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Numbers Don't Lie. But, Do They Tell The Truth?

You’ve often heard the phrase, “Numbers don’t lie”. And while that may be true, have they really told the truth? In today’s games of baseball and softball, and every other sport for that matter, we’ve began a trend of metrics. If it can be measured, you can bet that someone on the team is charting it! Batting averages, OBP, slugging %, hits, runs.. And if you want to get real technical, we measure bat speed, ball exit speed, and even a hitter’s launch angle; who saw that coming? But out of all those numbers, what have we truly learned? And the most important question of all, if we move those numbers in a positive direction, will they correlate to more wins? The answer may surprise you…

It’s said that great pitching will beat great hitting any day of the week. But why? Why can’t a team scoring 7+ runs a game score more than 1 or 2 against a great pitcher? Or a team that’s batting over .400 instantly struggles to hit .120 and produce runs? If the metrics tell us that we’re doing that good, why do they hit a wall against great pitching? The lineup never changed, the ball or bats didn’t change, and the strike zone never changed its shape. But the one element that has been present since day one that no one charted, thought of, or has cared about, was the one thing that mattered the most and led to their defeat; strike recognition.

Over 93% of the time the team that has the better percentage of taking balls and swinging at strikes wins the game. Not the team who had the most hits or better BA at the end of the game, but who was the most efficient at strike recognition. Over the last 4 years, the team that has done that the best vs their opponent has the D1 NCAA national championship in softball. If you and your opponent both see 100 pitches, (50 balls/50 strikes), the team who displays the better ball and strike efficiency wins 93% of the time. On average, teams that DO NOT train on V-Flex are on average 55% ball efficient! That means that out of 50 balls, they will swing at 28 balls while only taking 22. Now that number may not seem that bad to some teams. But when paired against teams that DO train on V-Flex, who on average are at a minimum of 76% ball efficiency, it’s huge! That equates to V-Flex trained teams taking 38 out of 50 balls; only swinging at 12. On average, non-trained V-Flex teams swing at double to triple the amount of balls that a V-Flex trained team will swing at over the course of a game.

But here’s the most intriguing statistic! It’s not about the team that swings at the most strikes that has the edge but the team whose swings are at strikes a higher percentage of the time. Let me explain. If you’re a team that swings a lot during the course of the game, chances are that you’re swinging at a fair share of balls coupled with a few strikes. In fact, it’s been a steady observation that teams that are aggressive early in the count as they say, are trying to make contact with the ball before they get in counts that display their strike recognition efficiencies. Teams such as Florida State, Michigan, and Alabama all have high BA’s and run production and often hit early in the count. Yet their ball efficiencies are often below 60% and their strike swinging efficiency stays around 65%. Their aggressiveness shows in their percentage of hard hit balls. Non V-Flex trained teams with exceptional talent hit “balls” hard around 7% of the time while teams with average talent hit balls hard 3% of the time. These numbers haven’t moved in the last 3 years that we have been aggressively tracking strike recognition performance of major colleges on and off V-Flex. Teams that swing the bat at strikes more efficiently, not at more strikes, is the team poised to win over 93% of the time.

So what does that mean for all the other metrics we measure? The same thing they’ve always meant; nothing! Throw BA’s out the door and forget about your launch angle. If you want to see your team win more games, or at least have a chance to win more games, the two numbers that carry the most weight are tied to the effects of better strike recognition is #1 ball efficiency and #2 strike swinging efficiency. If you improve those numbers, then you’ve got numbers you can rely on. These two numbers are a true reflection of how good your team really is, and those numbers don’t lie!

Numbers Don't Lie. But, Do They Tell The Truth?

You’ve often heard the phrase, “Numbers don’t lie”. And while that may be true, have they really told the truth? In today’s games of baseball and softball, and every other sport for that matter, we’ve began a trend of metrics. If it can be measured, you can bet that someone on the team is charting it! Batting averages, OBP, slugging %, hits, runs.. And if you want to get real technical, we measure bat speed, ball exit speed, and even a hitter’s launch angle; who saw that coming? But out of all those numbers, what have we truly learned? And the most important question of all, if we move those numbers in a positive direction, will they correlate to more wins? The answer may surprise you…

It’s said that great pitching will beat great hitting any day of the week. But why? Why can’t a team scoring 7+ runs a game score more than 1 or 2 against a great pitcher? Or a team that’s batting over .400 instantly struggles to hit .120 and produce runs? If the metrics tell us that we’re doing that good, why do they hit a wall against great pitching? The lineup never changed, the ball or bats didn’t change, and the strike zone never changed its shape. But the one element that has been present since day one that no one charted, thought of, or has cared about, was the one thing that mattered the most and led to their defeat; strike recognition.

Over 93% of the time the team that has the better percentage of taking balls and swinging at strikes wins the game. Not the team who had the most hits or better BA at the end of the game, but who was the most efficient at strike recognition. Over the last 4 years, the team that has done that the best vs their opponent has the D1 NCAA national championship in softball. If you and your opponent both see 100 pitches, (50 balls/50 strikes), the team who displays the better ball and strike efficiency wins 93% of the time. On average, teams that DO NOT train on V-Flex are on average 55% ball efficient! That means that out of 50 balls, they will swing at 28 balls while only taking 22. Now that number may not seem that bad to some teams. But when paired against teams that DO train on V-Flex, who on average are at a minimum of 76% ball efficiency, it’s huge! That equates to V-Flex trained teams taking 38 out of 50 balls; only swinging at 12. On average, non-trained V-Flex teams swing at double to triple the amount of balls that a V-Flex trained team will swing at over the course of a game.

But here’s the most intriguing statistic! It’s not about the team that swings at the most strikes that has the edge but the team whose swings are at strikes a higher percentage of the time. Let me explain. If you’re a team that swings a lot during the course of the game, chances are that you’re swinging at a fair share of balls coupled with a few strikes. In fact, it’s been a steady observation that teams that are aggressive early in the count as they say, are trying to make contact with the ball before they get in counts that display their strike recognition efficiencies. Teams such as Florida State, Michigan, and Alabama all have high BA’s and run production and often hit early in the count. Yet their ball efficiencies are often below 60% and their strike swinging efficiency stays around 65%. Their aggressiveness shows in their percentage of hard hit balls. Non V-Flex trained teams with exceptional talent hit “balls” hard around 7% of the time while teams with average talent hit balls hard 3% of the time. These numbers haven’t moved in the last 3 years that we have been aggressively tracking strike recognition performance of major colleges on and off V-Flex. Teams that swing the bat at strikes more efficiently, not at more strikes, is the team poised to win over 93% of the time.

So what does that mean for all the other metrics we measure? The same thing they’ve always meant; nothing! Throw BA’s out the door and forget about your launch angle. If you want to see your team win more games, or at least have a chance to win more games, the two numbers that carry the most weight are tied to the effects of better strike recognition is #1 ball efficiency and #2 strike swinging efficiency. If you improve those numbers, then you’ve got numbers you can rely on. These two numbers are a true reflection of how good your team really is, and those numbers don’t lie!