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Throwing Strikes Were Key at Little League World Series

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Youbin Choi and Wantae Cho always seemed to be in control on the mound for East Seoul, South Korea, the Asia-Pacific representative during a run to the championship game of the Little League World Series.       

Pitchers looking to rack up strikeouts and avoid walks have a simple, obvious starting point: throw strikes.

Choi struck out batters at the highest rate of any pitcher at the tournament and Cho allowed the fewest baserunners per inning in the 16-team event. They also, not coincidentally, were among the top four pitchers, out of the 75 who threw an inning or more, when it came time to rank them according to percentage of pitches thrown for strikes.

In all, 89 players pitched at some point in the World Series. Of that group, 67 threw strikes between 50 and 71 percent of the time. 

Out of the 14 pitchers who threw strikes more frequently, 10 of them had pitched an inning or more.  

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Looking at the statistics of those pitchers shows why managers are so often telling their hurlers to “throw strikes” or "fill up the zone."

While there clearly can be such a thing as throwing too many strikes or strikes that are too hittable, it is just as clear that the ability to hit the strike zone consistently is indeed a strong indicator of potential success.              

Here are the statistics of the top pitchers who threw the highest percentage of strikes while pitching an inning or more in Williamsport. 

Pitcher

Region

Strike%

W-L, SV

IP

H

R-ER

BB-SO

E.R.A.

Wantae Cho

Asia-Pacific

81.5

1-0, 1

6.0

0

0-0

1-12

  0.00

Filippo Laghi

Europe-Africa

77.8

0-1

2.1

4

1-1

0-3

  2.57

Loreto Siniscalchi

Canada

77.5

1-0

5.2

6

4-1

1-13

  1.06

Youbin Choi

Asia-Pacific

77.2

1-0

8.2

6

2-0

0-22

  0.00

Colin Lemieux

New England

76.6

1-2

11.2

14

9-8

1-19

  4.11

Clayton Campbell

Australia

75.1

2-0

13.0

4

2-1

0-21

  0.46

Bowen Nelson

Northwest

72.7

0-0

2.0

6

4-4

0-5

12.00

Victor Lizarraga

West

72.0

1-0

6.0

2

0-0

1-9

  0.00

Lucas Marrujo

West

71.4

0-0

4.0

5

1-1

1-7

  1.50

Cullen McGrew

New England

71.4

0-0

1.0

0

0-0

0-2

  0.00

TOTALS

 

75.3

7-3, 1

60.1

47

23-16

5-113

  1.59            

When each pitch is entered in GameChanger, the software automatically computes strike percentage, percentage of first pitches that are strikes and many other numbers that can be evaluated later.            

Taking another step with those numbers, a comparison of the difference between statistics for the top 10 control pitchers and the rest of the tournament field.            

Here are the totals comparing the above pitchers to the overall performance of pitchers during the series:

Control

Pitchers

 

Statistic(s)

All Other

Pitchers

10

Number of Pitchers

79

75.3

Strike Percentage

65.2

22.6-1

Strikeout:Walk Ratio

2.8-1

1.59

Earned Run Average

3.58

0.86

WHIP (Walks, Hits Per Inning)

1.25

From GameChanger and Tom Robinson.

Photo(s) Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball.

Baseball, Baseball Stats & Scorekeeping

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