Amazing K:BB Ratios

» 25 June 2011 » In npb »

The new, home run-supressing NPB ball has brought a Japan-wide “year of the pitcher”. Five NPB’s 12 teams have team ERAs under 3.00, led by Nippon Ham’s amazing 2.02 mark. But the thing that’s jumped out at me is number of guys with unbelievable K:BB ratios. Check these out:

  • (pitcher – K:BB, IP)
  • Yu Darvish – 106:10, 92 IP
  • Masahiro Tanaka – 96:7, 91.1 IP
  • Yoshihisa Naruse – 81:6, 83 IP
  • Masaru Takeda – 45:3, 74 IP
  • Yoshihisa Hirano – 42:2, 32.1 IP
  • Dennis Sarfate – 40:4, 26.2 IP
  • Takuya Asao – 29:2, 29 IP

Those are just the guys with ratios of 10:1 or better. There are number of others with ratios in the 4:1 or 5:1 range.

So what’s going on here? These guys were all very good already, but they didn’t all take this type of step forward at once. My guess is that the new ball has enabled pitchers to attack the strike zone more aggressively, with less fear of surrendering a home run. That’s just an untested theory at this point though.

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  1. Patrick
    25/06/2011 at 3:09 pm Permalink
  2. Patrick
    Michael Westbay
    27/06/2011 at 7:32 am Permalink

    – My guess is that the new ball has enabled pitchers to attack the strike zone more aggressively, with less fear of surrendering a home run.

    That’s exactly what Jim Allen said on the Japan Baseball Weekly podcast a couple weeks ago. I dove in to some data in last week’s podcast as well, and found that the percentage of home runs on fast balls, sliders, and forks all increased over the past two years. That would tend to support the theory that pitchers are challenging with the hard stuff more this year (and getting burned more than the off speed stuff). But even with the increase percentage of fast balls carrying over, the overall number of home runs hit in Inter-league play (the target of my study) was reduced by more than half.

    I guess I’ll need to look at it with regards to strike outs as well.

  3. Patrick
    27/06/2011 at 8:28 am Permalink

    I was going to look into balls and strikes on a couple of these guys, and see if they are getting more called strikes than last year. Who knows when I’ll find the time for that.

    Also to passerby’s point, I’ve seen Naruse get a lot of calls low in the zone. I’ve seen him pitch twice this year and it was happening both times. I’ve watched Darvish 4-5 times and didn’t really think he was getting favorable calls. I can’t really comment on the rest of them, as I’ve only seen Tanaka once and haven’t really paid attention to the others.

  4. Patrick
    Chris Jackson
    27/06/2011 at 3:40 pm Permalink

    Unrelated to this post, but Cubs farmhand Bobby Scales has signed with Nippon Ham:
    He was a solid player in the PCL this season and last. If I find out about any other players headed East, I will pass it along.

  5. Patrick
    27/06/2011 at 3:59 pm Permalink

    Love it. I can’t wait to see Scales over there.

  6. Patrick
    29/06/2011 at 11:22 am Permalink

    There are only 11 total players, each league combined, that are hitting over .300… it seems like the PYS 2011 developers at Konami didnt get the memo about the new ball though, it can be a homer fest with a lot of games…

  7. Patrick
    30/06/2011 at 9:13 am Permalink

    There are only six players slugging over .500 and only three reaching base over .400.