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If you’re a first-time visitor of this blog or new to my work in general, just know I track some random, possibly pointless statistics, and one of them involves shots from beyond half-court. Also, most of my posts here are just me forcing myself to write to stay in the routine. This is what happens when I combine the pointless stats and forcing myself to write while it’s the off-season.
I compared shots from beyond half-court with batting statistics from pitchers.
The goal was to find a hitting statistic, preferably a positive outcome, that had about the same percentage of happening as a 45+ foot shot going into the basket, and the simplest way for me to do that was to start by looking at pitchers, the worst hitters in baseball. 45 feet isn’t half-court, by the way, but it’s a two-foot cushion I like to give after Casper Ware made a heave in 2014.
With that in mind, a more recent post on half-court shots showed that the average accuracy from 2001 to 2015 was 2.55 percent. Huge, but justtttt a bit lower than a pitcher’s batting average from 2001 to Wednesday night:
Micah Owings leads all pitchers in batting average, minimum 100 plate appearances, with a .283 mark. 100 plate appearances is the filter I decided on, fair or not or whatever.
On-base percentage would be hopeless to compare now. Maybe walk percentage?
Much closer, pitchers walking are 10.4 times less likely than a strikeout but not high enough to be compared to made heaves. That’s even if we took out all two of the intentional walks by Chris Hatcher and Brooks Kieschnick. Kevin Jarvis is the current leader in walk rate at 9.6 percent.
What about plate appearance ending with a hit by a pitch?
Too low now. Kevin Brown got hit in 2.2 percent of his plate appearances, three total. Roy Oswalt leads with five HBPs, but okay, maybe it’s time to screw around here.
Stolen base attempts for every single or walk?
Okay, that was closer, but making that stat up felt really dumb. Greg Maddux had seven stolen bases, though, so there’s that.
Pitchers bunt way more often than they would move a runner with a fly ball in the outfield. What’s the sacrifice fly to hit percentage?
EVEN CLOSER, but still a weirdo stat. What about trying extra-base hit percentage, because surely when pitchers get a hit it’s just a blooper or whatever.
Welp, might as well start all over. Carlos Zambrano had 24 home runs and 53 total extra-base hits in his career, the most, as you might have noticed, since 2001. 32 percent of his hits were doubles, triples, or home runs, but Manny Parra had the highest percentage of hits go for extra bases at 44.4 percent.
What about extra base hits per plate appearance?
I don’t follow baseball closely, but not only are these percentages close enough to each other, the outcome we just compared to NBA heaves makes enough sense to be the baseball version, right? Maybe this outcome would be way too high, though, if pitchers were told to swing away more often than move runners along. Regardless, Owings, also the leader in batting average, takes the cake here with 11.4 percent of his plate appearances leading to extra base hits.
I suppose I could’ve filtered this to see pitching numbers from the seventh inning on, or whenever a pinch hitter becomes logical, but I don’t want to look this up and I don’t know how to. However, in an effort to spread heave awareness (STOP RUNNING THE CLOCK OUT TO PRESERVE YOUR BASIC STATS WE LOOK PAST ANYWAY BECAUSE THERE ARE TONS OF DIFFERENT WAYS WE CAN SEPARATE THESE LOW PERCENTAGE SHOTS OR ANY OTHER KIND OF SHOT FROM THE REST) just remember that over the last 15 years, the chances of making a shot from 45+ feet in the NBA has been about as likely as a pitcher stepping up to the plate and hitting a double, triple, or home run.
Now you know. So now when a pitcher is up to bat, you should also think of heaves.
Stay tuned more attempts to reach “peak off-season”, but for your safety you probably shouldn’t.
Statistics were from Basketball-Reference and FanGraphs. I love you both.