Grow Your Tool Box: Swinging Strike Rate

Minor league broadcasters do not have access to the same breadth of data available at the Major League level.

Tabulating advanced metrics such as launch angle, exit velocity, and spin rate can only be done through the use of tracking technology, and not with the naked eye.

In many cases, however, minor league broadcasters can develop and maintain their own advanced database, or “poor man’s Statcast.”

It requires some extra hustle, but the raw inputs are available and can be tracked by hand following each game.

Swinging strike rate (also referred to as swinging strike percentage or SwStr%) represents a hitter’s percentage of swings and misses per total pitches seen (or the swings and misses generated by a pitcher per total pitches thrown).

Per FanGraphs, the average Major League swinging strike was 10.7% in 2018.  Max Scherzer led all qualified pitchers at 16.2%.

Not surprisingly, swinging strike rate correlates extremely well with strikeouts.  It can also be used to forecast a potential rebound/regression in the event a player’s swinging strike rate and strikeouts are misaligned.

Growcasting has created a Swing Strike Rate calculator, which can be downloaded here: 2019 Swinging Strike Rate Calculator.

The excel sheet was built for the American Association’s 100-game schedule, but you can adjust as necessary for whatever league you are broadcasting in.  The sheet is otherwise ready for immediate use, and also tracks pitches per plate appearance/batters faced.

However, this resource can only be utilized if you track pitches, which we detailed in this post.

Grow Your Tool Box: League Champions Resource

A couple of years ago, I consolidated past minor league champions and College World Series participants into a single excel file.

The lists stretch back to 1997, so they should cover the full career range of anyone playing minor league baseball today.

You are probably familiar with the recent champions of the league you are currently working in.  However, the PDFs below can help you identify players (and even managers and coaches) new to your league that have won championships in the past.

Similarly, we know schools like LSU, Stanford, and Texas make perennial trips to Omaha, but it’s unlikely we have all of their College World Series appearances committed to memory.

The lists are an easy way to improve your quality of information the next time a former Tiger, Cardinal, or Longhorn steps to the plate.  You can store them with your media guide and scorebook for quick access.

College World Series Participants (1997-Present)

Minor League Baseball Champions (1997-Present)

Independent League Champions (1997-Present)

Getting the Most Out of Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube

Today’s broadcasters are incredibly fortunate.

We have a wide array of resources at our disposal that can help us effectively prepare, most of which would have been unheard of as recently as 20 years ago.

If you are currently broadcasting in professional baseball, I encourage you to explore our recommended list.  Each resource can significantly improve the quality of information you can deliver to the listener.

Our preparation economy is limited, though, especially once the season is underway.

If you want to get the maximum return on the time you invest preparing for a broadcast, your two best options are Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube.

You are more than likely already familiar with Baseball-Reference and The Baseball Cube.  Our goal is to help you get the most out of each website and share some of the hacks I have learned over the last decade.

For simplicity, we will refer to Baseball-Reference as “BRef” and The Baseball Cube as “TBC” for the remainder of the post.

Both BRef and TBC provide biographical and statistical information for anyone who has ever played professional baseball.  I find BRef to be more user-friendly (fewer ads and crashes), but TBC has several unique features that you definitely want to take advantage of.

Continue reading