Pace is a measure of the seconds between pitches for both hitters and pitchers based on PITCHf/x timestamps. There is very little connection between pace and performance, but many people find the speed of the game interesting and care about which players conduct their business at a brisk or glacial pace.
Pace is very straightforward. To calculate the pace for a PA, you take the difference between the first pitch of a PA and the last pitch and then divide by the number of pitches minus one. This essentially captures the average time between the pitches in the plate appearance and the average of these paces constitutes a player’s season Pace.
Obviously, there are some hiccups in this process. First, you’re obviously not capturing the variation based on all sorts of factors. Second, while we excluded pickoffs, mounds visits, and such, PITCHf/x doesn’t record every type of delay that you might want to remove. If the pitcher steps off to go over the signs again, that’s something you want to know about him, but there’s a good argument to be made than the batter’s Pace number shouldn’t be affected. Finally, there’s no guarantee every entry in the PITCHf/x database is accurate to the second.
We recommend you keep in mind that these are pretty solid estimates, but they are also not a perfect reflection of Pace.
Pace is more of a fun stat than anything else. Pace doesn’t really affect performance, so it’s more of a watchability type of statistic. It’s interesting to see the variation and if the players you think are quick really are.
How To Use Pace:
Again, Pace is simply a measure of the average time between pitches. There’s no correct way to use the stat because it doesn’t really tell you anything of value. Collectively, you can notice some patterns about the league, but so far there hasn’t been anything that points to Pace having anything beyond Fun Fact value.
The average Pace had been increasing until the new rules in 2015, but in general, the difference is only a second or two. At the individual level, the variation is a little more clear. These are some very basic guides:
Things To Remember:
● Pace is based on PITCHf/x timestamps.
● Pace tosses pickoffs and such, but doesn’t correct for things than don’t show up in the PITCHf/x database.
● Pace doesn’t typically correlate with any type of performance measure.
Links To Further Reading:
Neil Weinberg is the Site Educator at FanGraphs and can be found writing enthusiastically about the Detroit Tigers at New English D. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @NeilWeinberg44.