Aug 27

Bartolo Colon: About Last Night (August 26)

Bartolo Colon (11-11) had so much movement on his fastball last night that I swear I thought the fastball he started Cody Asche off with in the second got caught in the wind. Colon flicked it up there, and the ball danced and floated and traveled in its good time towards the right-handed batter’s box. It was a strange thing to see. I wonder if Asche was wondering just what the heck kind of pitch could move like that.

Asche promptly flied out to left on a fastball down and in. Maybe he was happy to swing at a pitch that wasn’t possessed.

The big talk coming into this game was whether Colon was going to be able to pitch. His forearm was still battered and bruised from being hit in his last start, and if he wasn’t able to pitch what would the Mets do. Also, there was the concern about what would happen if Colon didn’t pitch well, and the Mets needed to go to the bullpen. They probably wouldn’t have Sean Gilmartin or Hansel Robles to pitch on Wednesday, and Logan Verrett shouldn’t pitch, but there was a possibility he’d appear.

Maybe you missed it, but Logan Verrett pitched eight innings on Sunday and was expected to relieve Colon if he couldn’t make it. I don’t know how that makes sense or is good for Verrett’s long term ability to use his right arm when he’s old, gray, and nodding by the fire but this is what the SNY crew discussed over the last few days. After the team used the bullpen heavily the last two nights a rough outing by Colon would likely lead to a declaration of independence by the bullpen for unreasonable taxation.

Oh, American history you serve me well in Philadelphia!

Colon sort of eased all of those concerns by pitching arguably his finest outing of the season. If we go by Game Score this one doesn’t match Colon’s start against the Cubs on July 1st, but the Mets lost that game 2-0. We’ll go by most pleasing results and the aesthetics of butterfly pitches. I choose last night.

For strategy, it was your typical Colon start. He abandoned the slider heavy approach that he adopted in Colorado simply because last night every pitch elevated into the air didn’t turn into rocket ships and launch into orbit. In that case, there were lots of fastballs, constant change of locations with a heavy emphasis on keeping the ball down, and mixing in an occasional slider and offspeed to keep the batters honest. Some nights Colon has trouble keeping the ball down. Last night the pitches went mostly where Colon wanted them. He struck out eight, and how he did so was interesting.

He got Domonic Brown twice with fastballs up, Darnell Sweeney and Odubel Herrera with two-seamers that ran back over the inside corner, Herrera with a changeup, and Freddy Galvis with a hard breaking slider in the dirt.

It was like a mixed Scrabble bag of K’s.

The only really hard hit ball off Colon I recall was Andres Blanco’s double in the fourth. As an aside, it’s awesome that they show the scores for the minor league games at Citizens Bank Park. On Blanco’s double I notice they have the score for the Hagerstown Suns and Lakewood BlueClaws game. Colon promptly retaliated by floating a slider into Asche’s knee six pitches later.

No, I don’t think that was retaliation for Larry Bowa complaining about quick pitches and bat flips.

Colon allowed five hits last night, and if you think that three of those came in the first (oh no, I worried. Not Coors Field all over again.) and another in the second, Colon mostly cruised through his seven innings of work. He worked with runners on for the most part, but it never seemed like the Phillies ever threatened to score except for perhaps the first and the fourth after Blanco’s one out double.

On the night, Colon finished with seven innings pitches, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out eight. His K/9 rate of 6.75 is the highest it’s been since 2011 with the Yankees, and his BB/9 rate of 1.18 is a career low. I won’t discuss the extraordinarily high BABIP or HR/9 rate. Those numbers don’t exist.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    15 14.0
##    Fourseam    32 29.9
##    Two-seam    46  43.
##      Slider    14 13.1

Pitch Type by Inning

##          1 2 3  4 5 6 7
## Changeup 2 0 3  1 6 1 2
## Fourseam 8 2 4 10 2 3 3
## Two-seam 9 6 6  8 7 4 6
## Slider   0 1 3  4 1 4 1

