Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Three pitching stats you need to be keeping

June 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Coaching, Pitching

Traditional pitching statistics (hits, runs, earned runs, strikeouts, etc.) can be very misleading and

Be sure your pitchers know what stats are really important

Be sure your pitchers know what stats are really important

often do not get to the bottom of why a pitcher succeeds or struggles during an outing.  Take earned runs for instance.  If a player gives up 10 runs and only 3 earned runs, does that mean the pitcher’s defense was really bad that day or did the pitcher have a meltdown after the first error and never recovered?  You don’t know unless you were there and knowing what to look for.

Three pitching stats that I always felt were worth keeping are below.  An explanation follows.

  1. Percent strikes.  Nothing good happens until a pitcher throws a strike. The goal for just about every pitcher should be 6 strikes out of every 10 pitches (60%).  If a player has good control then push the target goal to 70%.
  2. First pitch strikes.  Often called “the best pitch in baseball,” a first pitch strike immediately steers the at-bat in the pitcher’s favor.  The goal is 70% of batters see a first pitch over the plate.
  3. Two out of three.  This stat calculates how often a pitcher threw two out of the first three pitches for strikes.  It’s an off-shoot of “first pitch strikes” to make sure pitchers are not throwing strike one and then giving the count back to the batter with several balls after that.  The stat could be the total number of times or a percentage.  If it is a percentage, the target goal should be 70%.

Bonus:  Another stat I like to keep which goes along with #3 is how often a pitcher finishes at-bats within three pitches.  It could be a strikeout or any other outcome where the ball is put into play.  This stat is a secondary one because the hitters have a lot of control on this one.  Some batters like to swing early in the count and some do not.  However, I want my pitchers to have a soft goal of three pitches per batter to get the batters used to swinging early.  It also helps keep their defense awake and ready as well.  

To calculate these stats you will need a scorebook, game chart, or pitching chart that records each pitch a pitcher throws.  A copy of a Game Chart can be found on the Resource page.


2 Responses to “Three pitching stats you need to be keeping”
  1. I started pitch charting last week with my Men’s 30+ team as well as my son’s 9U team. Two very different purposes of course but it completely changed the way we looked at the game in both cases.

    For the 30+ team, it gave my pitchers and catchers a place to start their conversation. It also gave me a better way to measure my pitchers efficiency since we only play one game a week. Traditional stats don’t tell you enough when you play one game a week.

    For my 9U guys, obviously, I used a modified approach, just focusing on strike % and first pitch strike %. I found that it helped the youngsters to start to understand their pitching as a one-batter-at-a-time event rather than a one inning or one game event. That helped them to keep their focus and avoid getting too worried about a BB or a 1B they gave up. The old saying “get the next one” started to make sense the little guys. What a valuable way to start teaching the mental game to young kids!

    Thanks Coach McCreary!

  2. Coach,

    Good post. Missou created what they termed as A3P years ago. It is great for developing players (college on down to LL).

    I even wrote a web site to help team track not only A3P but QAB (related to one of your other blogs about hitting and quality at bats and not just batting average) and we used it at our high school program. Players would track pitching data from their smart phone. Very easy and great for tracking what your staff is doing! It is cheap to sign up and very easy to use. It is on our ClikBoard site –

    Great post and please keep them coming!

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