What Are Baseball Hitting Charts?
Even though baseball is a team sport, the pitcher and batter have one on one match ups every at bat. A pitcher tries to get the batter out, and the batter is trying to get on base or move a runner. Everyone waits for the pitch to be thrown and the batter to put the baseball in play. Few baseball fans realize this is where baseball hitting charts come in handy.
Charts that track every at bat are often called by different names. They are sometimes called baseball hitting charts, hitting zone charts, and pitching charts. The name depends on who the chart is being kept for and why. Different people fill out a scorecard differently, but the score should still be the same. This is true with charts. Different people fill them out differently, but they all pretty much contain the same information. Any differences might be because of who is going to receive the benefit of reading these charts.
A batter will want to get on every at bat. To help improve his chances he will review past baseball hitting charts of the opposing pitcher. If this hitter gets behind in a count, meaning he has more strikes on him than balls, is it likely the pitcher will throw a fastball or change up? That is the kind of information he wants from the charts.
This match up happens on every at bat. Pitchers will win more often than not. But some batters win often enough to strike fear into most pitchers. Really good hitters will average a hit for every three at bats. And some batters get hotter when the game is on the line. And you can bet the pitcher knows this.
It is All About Forming a Mental Approach
The hitter and pitcher want any edge they can get on these match ups. This is where the baseball hitting charts come in handy. Pitchers want to know what type of pitch the batter has the most success with. Does he hit curveballs very well? Do inside pitches bother him? Is there a chance he might bunt? And the batter would like to have an idea what pitch might be coming. And is it more likely the pitch will be down or up in the strike zone?
Three Groups of People Read Charts
There are three groups of people that baseball hitting charts are kept for. The first group, pitchers, are usually charted by other pitchers on their team and their charts are usually called pitching charts. Pitchers stats are then combined into two different sets of information.
The first set of information is an overall set of stats on all the pitcher's performances. Pitching coaches are looking for a trend in each pitcher's performance. Do they throw first strike pitches, which is real important. When they get tired do they start to pitch a little higher in the strike zone? They are looking for any information to help the pitcher overall.
The second set of information is kept on each batter that the pitcher has faced. Is this batter hitting outside or inside pitches off this pitcher? Does he like the ball down or up? When this pitcher is about to face a team with this batter on it, these charts are pulled out and reviewed.
Batters are the second group of people that baseball hitting charts are kept for. The idea here is to compile a history of at bats for each hitter and look for trends. The person charting the at bats needs to record the pitch type, pitch location, the at bat count (balls and strikes) and record the hit.
Some people use different colored pencils for ground balls, pop ups, fly balls and line drives. Or they draw the lines differently, such as straight, with dashes, with dashes and dots, or some other method. Just so the person reading the baseball hitting chart can tell where the batted ball went, and what kind of hit it was.
And the last group of people using baseball hitting charts is scouts. They may be tracking a pitcher or hitter for various reasons. Their team might be playing the pitcher or hitter's team soon. Or the scout's team may be interested in making a trade for the player. For either reason the scout wants to find the strengths, weaknesses and trends in a particular pitcher or hitter.
Charts Are Kept at Every Major League Game
In professional baseball, hitting charts are kept on every at bat in every game. For sure both teams playing are charting their players and the opposing players. And more often than not there are other scouts at the game tracking the at bats.
Baseball hitting charts are also kept at the college, high school and upper competitive little league games. My son received his first pitching chart when he was sixteen and was just amazed that someone went to all that trouble. Now he would be mad if he couldn't review his charts.
Once baseball players reach a certain level of play, baseball hitting charts become a part of their preparation for ball games. It is not something that you hear a lot about, but players know the value of studying hitting charts.
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