Rick Peterson has a reputation for paying attention to things that a lot of other pitching coaches either don’t realize or don’t bother with. Things get really interesting when you follow him on Twitter, and he posts something really interesting like he did tonight. Peterson linked to a note on Facebook made by his “3P Sports” firm explaining the importance of the 39th batter in a baseball game.
Peterson notes that if your team can hold your opponent to 38 batters or less, you’ll win the game 70% of the time. What’s so special about the 39th batter? It would be the other team’s #3 hitter coming in for a 5th at-bat. Obviously, there’s a good chance you’re in trouble if the opposition’s best hitters are getting a 5th chance at the plate.
Just taking a glance at Ryan Braun’s game logs from last season, there were 78 games in which Braun got at least 5 at-bats, with the Brewers going 44-34 in those games…in other words, less than .700 baseball from the opponent. There were also 8 games in which Braun got 6 at-bats, and the Brewers went 7-1 in those.
While that .700 winning percentage certainly isn’t a number written in stone, it does make sense. I’m looking forward to seeing more stuff like this from Peterson as the season goes on. It’s pretty unusual that a coach is this involved in social media, let alone one that actually provides some substance.