Research Project – Best Pitch to Throw in Each Count (2022 Houston Astros)

What truly moves the needle and drives success for baseball teams? At all levels, it’s fairly common to turn to pitching, with the idea that hitting a baseball is so fundamentally hard that it can be nearly impossible against a well-executed pitch.

Stemming from this idea is the research question many baseball teams are asking right now; what type of pitch is the best to throw in each individual count?

There are too much situational data and confounding variables that force our question to be a little more detailed; for each pitcher, which pitch had the best results in each individual count? (Even this doesn’t eliminate all confounding variables).

Here is how I went about answering this question:

Data Collection

All data for this project was obtained via This link is the unique filter tool that I used to download the following pieces of information in the form of a csv file:

  • Team (I did Houston Astros as defending champs with dominant pitching staff)
  • Pitcher name
  • Pitch type
  • Count
  • Spin rate
  • Velocity
  • wOBA allowed

The first file used for this research contains 332 rows of data for Houston Astros pitchers, with variables to distinguish pitch count and pitch type.

The next file used has 3,423 rows of data for a large sample of all MLB pitchers (not representative yet) that includes the same information as the previous file but for every qualified pitcher across the league. It also contains more detailed data points such as velocity, spin rate & whiffs that should be used for further research or analysis.

There are some instances in which the wOBA allowed for all pitches from a sample was 0, in the count + pitch combo of 2-0 changeups and 2-0 curveballs. There are also the following caveats to certain data:

n = number of pitches tracked, p = number of unique pitchers to throw the pitch at least once

  • 3-0 changeup
    • n = 5, p = 5
  • 3-0 curve
    • n = 3, p = 2
  • 3-0 slider
    • n = 6, p = 4
  • 3-1 curve
    • n = 10, p = 4
  • 3-1 changeup
    • n = 21, p = 7

Define ‘Success’

Within the selected variables is the one that I have designated as a ‘success’ metric for the purpose of this research (wOBA allowed).

wOBA is used because it poses the highest correlational strength with runs scored for an offense, and it is easy to calculate although not easy to obtain raw data for. This is because the coefficients/multipliers used in the calculation change each season based on which outcomes lead to the most runs. Essentially, it assigns a varying weight for each outcome of an at bat, using the intuitive knowledge that a walk is not worth the same to a baseball team as a home run, but in a traditional stat like OBP, they’re considered equal.

I have to remind myself often that when we measure and analyze these types of statistics for pitchers, the lower number is typically more desired, meaning lower is better. Regardless, this is how Fangraphs classifies wOBA categories:

wOBA Rules of Thumb

Above Average.340
Below Average.310

However, with the available data we can gather a more conclusive answer of categorization.

Findings + Interpretation

Below is the set of data visualization pieces created in IBM SPSS Statistics software with the pitch data previously mentioned. These scatter plots illustrate which pitch type has the most/least success for 8 different HOU pitchers in the 2022 season.

For a more detailed view, the tabular representation of the data is below:

Luis Garcia

Best pitch on 2-2: Changeup

Justin Verlander

Best pitch on 0-0: Fastball

Jose Urquidy

Best pitch on 1-2: Fastball

Ryan Pressly

Best pitch on 0-0: Curveball

Future Research

Although not included in this project, I can envision two areas where future research can be directed;

  1. Compare more metrics such as whiff rate or velocity
  2. Obtain multiple seasons of data for individual pitchers

MLB Hitter Power Rankings: June Edition

Recently I saw this post by MLB on Twitter that inspired me to create my own method of power rankings for hitters. There’s so much talent and data available to us today, which allows someone like me to come up with a reasonable confirmation of who is the best hitter in baseball right now.

My Top Ten

  1. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees
  2. Mike Trout, OF, Angels
  3. Yordan Alvarez, DH, Astros
  4. Bryce Harper, DH, Phillies
  5. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals
  6. Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox
  7. Kyle Schwarber, 1B/OF, Phillies
  8. Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets
  9. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees
  10. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Guardians

Which MLB Hitter Has Been the ‘Best’ in Recent Years? MLB Research Question

In baseball, there are dozens of statistics that are used to measure a players overall performance. Rather than joining the never ending conversation of which ones matter vs. which ones don’t, I set out to answer my own question based on my own criteria. The question is – which MLB player has been the best hitter for the past three seasons? When I say ‘best’, I mean who gives their team the best chance to win by hitting the ball. For the sake of this research question, the four stats I will be analyzing are wOBA, runs produced (RBI + R scored), hard hit percentage and average exit velocity.

