This week at BP Boston I wrote about the Red Sox’s offense and its slow pace of play. As it turns out, the Red Sox’s batters have been the slowest in the game, according to FanGraphs Pace measure. They take, on average, 25 seconds between pitches, which is almost 1.5 more seconds than the league average. I had not really noticed this issue, but apparently they are prone to dawdling around, getting their cleats cleaned and batting gloves ready. The interesting thing is that while slow pace of play is a bugaboo for fans, research shows that slowing down is related with better on-field performance. Hitters, in their per-pitch outcomes, and pitchers, in their fastball velocity, gain an advantage from taking their time to gear-up for the next pitch. The Red Sox are no exception to this, as they have, as noted, been slow, but also one of the better offensive teams in the game. Taking time between pitches only accounts for some of their strong performance, but it appears to be contributing. Even though fans do not love the slow, long games, because a slower pace seems to help players perform better it is going to continue – unless of course the league does something about it by adjusting the rules (e.g., pitch clocks).
Read my full article on the link between pace and offense here: Red Sox Hitters Appreciate Slow James.