This is a preview of the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, an e-mail newsletter about all things baseball, featuring analysis and opinion about the game on and off the field from the perspective of the informed outsider. Joe Sheehan is a founding member of Baseball Prospectus and a contributor to Sports Illustrated and Baseball America. He has been writing about baseball for nearly 25 years.
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"For a larger sample, let’s look at 3-1. Eighty percent of 3-1 pitches are fastballs, and a bit less than half are two-seamers. Batters hit .363 with a .713 SLG. The more confidence you have in what’s coming, the more confident you can be in your swing. Remember, too, that many pitchers throw just one variety of fastball, so at the individual level, just knowing “fastball or not” is a powerful bit of information. Think of all the two-pitch relievers in the modern game. Now eliminate the coin flip when facing them."