Making the Other Pitcher Work in 2009

Looking at just year-end totals for teams ignores the path taken to get there throughout the season. For individual players, we usually don't care much about that, but for teams as a whole it can sometimes be interesting. After all, they get influenced not just by random fluctuations but also by the very makeup of the team itself. 

Out of passing curiousity, I ran the Mariner hitters' pitches seen per plate appearance totals, broken down by individual days. Those figures you (sort of) see marked in gray. In dark blue is a rolling 16-day average. After seeing the various peaks and valleys, I took a trip through BR's defensive lineups page and my own memory and picked out some possible contributing factors to the more drastic changes in slopes.

Ppa_medium

Of course these do not represent the totality of influence. If you had a team that averaged 3.75 pitches per plate appearance and then replaced one of the less patient hitters (say 3.5 P/PA) with a patient hitter (say 4.0 P/PA), that would raise the overall team average to about 3.80. There's still lots of randomness involved.

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