if the batter makes contact with the pitch, the batter guessed location and/or pitch type correctly? Would that allow an analysis to be done? The rest of the data (% of pitches thrown, OPS on such pitches, etc) is available.

I am way out of my league here, so please tell me if I'm completely off base in my suggestion.

2007-03-21 14:55:51
62.   bobtaco
If you are interested in game theory, I would recommend watching the new Adam Curtis documentary on BBC. You may know him for his previous excellent series, The Power of Nightmares.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trap_(television_documentary_series)

2007-03-21 18:26:24
63.   David
This game theory discussion takes me back a very long time, when I knew something about it. Could one of you wizards please clarify my understanding of the assumptions.

At one point it was suggested that batters sit on the changeup. But, it seemed that Mo would see what was going on and throw only fast pitches. That strategy wouldn't work.

The alternative assumption seems to be that the batter will sit on the changeup on randomly chosen pitches, with a certain probability. Meanwhile, Mo will throw the changeup on random pitches, some other percentage of the time.

In the real world, I imagine that the pitcher and the batter will both be trying to outguess each other. IMHO Mo will outguess the batter more often than the reverse. If so, the changeup will be more effective than the game theory assumptions would suggest.

2007-03-22 05:55:07
64.   RIYank
63 Exactly right.

And furthermore, I agree with you about how things change when you go from theory to practice. I'd add that anything that produces a situation that is ripe for guesswork is pretty much bound to improve Mo's odds. There's the batter doing his Wally Shawn (= Vizzini) imitation, "... so this time he'll throw the change... but that's what he wants me to think, so... but wait, he knows that I'm smart enough to..." And there's Mo, thinking: "Evil man, you would harm my brothers with your club; now let my cutter smite you!"

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