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                             2       11       13      4
## Ball In Dirt                     0        0        1      0
## Called Strike                    3        5       12      3
## Foul                             4       10       10      2
## Foul Tip                         0        1        0      0
## Hit By Pitch                     0        0        0      1
## In play, no out                  0        1        3      1
## In play, out(s)                  3        2        5      2
## Swinging Strike                  3        2        2      0
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0        0        0      1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Double                  0        0        1      0
## Flyout                  1        1        2      1
## Forceout                1        0        0      0
## Grounded Into DP        0        0        1      0
## Groundout               1        1        1      1
## Hit By Pitch            0        0        0      1
## Lineout                 0        0        1      0
## Single                  0        1        2      1
## Strikeout               1        2        4      1
## Walk                    0        2        0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   52.34         47.66     31.47     68.79

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.

Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       7           8     0.750     0.571
##    Fourseam      18          14     0.214     0.667
##    Two-seam      25          21     0.190     0.640
##      Slider       6           8     0.250     0.667

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Changeup Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Called Strike                    0        0        3      0
## Foul Tip                         0        1        0      0
## Swinging Strike                  1        1        1      0
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0        0        0      1

Standard Batting Lines Against Bartolo Colon

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    Andres  Blanco  3  2 1  1  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 1.000      13
##     Cameron  Rupp  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      12
##       Cody  Asche  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   1  0 0.000 0.333 0.000       9
##        Darin  Ruf  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       3
##  Darnell  Sweeney  4  3 1  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.333 0.500 0.333      14
##    Odubel Herrera  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      15
##    Domonic  Brown  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##    Freddy  Galvis  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      14
##   Jerad  Eickhoff  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##      Ryan  Howard  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       9

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max  Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 79.4 80.9 83.6    -9.693     5.971       -9.620         4.610
##    Fourseam 86.2 91.2 93.7    -6.225     10.48       -6.268         9.332
##    Two-seam 84.6 87.5 91.0    -11.26     5.963       -10.98         4.742
##      Slider 77.2 81.8 85.4 -0.007857     2.314       0.5213        0.9114

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the corner of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs up and down.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois and account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.

Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-27_Bartolo Colon_Batters

Aug 27

Gio Gonzalez: About Last Night (August 26)

Eventually it was going to happen. Eventually Gio Gonzalez (9-7) was going to allow a leadoff hit and the Padres were going to score. In four straight innings a Padres batter singled to start the top half of an inning, and in the first two innings Gonzalez was able to work around trouble. In the third the Padres finally broke through. It had to happen, right? Not even with a big ole beautiful hook like Gonzalez tosses up there will he be able to work through trouble all the time. Not even against the Padres.

Are the Nationals now facing something of a real problem with Gonzalez? At first glance it looks like just another Gonzalez slump. He’ll work through it, right? Over his last three games Gonzalez has pitched 12 1/3 innings and allowed 14 earned runs on 20 hits and six walks while striking out 12. The strikeouts are nice. Everyone strikes out in today’s game, so I’m not even sure if those mean anything anymore, but they’re fun. We’ll call that a positive, and think about his other starts. Going back even further, he’s pitched past the fifth inning once in his last seven starts. That’s a problem. Doug Fister has essentially become the second starter on the days Gonzalez is scheduled to start.

In the past we’ve always dismissed Gonzalez’s starts with a wave of our collective hands and called him a mercurial lefty. Oh, he’s effectively wild. He’s still wild. He can be effective from time-to-time. If you watch him it’s like he doesn’t have a real feel for any of his pitches. I’m no pitching coach, and I don’t have a personal conversation with major league pitchers, but I imagine by the time pitchers reach the big leagues they have a pretty good idea where their pitches are going. Years of repetition and constant queues from coaches are so ingrained that thinking on the mound probably amounts to agreeing what pitch to throw and what location and then just doing it.

