Tippett is closer than McCracken, IMO
Unfortunately, I just spent 30 minutes typing up something before my Explorer (Internet, not Ford) crashed, so I will try to make this relatively quick. I don't have the time today to go through all the stats or find all the links, but I promise to do so soon and leave this post here as more of a placeholder and for commentary.
Sometimes a good theory gets buried because no one listens, and sometimes a flawed theory takes on a snowball effect and has everyone believing it because they want something new. I believe Voros McCraken's theory that pitchers have essentially no effect on what happens to a ball put in play, while inventive and forcing us to think and to realize that there is more randomness is the game than we would otherwise like to believe, falls more into that latter category.
[I don't know what is going on but blogger just erased a bunch of what I wrote when it posted, so I'll try to duplicate it AGAIN] I'm not one to believe something just because "it sounds right" in the face of evidence. So, if Voros's theory hold water with the evidence, then I am all for it no matter how "counter-intuitive." I just don't believe it does, at least in any extreme form. Tom Tippett's rebuttal appears to be much more sound, in my mind, and even McCracken, I believe, has slowly shied away from his theory, at least at the extremes and as a be-all and end-all.
Sure, I could be anecdotal and say that I don't understand how a well-placed liner into outfield can be equivalent to a slow roller to the pitcher. But there is a staring-in-your-face stat that, to me, just does not line up with McCracken's theory. And that is that batters have higher batting averages in batters' counts. It is an axiom and it is dramatic, and I do not believe that the difference in the numbers is entirely made up of strikeouts--something that is easy to check and I will. A batter does far better in a 3-0 or 3-1 count (when he is able to zone in on a particular pitch) than he does in an 0-2 count (when he is just trying to "get his bat on the ball").
Next, combine that with the statement that better pitchers get the batters into more pitchers' counts than batters' counts--remember Maddux's crazy year where he went 3-0 on something like 4 batters all year (that number is wrong, I'm sure, but it isn't far off, and I will find a link to it at some point soon)?
Well, I fail to see how that combination of truisms can peacefully coincide with McCraken's ideas. Better pitchers get into more pitchers' counts and therefore batters will have lower batting averages on balls put in play against them over a season. Can anyone point to evidence against that?
Like I said, I wish I had the time to really delve into the stats and put links to everything this morning, but my computer already crashed once and I have actual work to do. But I certainly would be interested in a discussion on this.