Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

Update: Apparently, the entire Internet misinterpreted Baseball Reference’s splits. This comment on Beyond the Box Score (h/t Richard) illuminates the issue.

Mike Axisa, of MLB Trade Rumors and the Yankees blog River Ave Blues, dropped a couple of nice factoids pertaining to the incredible Greg Maddux:

Greg Maddux faced 20,421 batters in his career. Just 310 of them saw a 3-0 count. That’s roughly one every three starts. #insane [Link]

Actually, that includes IBB’s. If we only look at unintentional 3-0 counts, it’s 133 in 20,284 total batters. One every ~150 hitters. #nutso [Link]

With some control freaks in the Phillies’ starting rotation, I was curious to see how Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, among others, matched up.

TBF 3-0 Counts IBB Natural 3-0 Counts PA/UIBB
Blanton 5128 94 24 70 73
Lee 5922 85 12 73 81
Hamels 3885 70 24 46 84
Oswalt 8292 122 32 90 92
Halladay 9426 112 23 89 106
Maddux 20421 310 177 133 154

Maddux’s control was far and away better than anyone in the Phillies’ rotation.

In fact, if you prorated the Phillies’ hurlers’ natural 3-0 count rates over 20,421 PA — Maddux’s career total — the results are quite interesting.

Over 20,421 plate appearances, Halladay would have 25 percent more natural 3-0 counts than Maddux. Oswalt would have 44 percent; Hamels 57 percent; Lee 64 percent; and Blanton 81 percent.

The Phillies have acquired pitchers with great control, but Maddux was on another level. This, however, is just one small illustration of Maddux’s greatness. His Baseball Reference page, along with that of Pedro Martinez, is as close to Sabermetric pornography as you’re going to get.

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  1. Dan

    March 04, 2011 09:57 AM

    Greg Maddux was unbelievable, especially for a guy whose fastball topped out at 90 mph. The 72.1 consecutive IP without giving up a walk is so tough to fathom.

  2. saywhat

    March 04, 2011 06:31 PM

    really??? Am I the only one who remembers that Maddux was getting strikes called that were not even close to the plate. Strikes called 6inches off the plate means meaningless stats.

  3. Taco

    March 04, 2011 07:29 PM

    I agree. Lets give Roy Halladay a strike zone that includes most of the opposite batters’ box and see what these numbers look like. I’d take Halladay’s legitimate numbers over Maddux’s asterisked numbers any day.

  4. Phil

    March 05, 2011 12:45 PM

    Hey Bill, I have a question and I have no idea where to put it so I’ll just leave it here. I’ve been recently flipping through my newly purchased Baseball Prospectus 2011 bible, and decided to scope out the enemy and see how they think the Braves pitchers should perform next year. Derek Lowe’s line has got me real confused. Basically they predict his 2011 numbers across the board to be the same or worse than his 2010 numbers. Fewer wins, more hits, lower strikeout ratio, lower ground ball %, higher BABIP, higher ERA, higher FRA, etc. And then when it comes to his WAR (or WARP, as it’s labeled in the book) they have him being almost a full run more valuable in 2011 than he was in 2010. They have his 2010 WAR at 2.6 and predict his 2011 WAR to be 3.5. How does this make sense? I realize that everyone sort of calculates their own version of WAR, and a lot of different stuff goes into calculating it, but how is a pitcher almost a full win more valuable despite not improving his peripherals at all (and in fact regressing a bit for most of them)? Does the value of a replacement player fluctuate through the years? As a Phillies fan, you’re my trusted source for all things advanced stats. Can you make sense of this for me?

  5. Bill Baer

    March 05, 2011 02:08 PM

    Baseball Prospecuts has Lowe’s 2010 WARP at 3.4 and PECOTA puts him at 3.5 in 2011. The 0.1 difference may come from about 10 more innings of work.

  6. Phil

    March 05, 2011 02:35 PM

    Well that makes more sense, but it’s definitely listed at 2.6 in the book. I suppose it could be a typo.

  7. Undocorkscrew

    March 06, 2011 12:10 PM

    @Taco and saywhat……LOL

    Are you guys serious? Trashing one of the greatest starters in the history of baseball because his numbers are better than all 4 of the Phillies aces? That’s what you’re resorting to?

    Maddux dominates in an offensively inflated era and does everything in his power to avoid controversy, yet there’s still fans out there complaining. Let me guess, he was an avid steroid abuser as well…..right?


  8. Undocorkscrew

    March 07, 2011 02:50 PM

    Guys, I’m getting worried now. Will this recent turn of events keep Maddux out of the HOF?

    I just don’t know what to think anymore….

  9. ????

    March 14, 2011 08:57 PM

    According to MLBTR, Frenchy signed with KC. We can all now breathe a sigh of relief.

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