I’m not sure Gonzalez isn’t overthinking this thing by now.

He’ll throw a curveball that can make a batter look completely helpless in one instance. Ask my new WV buddy Jedd Gyorko about that. He’ll tie a guy up inside with a 93-mph fastball like he did with Justin Upton in the first. He’ll paint the black low and outside. If he could do all of these things consistently without runners getting on that would be great. However, Gonzalez always seems to leave that one pitch over the plate where a batter can do something with it. Maybe not a lot. It doesn’t always have to be. Heck, of the seven hits he allowed yesterday, five of those were singles, and of the two extra base hits, if Yunel Escobar doesn’t bobble Melvin Upton’s grounder in the third or subsequently make a bad throw to first we’re probably calling this a scattering of hits.

To me it always seems like Gonzalez does his best work when runners are on base. Is that simply because runners are always on base? His WHIP of 1.48 is the highest of his career since his first full season in the big leagues. Think about that. He’s allowing one normal runner and an Eddie Gaedel to reach base every inning. Of qualified starters, that’s the third worst rate in the major leagues. Only Jeremy Guthrie and Matt Garza have been worse. Remember Garza? The Nationals lit him up last Sunday because eventually you’re going to. There are only so many unoccupied bases that can be filled before a run accidentally happens. Gonzalez basically gives first and second to the other team each inning and dares them to score some runs. Maybe not in the first. Or the second.

Runners by inning yesterday: two on in the first after a single and walk; Derek Norris singles but is caught stealing second; a leadoff single and an error (not Gonzalez’s fault there), then a double and a Justin Upton home run; a leadoff single and a Clint Barmes walk; and a Gyorko single after which Williams gives him the hook.

That was sufficiently depressing.

The Nationals lost 6-5, and though they made a spirited comeback it wasn’t enough to undo the damage from the carousel of runners. On the night, Gonzalez pitched 4 2/3 innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out six. Why is first pitch strikes an overrated stat? Gonzalez started 17 of the 23 Padres he faced with a strike. Context is everything I suppose.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    12  14
##   Curveball    12  14
##    Fourseam    36 41.9
##    Two-seam    26 30.2

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1 2 3 4 5
## Changeup   3 1 4 1 3
## Curveball  4 2 1 2 3
## Fourseam   9 5 9 7 6
## Two-seam  10 2 6 6 2

Pitches by Outcome:

##                     Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Ball                       3         6        8       11
## Ball In Dirt               1         1        0        0
## Called Strike              1         2        5        5
## Foul                       1         3        6        3
## Foul (Runner Going)        0         0        2        0
## Foul Tip                   0         0        0        1
## In play, no out            2         0        3        1
## In play, out(s)            0         0        3        3
## In play, run(s)            0         0        2        1
## Swinging Strike            4         0        7        1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##             Changeup Fourseam Two-seam
## Double             0        0        1
## Field Error        0        1        0
## Flyout             0        0        1
## Home Run           0        1        0
## Lineout            0        2        0
## Pop Out            0        1        1
## Sac Bunt           0        0        1
## Sac Fly            0        1        0
## Single             2        2        1
## Strikeout          1        5        0
## Walk               1        1        0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   48.84         51.16     25.41     53.24

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.

Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       5           7     0.429     0.800
##   Curveball       5           7     0.143     0.400
##    Fourseam      23          13     0.385     0.696
##    Two-seam       9          17     0.235     0.444

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Changeup Fourseam
## Called Strike          0        2
## Swinging Strike        1        3

Standard Batting Lines Against Gio Gonzalez

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##      Austin  Hedges  2  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       5
##         B.J. Upton  3  2 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      12
##       Clint  Barmes  2  1 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.000 0.500 0.000      11
##       Derek  Norris  2  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       6
##        Jedd  Gyorko  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      14
##       Justin  Upton  3  3 1  0  0  1 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 1.333      13
##          Matt  Kemp  3  3 1  1  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.667      12
##         Tyson  Ross  2  1 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  1 1.000 1.000 1.000       6
##  Yangervis  Solarte  3  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  1 0.500 0.333 0.500       7

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 82.0 84.2 85.3    8.953     3.355        8.347         1.881
##   Curveball 77.7 79.7 82.1   -5.670    -8.915       -6.588        -10.63
##    Fourseam 90.7 92.7 94.5    6.746     7.693        6.248         6.630
##    Two-seam 88.8 91.9 93.6    9.922     5.303        9.595         4.047

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the corner of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs up and down.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois and account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.

Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-27_Gio Gonzalez_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-27_Gio Gonzalez_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-27_Gio Gonzalez_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-27_Gio Gonzalez_Batters

Aug 27

MLB Daily Heat Check Thursday, August 27

heatIndex

Here you’ll find information regarding the pitchers that light up the radar gun each and every night. I’ve listed for both starters and relievers the top average pitch velocity with a heading for type. It doesn’t equate to quality of an outing or take into consideration the end result of the pitch (sometimes really, really good fastballs go a long way), but it’s fun.

Starters Pitches by Average MPH:

Name Pitch Avg Count
Chris Archer Fourseam 94.62 56
David Price Two-seam 94.49 25
Chris Sale Two-seam 94.48 76
David Price Fourseam 94.26 27
Justin Verlander Fourseam 93.91 73
Shelby Miller Fourseam 93.71 24
Shelby Miller Two-seam 93.55 42
Tyson Ross Two-seam 93.43 43
Tyson Ross Fourseam 93.41 19
Chris Bassitt Sinker 93.23 43

Fastest Starters Pitches Thrown Last Night (MPH):

Pitcher Velocity (MPH) Pitch Type
Chris Sale 98.00 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.90 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.80 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.60 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.50 Two-seam
Justin Verlander 97.40 Fourseam
Chris Sale 97.40 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.40 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.40 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.40 Two-seam
Justin Verlander 97.20 Fourseam
Chris Sale 97.20 Two-seam
Chris Sale 97.20 Two-seam
Justin Verlander 97.10 Fourseam
Chris Sale 97.10 Two-seam
David Price 97.00 Two-seam
Christopher Archer 96.80 Fourseam
Chris Sale 96.80 Two-seam
Justin Verlander 96.70 Fourseam
David Price 96.70 Fourseam
David Price 96.70 Fourseam
Shelby Miller 96.60 Two-seam
Christopher Archer 96.60 Fourseam
Christopher Archer 96.60 Fourseam
David Price 96.60 Two-seam

Relievers Pitches by Average MPH:

Name Pitch Avg Count
Craig Kimbrel Fourseam 98.31 8
Erik Cordier Fourseam 97.87 31
Jumbo Diaz Fourseam 97.86 12
Zachary Britton Two-seam 97.81 17
Jumbo Diaz Two-seam 97.60 2
Nate Jones Two-seam 97.59 11
John Axford Fourseam 97.35 24
Trevor Rosenthal Fourseam 97.12 12
Hunter Strickland Fourseam 97.00 3
Jairo Diaz Fourseam 96.06 7

Fastest Relievers Pitches Thrown Last Night (MPH):

Pitcher Velocity (MPH) Pitch Type
Nate Jones 99.60 Two-seam
Jumbo Diaz 99.30 Fourseam
Craig Kimbrel 99.10 Fourseam
Zachary Britton 99.00 Two-seam
Craig Kimbrel 98.80 Fourseam
Jumbo Diaz 98.80 Fourseam
Zachary Britton 98.80 Two-seam
Craig Kimbrel 98.70 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.60 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.60 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.50 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.50 Fourseam
John Axford 98.40 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.40 Fourseam
Craig Kimbrel 98.30 Fourseam
John Axford 98.30 Fourseam
Jumbo Diaz 98.30 Fourseam
Jumbo Diaz 98.30 Two-seam
Jumbo Diaz 98.30 Fourseam
Jumbo Diaz 98.30 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.30 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.30 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.30 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.30 Fourseam
Erik Cordier 98.30 Fourseam

