Do Long Plate Appearances Affect The Next Batter?

Does a lengthy plate appearance have any effect on the subsequent batter? The question was asked by Dave Moran. and passed along to me by RJ Anderson., who’s been doing a public service with his recent Twitterverse giveback posts at FanGraphs. recently. So that’s an interesting idea. My intuition was that there was no effect, or – if anything – that the next batter would hit slightly better. I looked into it over at Beyond The Box Score. An excerpt’s below; click through for the full version.

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“To check it out, I looked at all of the plate appearances in my Pitch/FX database – which encompasses 2007 through 2009 – and ordered each by how many pitches the previous batter saw, while excluding them if the pitcher wasn’t the same (since I assume that’s where the effect would be). Defining a long plate appearance as having 10 or more pitches, I came up with 1,758 such cases. So how did those batters do?

Not well. Overall, they hit just .250/.311/.374. Their walk rate was down to 7.9%, and they struck out 20.5% of the time. That’s quite the head-scratcher for me. It’s a way bigger difference than I expected.”