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Briefly, I read over a month ago on the Operation Sports forums that the computer penalized a live player for swinging at the first two pitches of an at bat. I play offline Franchise, and I sorta got that impression on my own. I ran a test of 100 at bats swinging at the 1st pitch versus 100 at bats waiting til the 3rd pitch and got results that gave me a significantly higher batting average waiting til the 3rd pitch, even though that often put me significantly behind the count.

Then I gave it more thought. What was going on, exactly? As I played dozens and dozens of Franchise games by hand, I found that, when I had GOOD results reported by the little at bat recorder for PCI placement and timing, I got fewer hits on the first two pitches of an at bat than I did on the third pitch of an at bat.

So, I decided to do this test: Swing at the first pitch of an at bat. Record ONLY the swings that gave GOOD contact and GOOD timing. Then swing at the third pitch of an at bat and record ONLY the swings that gave GOOD contact and GOOD timing.

I am not a hand-eye guru, so this took hundreds of at bats. These were not done in practice mode. They were done playing the SF Giants in Franchise mode in regular games against the rest of the league.

The results are, I believe, fairly conclusive:

In 200 at bats swinging at the first pitch when the result was GOOD placement and GOOD timing, I got an average of 88.7 speed of the hit and batted for a .266 average.

In 200 at bats swinging at the third pitch - REGARDLESS OF THE COUNT - when the result was GOOD placement and GOOD timing, I got an average of 104.7 speed of the hit and batted for a .352 average. Again, I'm not real good at hand-eye coordination, so never mind the base averages, but look at the difference.

The numbers were compiled against the same few starting pitchers the Giants faced at the start of a Franchise season, as I began both tests from the season start.

Again, that is with the entire Giants lineup, so it's not really scientific. But the results are so skewed as to convince me that the player is penalized for swinging at the first two pitches of an at bat.

Look at it this way: If you que the ball up and get solid contact on the first pitch and hit ,266, but you que the ball up and get solid contact on the third pitch and hit .352, SOMETHING is going on besides physics.

I'd like San Diego Studios to respond to this, but I doubt they will.

6/24/2018 9:42AM PDT

Interesting. Good work. 

6/24/2018 9:44AM PDT

This is a well done report and I wish you had a spreadsheet to send to sds, I don't think you should be penelazied for swinging at first pitch especially if the pitcher hung it but sadly I have seen the same.

6/24/2018 9:45AM PDT

Interesting stuff. Nice work. ALways good to see actual numbers behind it. Now I say, why? Why does SDS do this? It's ridiculous this is a thing.

6/24/2018 9:47AM PDT

If this is accurate it's ridiculous.........

6/24/2018 9:52AM PDT

While I do like the work, as I did the same sort of thing myself last week, the one question I will throw out there though is, were all the recorded events done on the same patch? If they're not all completed on the same patch, I think there could be a significant flaw as the hitting has changed greatly patch to patch.

There's some other things as well, but at the end of the day, I do find it interesting and good work! Likely means nothing more than it's interesting, but I do enjoy doing this kind of stuff myself!

6/24/2018 9:55AM PDT

3rd pitch is usually the best to swing at and here’s why, imo, the first two pitches are usually off speed, so if your sitting 1-1 or 2-0, that 3rd pitch is usually a fastball over the middle/top of zone. Hell even forth pitch is good.

A lot of people on here have been saying for a long time don’t swing at first pitch even if it’s a juicy meatball, why? Because it’s probably offspeed and won’t go anywhere..

6/24/2018 10:09AM PDT

I can definitely see this being accurate. Swinging at the first pitch rarely ends in success for me or my opponents

6/24/2018 10:12AM PDT

Been that way for years. It's stupid because if you hang a pitch early in the count any hitter would take a good hack at it and wouldn't be penalized for it

6/24/2018 10:14AM PDT

If you pay attention when playing the computer they rarely rarely swing at first pitch, they don’t even swing at second pitch a lot of times..

6/24/2018 10:15AM PDT

Maybe it’s not so much a penalty for swinging early, but rather a small boost for seeing more pitches and swinging later in the count.