Here is my reasoning and brief explanation for each:

  • wOBA (weighted on base average) is my favorite offensive statistic in sports. It does a precise job of measuring players’ and teams’ ability to be productive, as it assigns different weighted scores to different results of an at bat. wOBA has the highest correlation of any offensive stat to runs scored, meaning the better the wOBA, the higher the runs scored will be.
  • Runs produced (RBI + R) captures the availability and the effectiveness of a player within the lineup he plays in. The entire defense of 9 players is doing all they can to prevent runs from crossing the plate, so that should indicate the importance of a stat like this. This obviously helps guys in the lineup every day, but that’s something that is a pre requisite to be the best hitter in the game.
  • Hard hit percentage measures how often a player ends an at bat with a hard hit ball in fair territory. From youth sports all the way to the professional leagues, hitting a ball hard is always the first goal for hitters because it; breeds confidence, increases chances of getting a hit/on base, and also is a really simple goal to have for each plate appearance.
  • Average exit velocity is very similar to hard hit percentage, but it differs because it really works to measure the raw power in each player rather than how often that player reaches that raw power. Larger built guys score better here, but the reality is that they are able to generate more force behind the baseball which is what drives extra base hits and tough defensive plays.


  1. Mookie Betts
  2. Vlad Guerrero Jr.
  3. Manny Machado
  4. Matt Olson
  5. Nelson Cruz Jr.
  6. Rafael Devers
  7. Bryce Harper
  8. Jose Abreu
  9. Freddie Freeman
  10. Juan Soto

Winning a batting title is something most professional players will never feel the joy of winning. But, does winning a batting title necessarily mean they are one of the better offensive players in the sport? Here’s a look at the past three batting title winners and a summary of their stats for those years:

As you will see, placing more weight on certain statistics of a player will provide a clearer image for who really has been the best. So, batting average doesn’t really indicate the best offensive player; after the final calculations, Turner ranks as the 13th best hitter, LaMahieu 11th and Anderson 37th over the past three seasons (2019, 2020, 2021).

The Analysis

I began this process by gathering the relevant statistics from trusted open sites such as Baseball Savant and Baseball Reference. After cleaning and importing the data to work with, I broke it down into three sections for each year in question.

For each year the same methods of calculation were used; each recorded stat is measured up against the rest of the qualified hitters for that season, by utilizing a formula that requires a Most Desirable (maximum value) and a Least Desirable (minimum value) score. This score is referenced as the scaled score.

In this case the highest number for each stat was the most desirable, but it may be the case (like pitching statistics) where least desirable is actually the lowest number.

Next, the scaled score is multiplied by a pre-determined weight for each category. The total weight between all categories must equal 100, and since there are four categories I used, I think they are all equally important so I weigh them at 25 (out of 100) each. This results in the actual score.

Once the actual score is gathered for each of the categories, the sum of those actual scores results in a players final score for that season.

This process occurred for all three seasons, and the final score at the end of every season was used in sum to get the FINAL rankings for the previous three years.


The hitters that rank higher in these calculations are those that take good swings at the plate and make the most of their opportunities on a routine basis. So, if I had to start a MLB team with one offensive player, I would start with Juan Soto.

2022 MLB Future Bets: Best Odds, Picks and Charts for EVERY Team

Not long ago, it seemed like professional baseball being played this spring was a long shot. After both sides agreed to something, the great sport of baseball is almost back in full swing (pun intended), only awaiting the first pitch of the season, scheduled to be Thursday, April 7th.

Each team has a winning total set by various sports books in my state, so we’ll start with team win totals, then move on to division winners, player props and finally league awards bets. All of this work was done by @All_TimeBets & @DailyCFBCBB on Twitter, both of those pages are shown at the end of this page to get a feel for what they provide.

Italicized bets are @DailyCFBCBB picks

Bold bets are agreed upon by both parties

Regular font are @All_TimeBets picks

A.L. Central

  • Chicago White Sox // Over 91.5 (+100)
  • Cleveland Guardians // Under 76.5 (-110)
  • Detroit Tigers // Over 77.5 (-110)
  • Kansas City Royals // Over 74.5 (-110)
  • Minnesota Twins // Under 81.5 (-110)

A.L. East

You would have to bet every team (other than the Orioles) to win 90+ games to cash in their over prop within the division this season.
  • Baltimore Orioles // Under 62.5 (-110)
  • Boston Red Sox // Under 85.5 (-110)
  • New York Yankees // Under 91.5 (-110)
  • Tampa Bay Rays // Over 89.5 (-115)
  • Toronto Blue Jays // Over 92.5 (-110)

A.L. West

Make it six straight years for the Astros to be the favorite of the division. Meanwhile other teams like Seattle and Texas have not been able to sustain the edge they had for a few seasons.
  • Houston Astros // Under 92.5 (-110)
  • Los Angeles Angels // Under 84.5 (-110)
  • Oakland Athletics // Under 69.5 (-110)
  • Seattle Mariners // Under 84.5 (-110)
  • Texas Rangers // Over 74.5 (-110)

N.L. East

For the first time since 2016, the Mets have the highest win total listed in the division.