Aug 26

Stephen Strasburg: About Last Night (August 25)

Last night for the Nationals was like watching a game where we were reminded of how this season was supposed to go for the team. Stephen Strasburg (8-6) was on the hill and tossing 97-mph bullets. The actual, projected lineup was on the field. Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Wilson Ramos all hit. Zimmerman and Ramos hit with power. Ian Desmond even recorded two hits and didn’t make any errors.

It was glorious!

What’s the worse you can say about Strasburg’s evening? He grooved a first pitch fastball to Jedd Gyorko in the second? Gyorko came into that game hitting .237 with eight home runs. A guy like Strasburg should challenge a batter like Gyorko. I find it encouraging that he did because it means he trusts his fastball. He trusted it enough to blow away Derek Norris with a 98-mph heater up and in one batter later.

Strasburg allowed two hits to the Padres. Both came to start the second, and then the Padres bats went ice cold. That wasn’t because they couldn’t hit. It’s difficult to find a successful approach at the plate when the starting pitcher is cranking it up high 90s and then brings that hammer curve. Strasburg really only threw the curve, which did have nasty bite last night, a few times and mostly saving those for Matt Kemp and Gyorko the second time up. His strikeout of Yonder Alonso in the fourth came on a curve but without the big break. Everyone else largely saw fastballs. And they did nothing with them.

Let me take this moment to also say I had no idea that Gyorko was from West Virginia. Thanks Bob Carpenter for that bit of information! How did I miss this? He went to WVU (my current graduate school). I’m glad Gyorko hit two home runs last night. Hit more of them. In this series. You’ve earned it, buddy. I’m going directly to Baseball Reference and searching on WV players.

I feel cheated.

We’re probably at the point where we can say that Strasburg is back. It’s not one of those aww, shucks, he’s having a moment type games. This guy is dealing. Over his last four starts, since returning from the disabled list, Strasburg has thrown 26 innings and allowed five earned runs on 14 hits and three walks with 32 strikeouts. That’s an ERA of 1.73, and if I were smart enough to figure out FIP it’d be fairly close I imagine. Fielding independent? Can’t get more independent than striking out more than a batter per inning.

If there’s anything I’m surprised about last night was that Strasburg actually walked someone. He was throwing strikes all night. He walked Kemp in the first, so I guess he was still working on his location. Other than that it seemed like he started every batter with a strike and with heat. Here you go. Do something with it. Technically, Strasburg started 13 of 21 batters off with strikes, but I’m building an emotion here.

On the night, Strasburg threw six innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk while striking out seven.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     8 7.84
##   Curveball    20 19.6
##    Fourseam    65 63.7
##    Two-seam     9 8.82

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1  2 3 4  5  6
## Changeup   0  1 3 2  1  1
## Curveball  5  2 2 7  2  2
## Fourseam  10 10 7 8 15 15
## Two-seam   3  3 1 1  1  0

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Ball                   5        11       19        2
## Called Strike          1         5       11        3
## Foul                   1         1       15        3
## In play, no out        0         0        1        0
## In play, out(s)        1         1        9        0
## In play, run(s)        0         0        1        0
## Swinging Strike        0         2        9        1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Changeup Curveball Fourseam
## Flyout           0         0        1
## Groundout        0         1        4
## Home Run         0         0        1
## Lineout          0         0        1
## Pop Out          1         0        3
## Single           0         0        1
## Strikeout        0         2        5
## Walk             0         0        1

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   54.90         45.10     26.61     58.29

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.


Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       4           4      0.00     0.500
##   Curveball      10          10      0.00     0.400
##    Fourseam      37          28     0.393     0.622
##    Two-seam       5           4     0.250     0.600

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Curveball Fourseam
## Called Strike           1        1
## Swinging Strike         1        4

Standard Batting Lines Against Stephen Strasburg

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##   Cory  Spangenberg  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      15
##       Derek  Norris  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      11
##      James  Shields  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##        Jedd  Gyorko  2  2 1  0  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 2.000       7
##       Justin  Upton  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##          Matt  Kemp  3  2 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      19
##   Travis  Jankowski  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##  Yangervis  Solarte  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##      Yonder  Alonso  2  2 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500      11
## Warning in rm(x): object 'x' not found

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 88.1 89.2 90.6   -9.919     2.446       -9.509         1.014
##   Curveball 81.9 83.7 86.2    6.392    -5.208        7.082        -6.610
##    Fourseam 94.2 96.8 98.7   -6.328     9.060       -5.748         7.971
##    Two-seam 96.0 96.8 97.8   -7.968     7.738       -7.509         6.862

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.


Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-26_Stephen Strasburg_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-26_Stephen Strasburg_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-26_Stephen Strasburg_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-26_Stephen Strasburg_Batters

Aug 26

Noah Syndergaard: About Last Night (August 25)

Sometimes I think my eyeballs are filthy liars. All night long—all night consisting of precisely five innings of work—I thought Noah Syndergaard (8-6) pitched well. He worked inside, backing big sluggers like Ryan Howard off the plate with a 99-mph fastball, and he hit the inside black for strikes, notably to Cesar Hernandez to lead off the game. Syndergaard even had his changeup working to compliment the eye-popping radar gun readings. He struck out Cody Asche with a nice changeup in the second, and the one he threw Howard in the fifth to earn his ninth K had enough movement to need an Allied van. The big curve we all know and love wasn’t there, but there were so many positives.

Then how did the Phillies score four runs?

Carlos Ruiz drove one to center in the third that looked at first to put the Phillies on the board. It looked like a home run to me, but hitting a ball a long way doesn’t win you an automatic round tripper when fans interfere with the ball. No homer for the 36-year old catcher. It’s a double for you. Rejoice! Syndergaard comes back to strike out Jerome Williams and Hernandez on some high heat. That hit by Ruiz was a fluke. Syndergaard is one tonight. Then Freddy Galvis pulls one just over the right center fence, and then Kelly Johnson boots a David Herrera grounder on the transfer to throw, and then Howard hits another fastball to left-center, somehow, and now it’s 4-3 Phillies, and I’m left to wonder if Howard is mainlining caffeine between innings to catch up to fastballs like that at this stage in his career.

On the SNY broadcast, Ron Darling discussed throwing Howard nothing but fastballs because he can’t hit them. I’m with you Ron. Except this time. Howard destroys the Mets. Always has. Am I ever glad Chase Utley is now with the Dodgers. This time, though, the camera showed Syndergaard mouthing something to the effect of how the heck to a long fly ball morph into a home run.

They call that Citizens Bank Park, rook.

Well, you know the story. You probably do. The Mets did the whole Jon Niese tease by not scoring again until the top of the sixth, right when Syndergaard was coming out after his five innings of work, and they go up 6-4 and Syndergaard earns the win. Was it his best outing of the year? It was far better than his last three, and it was encouraging to see Syndergaard go on the road and pitch as well as he did.

One thing you’d like to see is Syndergaard pitch deeper into games. This is the third time in his last four he failed to make it past five (he started the sixth against Baltimore). This time it was the third inning that drove up that pitch count. He threw 36 pitches in the third, and only nine of those came after the Johnson error. Ruiz was an eight pitch at-bat; Hernandez lasted seven; and Herrera lasted six. Individually those innings happen, but over the course of a game they drive up that pitch total and shorten the game.

But, let me be absolutely clear that Tuesday was an encouraging sign with Syndergaard. I’ve been working on a metric to help track the variance in pitch location by each batter (it’s not ready for prime time yet, but it’s getting there) and the numbers were extremely positive for Syndergaard last night. He moved his pitches well, changing zones and eye level, and as mentioned before he pitched inside.

