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.
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.