Staturday: Pitch, Blease: A Multi-Volume Profile on Pitches and the Pitchers who Throw Them

Introduction

So in the ever-expanding mass of information available to we baseball fans, one of the newer tools available is PitchFX data – data on the speed and break of pitches thrown – data which allows smart guys and gals to identify the pitches a pitcher throws. Rather than relying on occasional observations and anecdotal information, we can look at real, hard data to identify which pitches a pitcher throws, how often he throws them and how fast he throws them.

I’d invite you to play around with them as well. The data I’ll be presenting comes to us courtesy of the good folks at fangraphs.com. Note: it is based on what kind of pitches the data that represents them looks like. It is not perfect.

This article will just present some basic, introductory data. More in-depth analysis will follow in subsequent articles.

 

Overview

 

Thrown

Average

Median

10%+

Ever

Fastball

59.3%

89.6 MPH

89.9 MPH

142

142

Slider

14.3%

82 MPH

82.1 MPH

84

125

Cutter

8.5%

86.2 MPH

86.9 MPH

18

57

Curveball

12.2%

74.7 MPH

75.1 MPH

69

122

Changeup

12.6%

81.3 MPH

81.4 MPH

82

140

Splitter

9.3%

82.9 MPH

82.8 MPH

8

20

Knuckle Ball

41.4%

68.7 MPH

68.7 MPH

1

2

The average pitcher throws a fastball just shy of 60% of the time. You’ll notice that the percentages add up to more than 100%. These are the percentages among pitchers who throw the pitch – ranging from the fastball, which every pitcher throws to the knuckler, which one guy throws 80+% of the time and a second guy (Woody Williams) has thrown it.

10%+ represents the number of pitchers (out of 142 who threw at least 100 innings in 2007) who threw the pitch at least 10% of the time. Ever represents the number of pitchers who threw the pitch at least once.

The splitter was thrown surprisingly uncommonly, with only 8 guys relying on it. 4 of those 8 (Trachsel, Haren, Contreras and Schilling, in descending order) threw the pitch at least 20% of the time, though.

Not surprisingly, virtually everyone has a changeup to offer. Only Fausto Carmona and Tim Wakefield (his change up his underhand, slow pitch softball style) did not throw a single changeup. Danny Haren and Daniel Cabrera were the other pitchers who threw change-ups less than 2% of the time.

Topics that I will attack in future articles include:

  • Profiles of each of the seven pitches
  • Analysis based on the number of pitches pitchers have to offer, ranging from Curt Schilling who throws every pitch except the knuckle ball to a half a dozen guys who pair their fastballs with only other pitch.
  • Analysis of pitcher types, based on the speed and volume of fastballs, ranging from Daniel Cabrera, the purest of the fireballers, to Steve Trachsel, junkballer extraordinaire.


For now, though, I’ll just give you a bit of data and discussion of what A’s pitchers offered in 2007.

Your 2007 Oakland A’s

 

Name FB% FBv SL% SLv CT% CTv
A Brown 57.30% 94.7 25.00% 85.3    
R Harden 62.40% 93.8 2.60% 83.9    
S Casilla 49.60% 93.1 40.70% 85.3    
A Embree 87.10% 92.4 9.70% 79.8    
D Haren 51.70% 91.7 22.20% 81.4 1.60% 88.4
J Blevins 72.40% 91.2        
C Lewis 59.20% 90.7 12.60% 82.7    
H Street 48.20% 90.4 32.50% 84.9    
C Gaudin 70.00% 90.3 21.60% 80.5    
D Meyer 62.20% 90 18.10% 83.7    
J Blanton 54.20% 89.3 16.30% 80.9    
K Calero 36.10% 89 56.80% 79.7    
C Robertson 45.10% 88.5 49.00% 80.7 3.90% 86
S Komine 59.60% 88.5 11.90% 80.7    
D Braden 60.20% 86.9 4.90% 77.7    
J Duchscherer 21.50% 85.5 1.20% 82 44.50% 84
R Flores 52.90% 85 19.90% 78.7    
L DiNardo 69.90% 83.8 1.70% 79.7 2.40% 83.7
J Marshall 82.00% 82.1 8.00% 73.8    

 

Devo,  d ds,s
Name CB% CBv CH% CHv Sep SF% SFv
A Brown 10.30% 80.9 7.50% 85.1 9.6    
R Harden     16.00% 85.8 8 19.10% 85.4
S Casilla     9.70% 85.9 7.2    
A Embree     3.20% 83.6 8.8    
D Haren     1.60% 82.3 9.4 22.90% 84.3
J Blevins 25.70% 73.1 1.90% 84 7.2    
C Lewis 22.50% 79 5.70% 83.7 7    
H Street     19.30% 80.9 9.5    
C Gaudin 0.30% 75.6 8.10% 85 5.3    
D Meyer     19.70% 78.3 11.7    
J Blanton 14.40% 72.9 15.10% 82.1 7.2    
K Calero     7.10% 82.3 6.7    
C Robertson 2.00%      
   
S Komine 14.70% 74.2 13.80% 80.9 7.6    
D Braden 6.80% 74.1 28.20% 74.3 12.6    
J Duchscherer 30.10% 71.1 2.70% 81.4 4.1    
R Flores     27.20% 76.8 8.2    
L DiNardo 11.00% 71.6 15.00% 76.1 7.7    
J Marshall     10.10% 72.5 9.6    

Andrew Brown and Rich Harden brought the most heat. Embree was number four – but threw that decent fastball a remarkable 87% of the time, most in the league among pitchers who threw at least 20 innings. Most of the rest were a really, really slow slider. Not surprisingly, most of the team, led by Joe Blanton, was more or less average. Lenny DiNardo’s fastball was the 5th slowest among pitchers who threw at least 130 innings – a fastball he threw a remarkable 70% of the time.

The staff featured a stunning number of guys who throw sliders, with both Kiko Calero and Conner Robertson relying on the slider more often than the fastball with Casilla not far behind. Among pitchers with at least 100 IP, only Jorge Sosa matched that feat with John Smoltz (45-34) the only pitcher not far behind.

Conversely, fewer pitchers threw the curveball than normal.
Andrew Brown, Huston Street and Dan Haren had the best separation on their changeups – though only Street threw it with any frequency. Duchscherer and Gaudin had the least. Duke did not throw the pitch much, though.

Only two pitchers, Haren and Harden, threw the splitter – but the two of them threw it far more often than most.

Duke basically threw the cutter instead of the fastball, while no one else through it with any frequency.

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