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Introducing STATS Advanced Heat Maps: Evaluating the 2018 MLB All-Star Game Starters

: STATS LLC

Heat maps have been around the game of baseball for some time now. 它们被用来总结投手的位置, 也可以为击球手识别冷热区域. While the hitter-specific graphics can be enlightening, they usually don’t tell the whole story. Most of these graphics only contain data from pitches on balls in play.

Wouldn’t it be much more informative to analyze a heat map that assigns value to every pitch of an at-bat? 多亏了STATS,现在这成为了现实.

Values are based on what the league-average hitter does with a corresponding pitch, 考虑位置和类型. The hitter receives a higher value if the result is better than the league-average result on an identical pitch. 例如, making hard contact on corner fastballs or off-speed pitches below the zone generates a higher value. Hitters who lay off pitches just outside the zone get a higher value as well since those pitches are frequently chased by the league-average hitter.

相反, the hitter will receive a lower value if the result is worse than the league average on a corresponding pitch. 例如, a hitter who takes a two-strike pitch down the middle produces one of the lowest values. The league-average hitter typically swings and makes hard contact on those pitches. 然而, laying off balls that are far out of the zone won’t move the meter much, considering the league-average hitter would typically do the same.

STATS has generated these heat maps to illustrate these values. For each player, red indicates positive value for that respective location and pitch type. 红色越深,击球手在那个区域越好. Blue indicates the opposite; the darker the blue, the worse they are in that respective zone. So, if a player’s heat map is showing a lot of red on the outer edges, 例如, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he is hammering pitches in that zone. 考虑每一个音调, hitters can add value by laying off pitches out of the zone that the average hitter chases, 因此显示红色.

A player’s value-added in one zone also influences every other zone it touches, as well. 换句话说, 当确定每个六边形区域的值时, 周围的区域也被考虑在内. This helps prevent sample size issues where a hitter may have only seen one pitch in a zone, 但旁边有23个球.

Inversely, the lower the value, the better the pitch is from the pitcher’s perspective. 例如, fastballs on the corners produce pitcher-friendly value because hitters often take them for strikes. 当角球快速球真正投入比赛时, it is with less damage than those pitches closer to the middle of the plate. 在本质上, pitches down the middle hurt a pitcher’s value because it’s where league-average hitters produce better results. 除了, breaking balls and off-speed pitches located below the zone are often chased at and missed, 或者他们在游戏中发挥得很弱. 这些球对投手来说能产生更好的价值. Pitches that aren’t close to the strike zone are typically taken by the league-average hitter. 因此,它们对投手的价值较低.

Note: Every heat map is shown from the pitcher’s perspective, not the catcher’s.

现在, let’s take a closer look at the National League’s starting third baseman in the All-Star Game, 科罗拉多州的诺兰Arenado, who has been 27 percent better than the average hitter so far this season.

Arenado, 右手击球员, has struggled with pitches up and near the edge of the strike zone away. 在深蓝的区域, 他有50%的几率会突然跳出来, 剩下的50%被他踢出局了. Combined with the six zones surrounding it, Arenado has swung and missed 18.8 percent of the time, while league average in that area is 12.9%. His pop up percentage in that area is 32 percent, while average hitters are at 12 percent.

Arenado has also struggled up and inside, as shown on the map. His worst outcome of the season occurred on a 3-2 pitch just above the zone, 他挥棒打偏了. 如果他上场,就会是第四个球.

In the highlighted zone above, Arenado has seen nine pitches and fouled seven of them off. His 78 percent swing rate in that zone compared to the 32 percent league average creates negative value, on top of the fact he has not done damage with any pitch in that location.

Arenado is an All-Star, and deservedly so, which means it’s not all bad for him on the map. 很明显,他能把球压得很低. 在下面突出显示的区域, Arenado has been 303 percent better than the average hitter this season.

In that darkest red zone, he has an average exit velocity of 97 mph. 联赛的平均时速是89英里. But looking at just that one zone doesn’t tell the whole story, 考虑到每一个接触它的区域都有影响. In the seven highlighted locations, the average hitter has produced 3.本赛季跑了13场,阿里纳斯跑了9场.5分. His swing-and-miss rate in that location is right around league average, 所以这并不一定会改变天平的方向, but his 11 home runs in those six adjoining zones certainly will.

Arenado has been one of the league’s best hitters to this point and is more than deserving of the fans voting him as an All-Star starter. Here’s a look at the STATS Heat Maps for the rest of this year’s All-Star Game starters.