6/24/2018 11:11AM PDT

I made this argument about a month ago and people disagreed so I’m very glad and appreciative that you took the time to compile numbers behind the claim.

this is 100% accurate and I play mainly RS/events/BR. So many times I’ve squared up 1st pitches bc they were too good to let go and more often than not, even on Good/Good swings, this produces out after out.

working the count does present an advantage and better probabilities for higher exit velocity, just hard to do sometimes when you’re pressing. But I agree, the game shouldn’t be this way.

first or fifth pitch should be able to be hit the same way if it’s a meatball and squared up. But there’s something in place that penalizes swings at the 1st or 2nd pitch

6/24/2018 11:44AM PDT

You my friend have figured out the hitting agenda, the grand tamale of why solid hits early in the count are 90% nothing. You figured out the code!

Ready for this, the reason why this is because of the pitcher, the more pitches thrown the more the pitcher gets fatigued, misses his spots, and his velocity is toned down therefore the exit velocity is much greater when working the count. It shouldn' be this way all the time but the game is coded by the pitcher what results you get unfortunately.

6/24/2018 12:00PM PDT

This would prove that we are not in control of our AB's or the outcomes. It's all up to the programming. Meanwhile, you can swing at every pitch and still be in the game come the 8th inning. 

6/24/2018 12:49PM PDT

Great post I enjoyed the read

 I wanted to try this theory out and it's as small as a sample size you can get but I played two games doing this. One on veteran vs CPU Angels and one event h2h game. The vs CPU game I will have to say I had great results when getting my PCI covering the entire ball on good swings. It's amazing how many balls the CPU throws and I really think it also has a lot to do with wearing the pitcher down. I was hitting great the game was fun to play. I then went to the online game. WOW online is as messed up as it can get. I waited until I at least got one strike to swing. My opponent left his 60 rated pitcher in for around 20 pitches. I got good swings and a lot of pitches with good PCI coverage. All I did was pop the bal up, two balls popped up to second even though I was slightly under the center. Yes, a ball I slightly was on top of popped up? Online it did not matter at all what I did because the ball was just not jumping off the bat like it does vs CPU. I lost due to a solo shot on a pitch that should have never even been swung at. I was no hit and his only hit was the solo shot. 

It's a great method vs CPU but man alive I was pretty shocked how even wearing down his pitcher that my opponent never even warmed up (was told his pitchers were tired after one pitch) the results you get online. 

6/24/2018 3:43PM PDT

There's definitely something up. Just think about the fact SDS implemented a "first pitch hitter" quirk. There has to be some element of reward or consequence for swinging at the first pitch at the very least. Really hope SDS responds to this because anyone who has logged hours on this iteration of the show can easily tell be an eye test that first pitch swinging usually yields negative results. 

6/24/2018 5:54PM PDT

Which makes even less sense when yer using a card that has the first pitch quirk.    

6/24/2018 8:14PM PDT

This is a fantastic post.  I love the hard data rather than the anecdotal information most give

6/25/2018 1:12AM PDT

Hmmmmm, let me have those easy first 2 strikes :o

6/25/2018 1:38AM PDT

Makes sense actually. For me Sanchez is one of, if not my best hitter. I like to hit with him when he has 2 strikes because he gets a pci boost when that happens. He constantly gets the best exit velos on the squad....

6/25/2018 2:09AM PDT

I am interested on how you got the batting averages.  Were sac flies counted as non AB?  And were reaching on errors counted as an 0 for that AB?  Because the BA dont equal 200 AB's.

6/25/2018 2:28AM PDT

.... and I thought it just me.   No hard data just lots of conquest play but first pitch swinging on Veteran and above rarely ends up with good result.  Interesting discussion here, wish someone from SDS would provide input.


6/25/2018 4:46AM PDT

More pitches thrown = pitcher fatigue

More swings and misses = greater pitcher confidence than if you take a strike


This will lead to the results you see.

6/25/2018 4:49AM PDT

After taking this into consideration, I played two RS games last night and took the first two pitches literally every at bat.

yeah, I passed up on some meatballs and went 0-2 plenty of times but the results speak for themselves.

won both via a quit and this comment isn’t meant to brag but to attest to the fact that this theory is true. Waiting till the 3rd pitch and later in an AB produces better exit velocities. I was hitting the ball hard everywhere. 

Highly recommend taking this strategy into your games

6/25/2018 4:50AM PDT

Question I haven't seen addressed yet, though I could've missed it.

What have you done to rule out the same kind of advantage by swinging at the second pitch as opposed to the third? Is there any reason this isn't simply a first pitch penalty?

6/25/2018 4:59AM PDT

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