Get To Know: F-Strike%

F-Strike% (first pitch strike percentage): The percentage of plate appearances (for batters) or batters faced (for pitchers) that the first pitch was a strike. This includes anytime that the count after the first pitch was 0-1, or anytime the ball was put into play on the first pitch of a plate appearance.

Why you should care: Getting the first strike on a batter significantly decreases the batter’s chance of success and likewise increases a pitcher’s chance of success.

Current Baselines
: The major league average F-Strike% for all players from 2005-2008 is 59%. There is very little variation in the major league average from year to year.

Batters: A lower F-Strike% is preferable for batters.
Pitchers: A higher F-Strike% is preferable for pitchers.

Links and Resources:
Hardball Times: The Importance Of Strike One (Part One)
Hardball Times: The Importance Of Strike One (Part Two)

We hoped you liked reading Get To Know: F-Strike% by David Appelman!

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D.A. says “Batters: A lower F-Strike% is preferable for batters.”

I get where you’re going with this, but if F-Strike includes balls put in play (btw, do you count HR in this?) doesn’t it muddy the water just a bit? If a guy is thrown a strike on the first pitch, but rips the heck out of it, that shouldn’t be looked at as a demerit against the batter.

I think F-Strike% has much value, but it just feels like there needs to be more info to really utilize it.

Not sure I’m articulating what I’m thinking though.