  • Atlanta Braves // Under 91.5 (-110)
  • Miami Marlins // Over 76.5 (-110)
  • New York Mets // Under 88.5 (-110)
  • Philadelphia Phillies // Under 86.5 (-105)
  • Washington Nationals // Under 71.5 (-110)

N.L. Central

The Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t always irrelevant, but them and the Chicago Cubs have opened the door for Milwaukee and St. Louis to fight for the division.

  • Chicago Cubs // Under 75.5 (-110)
  • Cincinnati Reds // Under 74.5 (-110)
  • Milwaukee Brewers // Over 89.5 (-110)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates // Under 65.5 (-115)
  • St. Louis Cardinals // Over 84.5 (-110)

N.L. West

Arizona and Colorado are set up to watch the Dodgers prey all over the division… again.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks // Over 67.5 (-115)
  • Colorado Rockies // Under 68.5 (-115)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers // Over 98.5 (-105)
  • San Diego Padres // Over 90.5 (-110)
  • San Francisco Giants // Under 86.5 (-115)

Division Winners

AL Central: White Sox (-195) & Detroit Tigers (+800)

AL East: Blue Jays (+170)

AL West: Mariners (+450)

NL Central: Cardinals (+215)

NL East: Braves (+115)

NL West: Dodgers (-235)

Player Props

Home Runs
  • A. Meadows u28.5 home runs (-110)
  • A. Judge u36.5 home runs (-110)
  • C. Seager o26.5 home runs (-110)
  • H. Renfroe o31.5 home runs (-110)
  • T. Story u26.5 home runs (-110)
  • J. Soto u34.5 home runs (-110)
  • R. Devers o37.5 home runs (-105)
  • T. Hernandez o99.5 runs batted in (-110)
  • E. Suarez u98.5 runs batted in (-110)
  • A. Manoah o152.5 strikeouts (-105)
  • C. Morton u185.5 strikeouts (-110)
  • N. Eovaldi o185.5 strikeouts (-110)
  • S. Bieber o235.5 strikeouts (-110)

Season Awards


S. Ohtani (+350)

K. Tucker (+2500)

Y. Alvarez (+3000)

X. Bogaerts (+4500)

R. Acuna Jr (+700)

F. Freeman (+1200)

M. Olson (+2200)

Cy Young

S. Bieber (+700)

Jose Berrios (+2000)

C. Burnes (+750)

W. Buehler (+900)

M. Fried (+2200)

A. DeSclafani (+9000)

Rookie of the Year

S. Torkelson (+450)

J. Rodriguez (+500)

R. Greene (+1500)

S. Suzuki (+380)

H. Greene (+750)

S. Sanchez (+1300)

Keep in mind the best strategy is not to bet on everything you see written here, and to always do your own research. For consistent quality sports betting content and a welcoming community, follow the Twitter accounts that contributed to this post:



Odds by FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM.

08/26 MLB Bets

Dodgers vs. Padres

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Under 7.5 (-102). After last nights thrilling game, these two teams have got to be exhausted and will be stuck facing two of the best strikeout guys in league history throughout their careers. Both pitchers have a K rate higher than 33.3% against the respective rosters, and both offenses rank outside the top 20 for wOBA, wRC+ and BABIP the past two weeks. These are how well the starting pitchers have been in the past month:

wOBA allowed.259.334

It may look like the immediate upper hand goes to Scherzer and the Dodgers, but Darvish’ career numbers against the Dodgers lineup are good enough to do a double take, and feel confident taking the under in this game. See for yourself:

Baseball Savant

Nationals vs. Marlins

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

WSH tto3.5 (-110). Both pitchers have relatively good stats against the current opposing rosters, which is probably why this total is set low. However, RHP Hernandez has a pretty high 6.57 FIP in the past month, and I’m not convinced he will hold the Nationals at bay like he did with much weaker offenses in CHC & PIT in his earlier starts this year. WSH has a patient offense, ranking second in BB rate at 11.3% the last two weeks, but also rank 10th in wOBA at .335 and 11th in wRC+ in that same time frame. WSH averages 4.57 runs per game on the road this year, this is a good number for bettors!