Take this Hernandez at-bat in the fourth. Inside fastball up fouled off; fastball up and in; curveball down and in; fastball up and outside; and finally a fastball up and in. He’s all over the place in that at-bat.

So, on the day, Syndergaard threw five innings and allowed four runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks while striking out nine.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    14 14.6
##   Curveball    23  24.
##    Fourseam    18 18.8
##      Sinker    41 42.7

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1 2  3 4 5
## Changeup  1 3  5 0 5
## Curveball 3 3 10 4 3
## Fourseam  2 3  6 3 4
## Sinker    6 9 16 8 2

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Sinker
## Ball                   5        11        5     10
## Ball In Dirt           2         2        0      1
## Called Strike          2         3        4      8
## Foul                   0         4        5      6
## Foul Bunt              0         0        0      2
## Foul Tip               2         0        1      2
## In play, no out        0         0        1      2
## In play, out(s)        0         1        1      4
## In play, run(s)        0         0        0      2
## Missed Bunt            1         0        0      0
## Swinging Strike        2         2        1      4

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Changeup Curveball Fourseam Sinker
## Fan interference        0         0        1      0
## Field Error             0         0        0      1
## Flyout                  0         0        0      1
## Groundout               0         0        0      2
## Home Run                0         0        0      2
## Lineout                 0         1        0      0
## Pop Out                 0         0        1      0
## Sac Bunt                0         0        0      1
## Single                  0         0        0      1
## Strikeout               3         1        1      4
## Walk                    0         0        0      2

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   46.88         53.12     24.47     42.67

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.


Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       4          10     0.200      0.00
##   Curveball       6          17     0.294     0.333
##    Fourseam       7          11     0.273     0.714
##      Sinker      28          13     0.231     0.464

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Sinker
## Called Strike          1         0        0      1
## Foul Tip               2         0        0      1
## Swinging Strike        0         1        1      2

Standard Batting Lines Against Noah Syndergaard

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    Andres  Blanco  2  2 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##      Carlos  Ruiz  2  0 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0   NaN 1.000   NaN      12
##  Cesar  Hernandez  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      16
##       Cody  Asche  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##    David Herrera  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      14
##    Domonic  Brown  2  2 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       5
##    Freddy  Galvis  3  3 1  0  0  1 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 1.333      13
##  Jerome  Williams  2  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  1 0.000 0.000 0.000       5
##      Ryan  Howard  3  2 1  0  0  1 1  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 2.000      15
## Warning in rm(x): object 'x' not found

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 87.7 88.7 90.1   -10.91     4.973       -10.72         3.352
##   Curveball 77.8 80.7 84.0    5.665    0.2184        6.207        -1.485
##    Fourseam 96.8 98.2 99.5   -5.364     11.79       -4.908         10.53
##      Sinker 94.6 97.7 99.7   -9.078     9.239       -8.839         7.893

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.


Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-26_Noah Syndergaard_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-26_Noah Syndergaard_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-26_Noah Syndergaard_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-26_Noah Syndergaard_Batters

Aug 26

MLB Daily Heat Check Wednesday, August 26

heatIndexHere you’ll find information regarding the pitchers that light up the radar gun each and every night. I’ve listed for both starters and relievers the top average pitch velocity with a heading for type. It doesn’t equate to quality of an outing or take into consideration the end result of the pitch (sometimes really, really good fastballs go a long way), but it’s fun.

