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Washington Nationals: Pitching with an 0-2 Count

May 2, 2010

One of the keys to successful pitching is getting ahead of the batter early in the count. The next key is what you do with the favorable count. MLB pitchers get batters into an 0-2 count about 18% of the time. Given this count, the defense records an out approximately 79% of the time. What are the Nat’s pitchers’ success rates with an 0-2 count? Let’s look at the data to find out.

2009 Full Season

First, here’s the 2009 season results on batters in an 0-2 situation:

As you can see, the batters struck out over 41% of the time, and grounded out another 20% of the time. Burdened with an 0-2 count, batters only walked 3% of the time.

April 2010

The 2010 season is shaping up in a similar fashion. One word of caution – the season has just begun, and the sample size for individual pitchers is still small.

After 1 month of baseball, the overall 2010 percentages are already starting to work their way towards the 2009 season.

So, how are the Nats pitchers doing in 2010?

The Good

  • Tyler Walker leads the Nats in the highest percentage of 0-2 counts – 31.25% of batters faced.
  • Matt Capps strikes out an amazing 77% of batters that reach an 0-2 count
  • Miguel Batista has converted 11 of his 12 0-2 counts to outs.

The Bad

  • Jason Marquis trails the league average with only 8 of 50 batters faced reaching an 0-2 count. Of those, he has hit a batter and walked a batter.
  • Scott Olsen has allowed 35% of his 0-2 count batters to reach base safely.
  • Craig Stammen has only worked his way to 0-2 with a paltry 13.64% of the batters he’s faced.

The Out Chart

Here is how the Nats pitchers got batters out*:

The Safe Chart:

Here’s how Nats pitchers let batters off of the hook:

Through April 2010, Batista, Capps, Clippard, Livo, English and Walker are running the count to 0-2 at a rate consistent with or better than the league average, and are converting their chances to outs at a high rate. Lannan, Marquis, Mock and Stammen are deficient in either reaching the league rate (18%) or the league conversion rate (79%).  Although it is early in the season, there is a clear pattern in that the pitchers who are deficient in this category are also the pitchers who have struggled to get outs, quality starts, wins, holds and saves.

* Key for the charts:

  • K    – Strike out
  • GO – Ground Out
  • PO – Pop Out
  • LO – Line Out
  • FO – Fly Out
  • SAC – Sac Fly/Sac Bunt
  • Runner Out – Batter did not complete plate appearance due to runner making 3rd out of inning
  • BB  – Walk
  • IF   – Batter reached base by interference
  • HBP – Hit By Pitch
  • Err – Batter reached base on an error
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