Giants vs. Mets

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Giants ML (-118). Nothing wrong with betting the favorite when this favorite happens to be the best team at winning games, like I have mentioned before! RHP Carrasco owns a 1.65 WHIP, 5.68 FIP and a .411 wOBA against him in the past month of action. He doesn’t have a single quality start all year, and the Giants will probably get to him early and often, despite his career success against the current roster. LHP Wood has been good against this Mets roster in his career as well, but he comes into this matchup with a 1.39 WHIP, 3.43 FIP and a .322 wOBA against him in the past month giving him the slight recency edge for starting pitching. The Mets are one of the worst teams at hitting lefties this year, their wOBA is .249 (27th) against LHP, and they only have a wRC+ of 53 (27th).

Diamondbacks vs. Phillies

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Diamondbacks F5 ML (+118). I like the juice enough here to trust the numbers. Certain numbers would indicate that this PHI offense is the worst in baseball as of late. In the past two weeks, they are second to last in wRC+, wOBA, and dead last in runs scored with 38. On the other hand, ARI ranks seventh in wRC+, fourth in wOBA and 10th in runs scored with 63 during that same time frame. RHP Eflin is making his first start after coming back from injury, and his career success against the ARI lineup might not be enough to rely on for this matchup. RHP Gallen has an incredibly high 28.2% K rate the past month in addition to an above average .311 wOBA against him. There is enough to trust this underdog play.

08/24 MLB Bets

Diamondbacks vs. Pirates

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Diamondbacks -1.5 (+130). Say what you want about these two teams and how I might regret betting on either one of them, but this is a pretty good payout for a team that should have no problem winning this game. LHP Bumgarner has gone seven straight starts without giving up more than two earned runs, and in the past month he has a great FIP of 3.42 and wOBA against him at just .258. The Pirates offense is the leagues worst in the past month with only 58 wRC+ and the worst wOBA at .256. The Dbacks on the other hand are top ten in most offensive categories the past month, a .350 wOBA (5th), 118 wRC+ (6th), and 65 runs total (9th). I am even more confident betting against RHP Brubaker, who posts a 7.46 FIP and 10.1% BB rate in the past month. The Pirates have lost 11 of his last 12 starts, so that should tell you enough.

Nationals vs. Marlins

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Nationals ML (-105). I think this game will end with a Nationals victory. RHP Fedde has a 2.31 FIP against the Marlins lineup in his career, along with a 23.1% K rate and just a .162 wOBA allowed. LHP Luzardo has been a nightmare lately, posting a 12.4% BB rate and a 6.20 FIP in his last 36 innings. On top of that, the Nationals have the second highest walk rate in the majors the past two weeks at 11.8%, and are ninth in wOBA at .336 in the past two weeks as well.

Reds vs. Brewers

Brewers -1.5 (+105). I am looking to take advantage of RHP Burnes’ abilities in some form or another. He has been virtually impossible to score against in his last three starts, throwing 21 innings and giving up only one run. RHP Mahle has shown the ability to shut out opponents, but I believe it is more the exception than the norm, and that’s likely what he’ll have to do going toe to toe with Burnes. MIL has the best offense in baseball the past two weeks, leading the league in wRC+ with 134, wOBA with .375 and second in runs (TB) with 78. Being at the top of the league in those stats is usually enough for me to believe they can cover the run line behind an ace pitcher, who is also the best in the entire league at what he does.

Baseball Savant

08/23 MLB Bets

Rangers vs. Red Sox

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Red Sox -1.5 (-160). Maybe I’m crazy enough to take such a big favorite, but I am comfortable betting my usual price on the Red Sox to beat the Rangers by 2 runs or more this game. The Red Sox have the best hitting offense in the league the past two weeks, as they collectively own a .369 wOBA, they have scored the second most runs (Rays) in that time frame with 75, and also have the third lowest strikeout rate at just 17.7%. LHP Allard has flat out been one of the worst pitchers on the Rangers this season with a 3-10 record and a FIP of 4.76. I’ll give him credit, he has put together three straight quality starts and does look to have promise, which makes it hard to bet against his recent success. However, there was a seven game stretch in which the Rangers lost all of his starts by at least two runs. RHP Eovaldi has also been kind of a wildcard this season in terms of runs allowed, but with a 24% K rate and just a 4% BB rate in the past month, he is showing effective control amongst the best of them.

White Sox vs. Blue Jays

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Blue Jays ML (-105). This is a VERY well matched game that I’m interested in having a little bit of stake in.

