DIFFERENT STRIKE ZONES FOR DIFFERENT BATTERS? Today’s Wall street Journal (May 4) has an article by David Biderman about research by John Wolfe on whether the major league strike zone varies from batter to batter. The research uses the Pitch FX camera system and is based on a sample of 33,000 pitches; it takes account of what each batter’s strike zone should be, given his height and stance. Walsh found that Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira had strike zones that are over 14% smaller than they should be, while Jose Reyes has a strike zone that is over 3% bigger than it should be. In general, the strike zone for Yankee starters is 5% smaller than for the Mets starters. There are caveats. Walsh would like a larger sample. I would like to see studies which look at factors that may explain variations in strike zone (years in the majors? patience at the plate?). As I’ve posted on before, these issues are not going away. The camera systems are in place. And there has always been scuttlebutt about this kind of thing. For example, one finding of the study is that ARod (Alex Rodriguez) has a strike zone that is 92% of what it should be, the third highest percentage among Yankee starters. Brett Saberhagen, the great retired pitcher, says about ARod: “He’s rubbed some of the umpires the wrong way.”

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