POSITIONING AGAINST INDIVIDUAL BATTERS. Futterman gives an example in a sidebar of how the statistics give different guidance for pitching to two outstanding hitters, Jose Bautista and Andrew McCutchen. Bautista, before he had two strikes on him, pulled 88% of his ground balls and line drives to left field. With two strikes on him, he adjusted his swing so that he only pulled the ball to left field 74% of the time. In contrast, Andre McCutcheon pulled 84& of his ground balls and line drives to left field with less than two strikes, but pulled the ball even more at 89% when he got two strikes on him. With this information, with two strikes, defenders might play McCutchen a step or two more to pull and Bautista a step or two less likely to pull.

Of course, many defenders have positioned themselves differently on each pitch depending, for example, on whether the pitch will be a fast ball or a breaking pitch. What is new here is the extremity of some of the shifts and the use of statistical tendencies for individual batters.

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