K Rate17.3%22.0%
BB Rate9.6%8.5%
Past Two Weeks

RHP Lynn has been amongst the best in the past month, allowing just a .298 wOBA and striking out 27.8% of the batters he’s faced to go along with a FIP of 3.25. The White Sox have won the last five games Lynn has started, and he threw seven innings of one run baseball against TOR over two months ago. RHP Manoah has an even better wOBA in the past month at just .270 and a strikeout percentage of 23.3%. His FIP is not too far from Lynn’s at 3.68 either. He pitched six innings and allowed one earned run against CHW the last time these two pitchers went head to head. Obviously a closely matched game, but I think the edge goes to the team sleeping in their own bed the night before, and am backing the Jays in this one.

Yankees vs. Braves

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Yankees F5 ML (+120). This is yet another very well matched game that I want at least a little bit of dog in the fight.

K Rate25.9%21.3%
BB Rate12.0%11.6%
Past Two Weeks (FanGraphs)

LHP Montgomery has been good enough against the Braves lineup to show confidence in taking them as underdogs. Through 23 plate appearances, they own a .228 wOBA against him and he has just a 2.82 FIP while only allowing one extra base hit. Meanwhile on a much smaller scale, RHP Ynoa owns a 14.11 FIP and wOBA of .656 against them through 10 plate appearances against a handful of Yankees hitters (Rizzo, Gardner, Sanchez, LeMahieu, Voit).

My Personal Favorite Follow on Twitter for quickly gaining some profit:

08/21 MLB BETS

White Sox vs. Rays

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Over 9 (-115). LHP Keuchel has a 6.36 FIP and a 20.6% strikeout rate against the Rays lineup in his career, and he has already recorded as many losses in the second half of the season (3) as the first half. The Rays offense has been on a tear, ranking first in wRC+ in the past two weeks while scoring a league best 98 runs – 20 runs more than the next closest team. RHP Patino has only had one start over a 50 game score in his last seven starts, and the White Sox lineup will be ready to capitalize on any mistakes he makes today, as they rank fifth in slugging percentage the past two weeks at .468 and sixth in wRC+.

Royals vs. Cubs

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Royals ML (+108). The Cubs are just another type of bad right now, having just snapped a 12-game losing streak, and their strikeout percentage is the highest in the majors the last two weeks at 32.7%. On the flip side, the Royals have the lowest strikeout percentage in the league at just 17.8% in that same time frame. RHP Thompson has been a reliever for the Cubs all year, so in a limited role I like the chances of a tough Royals lineup to score more than enough runs against at least a few Cubs pitchers to win this game at a good moneyline price. I think the line is as close as it can get because of RHP Bubic’s last start against the Cardinals in which he gave up seven earned runs and couldn’t make it out of the second inning. Before that however, he had thrown 4 out of 5 quality starts against good divisional teams like the White Sox and Tigers.

A’s vs Giants

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Giants F5 ML (-125). The A’s are one of the better teams in baseball, but let’s not forget that they had just dropped two straight series, one to the god awful Rangers. Meanwhile the Giants ARE the best team in baseball, and they haven’t had a three game losing streak since July 1st. RHP Gausman has pitched to a 3-0 record in August, while LHP Manea is 0-2 while giving up seven runs and five runs in those two losses. He also had a start in which he couldn’t make it out of the second inning against the Indians and had already given up three earned runs.

Pirates vs. Cardinals

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Cardinals -1.5 (-105). The Pirates shut out the Cards in yesterday’s game, but today is another day and I like the Cardinals here. LHP Happ is taking the mound, and since joining the Cardinals he is 2-0 without allowing more than two runs in any start. Additionally, the Pirates lineup in a small sample size only has a .325 xSLG with a wOBA of just .248 against Happ, which is among the lowest for starters going today. In the past two weeks, the Pirates have struck out the fifth most of any MLB team with a strikeout percentage of 25.7% while the Cardinals are only at 22.3%, which is the 18th highest.

Phillies vs. Padres

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Padres ML (-155). This is probably the hardest matchup for me to pick on the day. The main reason for this is RHP Nola’s dominance against the Padres lineup, allowing just a .257 wOBA with a 28.9% strikeout rate mixed with RHP Musgrove’s dominance against the Phillies, as he has a .265 wOBA with a 30.3% strikeout rate against them. The difference maker to me is the Phillies struggling offense, posting a team wOBA of .263 the past two weeks, and only scoring 33 runs, both are the second worst in the majors during that time. Musgrove is coming off a rough last start, but prior to that he had four straight quality starts and the Padres won three of those four. Meanwhile Nola hasn’t thrown more than five innings this month, and has given up four runs or more twice already.

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