“Being a Seam Reader, or Guess-Hitter is just the tip of the Sabermetric Iceberg.” Jared Tiefenthaler, CEO Seam Readers Worldwide.
Welcome everyone to Seam Readers 20th blog of all time! Thank you so much to Seam Reader Nation for reading and commenting on our last blog, “Do All Stats Matter?” In that blog, we asked questions about two hitting philosophies, Seam Reading, or reading spin, and Guess-Hitting, or guessing what pitch was coming next. We quoted Hall of Fame coaches, scouts, and sabermetric experts, and hitting legends from the past, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, who said in ‘Batting’ a best selling book, written in 1925 by F.C. Lane, “ You can see everything you need to see on that ball within that half-second to make a decision on whether to swing or not.” Maybe Shoeless Joe was the world’s first seam reader? Ty Cobb said that as long as he had been playing, he may be able to know what they were going to pitch him, but that he would not recommend it.” Mr. Cobb could possibly have been the world’s first educated guess-hitter? Hall of Famer, Wee Willie Keeler said in the same book, and in the chapter called ‘OUTGUESSING THE PITCHER’ that, “If you are out-guessing the pitcher, you are probably hitting the ball, and if he is outguessing you, then you are probably not hitting the ball.” Mr. Keeler was a guess-hitter who subsequently made it to the Hall of Fame. Prompting us, as a company, to retract our statement in a blog written before, that had conveyed there was no way someone was going to guess-hit themselves into the Hall of Fame. Mr. Keeler, Seam Readers salutes you! We questioned and quoted Pete Rose, in our Best Selling book in 2020 titled, ‘Seam Reading: The Hidden Art of Hitting’, who simply stated, “You have to know what the seams look like, so you can hit the ball.” In the same book, Joe Maddon is quoted as saying to yours truly, ”You are always better reading seam rotations, than you are guessing a pitcher’s tendencies.” Ryan “Spilly” Spilborghs (ex Colorado Rockie), while on his podcast called ‘First Cup’ told us, he always felt he had an advantage because he could read pitches. Speaking with current Big-League Texas Rangers third baseman, Josh Jung, said that his father had been teaching him how to read seams since he was a youngster. Finally current Major League scout for the New York Mets Andy Pratt said that currently there is no analytic for who is (Seam) reading or guessing pitches and that maybe the time has come.
Because of all of this hitting history, and the fact that both philosophies are being used at every level of the game, prompted us at Seam Readers to ask the following question… Does it matter if the best of the best in these hitting categories, including barrel rate, hard hit rate, highest batting average, most hits etc., were seam readers, and if the worst at whiff rate, chase rate, and lowest batting average were guess-hitters, could this possibly be a game changer and the missing information to many questions not yet studied?
CEO of Seam Readers Worldwide, Jared Tiefenthaler stated in “Do All Stats Matter?” that he believed both philosophies deserved their own set of analytics. He also is adamant that, as of this writing in February of 2023, asking if you are a seam reader or guess hitter is just the tip of the sabermetric iceberg…
He proceeds to comment that, “Obviously what should be measured first, and is the easiest to measure, is who is a seam reader and who is a guess hitter? The reasoning behind this is important because it will show which hitting philosophy is actually used the most, and which philosophy will get the best results. It may be the missing statistical link on why some hitters are better than others. Is it measurable? What do you think? Would the results for present day players be the same for hitters of prior generations? Sounds like a fascinating study indeed.
Next, we measure data from the pitchers. Simple questions that need to be answered such as, what do pitcher’s pitches look like in real time? (not what pitches look like in slow motion.) Also, does a pitcher’s fastball look the same every time? As well as, can it look one way eighty-percent of the time, and another way twenty-percent of the time? Does their fast-ball look similar to their change up? What about their slider and curve-ball? Does a pitch with a high spin-rate look the same to a hitter as a pitch with a lower spin-rate? If so at what spin rates, do they appear to look different to the hitter? What if they do, or don’t? Will that pitcher get better, or worse results? “Could this be what makes some pitchers better than others?”, says Tiefenthaler. Is there a new metric that could be created to show overlap on how pitches look, and give them some type of score, or percentage to how similar their pitches are from one to the next? The variables and questions are endless.
Some data to study could include the following;
- Training material for hitters
- Training material for pitchers
- Gives a face to all the measured pitch data available
- Nuance of the game
- Fan-interaction in stadium and on television
How We Measure;
- RPM/Spin-Rate, axis of pitch, spin direction, gyro degree, efficiency, all of this data gives a signature-looking face on the ball.
As we come to the end of this edition of our blog, it seems to this writer that we have proposed many other possible analytics to be studied. Maybe we have opened the door to a whole new field of study and data that needs to be measured, and because of this we at Seam Readers Worldwide, are accepting applications for Sabermetricians who feel the same way, and who understand and see the vision. Please reach out to us at Seamreaders.com or email us at email@example.com. May God bless you and have a great spring training.