Vertical Spray Chart for Pitchers

As a pitcher counterpart for the batter chart I posted last week, here is a vertical spray chart for every Oakland pitcher in 2010 that had at least 30 IP. The angle of each line indicates the ratio of groundballs to flyballs that each pitcher was able to induce from the batters he faced, where 100% groundballs would be a horizontal line and 100% flyballs would be fully vertical.

This time around, the magnitude of each line corresponds to batter contact percentage. Instead of simply using the "Contact%" stat from Fangraphs (which gives the amount of swings that result in contact), I multiplied "Contact%" by "Swing%" to give the total amount of pitches that resulted in batter contact, whether the batter swung or not. And from some great feedback from last week, I added three curves at different contact radii, to give a better sense of scale.

Click for a big version.

Pitcherbatvectors400

A couple observations:

  • Wow, Craig Breslow is peerless among his teammates in his inability to get batters to hit balls on the ground. My theory? His deceptively rising fastball causes batters to swing and miss under the ball, or at worst, hit the bottom half, popping it high. Whatever it is, it seems to be working for him.
  • Tyson Ross comes out of this graph looking very, very sharp. There's a talented group of pitchers here that are clustered near the bottom of the chart with heavy groundball tendencies, and Ross is among them. And out of them all, batters are far and away making the least contact against Ross. Intriguing, to say the least.
  • Michael Wuertz gets the least contact out of anyone else on the team, but this was an off-year for him, due to tendinitis on his throwing shoulder that plagued him from the beginning. In 2009, he struck out 2.5 more batters per nine innings than in 2010, coupled with 2 less walks per nine. And the contact rate that batters were making against Wuertz in 2009? A near-unbelievable 25.6%. The only other currently active pitcher that even sits in the same general area is Carlos Marmol, and Marmol is about as unparalleled as they come.
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