Starters Pitches by Average MPH:

Name Pitch Avg Count
Noah Syndergaard Fourseam 98.22 18
Noah Syndergaard Sinker 97.71 41
Stephen Strasburg Two-seam 96.78 9
Stephen Strasburg Fourseam 96.75 65
Mike Foltynewicz Fourseam 96.18 29
Mike Foltynewicz Two-seam 95.51 36
Danny Duffy Fourseam 94.50 68
Jake Arrieta Sinker 93.82 48
Jake Arrieta Fourseam 93.69 14
Ivan Nova Fourseam 93.26 22

Fastest Starters Pitches Thrown Last Night (MPH):

Pitcher Velocity (MPH) Pitch Type
Noah Syndergaard 99.70 Sinker
Mike Foltynewicz 99.70 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 99.50 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 99.50 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 99.20 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 99.10 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 99.10 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 99.10 Fourseam
Mike Foltynewicz 99.10 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 99.00 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 98.90 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 98.90 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 98.80 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 98.80 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 98.80 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 98.70 Fourseam
Stephen Strasburg 98.70 Fourseam
Mike Foltynewicz 98.70 Two-seam
Noah Syndergaard 98.60 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 98.60 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 98.60 Fourseam
Noah Syndergaard 98.50 Sinker
Noah Syndergaard 98.50 Sinker
Stephen Strasburg 98.50 Fourseam
Mike Foltynewicz 98.50 Fourseam

Relievers Pitches by Average MPH:

Name Pitch Avg Count
Kelvin Herrera Fourseam 98.57 12
Jeurys Familia Fourseam 98.40 1
John Axford Fourseam 97.79 7
Jeurys Familia Sinker 97.22 9
Luis Garcia Fourseam 96.83 3
Hector Rondon Two-seam 96.68 5
Tom Wilhelmsen Two-seam 96.60 1
Blake Treinen Sinker 96.54 9
Hansel Robles Fourseam 96.46 17
Tommy Hunter Two-seam 96.45 2

Fastest Relievers Pitches Thrown Last Night (MPH):

Pitcher Velocity (MPH) Pitch Type
Kelvin Herrera 100.10 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 99.90 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 99.40 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 99.00 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 98.70 Fourseam
Jeurys Familia 98.60 Sinker
Kelvin Herrera 98.60 Fourseam
Jeurys Familia 98.50 Sinker
Jeurys Familia 98.40 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 98.30 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 98.30 Fourseam
Jeurys Familia 98.20 Sinker
John Axford 98.10 Fourseam
Wade Davis 98.10 Fourseam
Jeurys Familia 98.00 Sinker
John Axford 98.00 Fourseam
Enny Romero 98.00 Fourseam
John Axford 97.90 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 97.90 Fourseam
Jeurys Familia 97.80 Sinker
John Axford 97.80 Fourseam
John Axford 97.70 Fourseam
Kelvin Herrera 97.70 Fourseam
Jeurys Familia 97.60 Sinker
Blake Treinen 97.60 Sinker

Aug 25

Jacob deGrom: About Last Night (August 24)

You’re really going to make me do this? Seriously? You are a cruel, sadistic individual to make me relive last night’s Jacob deGrom start. It was a tough night. It brought back all those mean, dark thoughts about the Phillies that I’ve suppressed for so long. At one point my wife asked if I wanted to watch something on television, which I typically reply with, “Yeah, I’m watching it,” but last night it became: “Anything but baseball.”

Shhhh, don’t tell her. I secretly watched it on my iPad.

This was supposed to be the triumphant return of David Wright. I’m all about narratives, and wasn’t this just about perfect. The Mets sit five games up in the division, traveling to Philadelphia after an offensive onslaught in Colorado, and here comes the return of Wright for the final quarter of the season.

Then the night started weird.

Cesar Hernandez grounded out, but it wasn’t a ground out because the umpires thought the ball hit him. The replays didn’t look like it hit him, but I couldn’t really tell one way or the other, so deGrom goes back to work. Then he walks Hernandez. On five balls. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion lost the count, probably because of the whole Hernandez out but not an out groundout and here we are.

This game reminded me of the game deGrom pitched against the Yankees earlier in the season. Every fastball he threw anywhere near the plate was hit hard somewhere. Perhaps it was a lack of movement. His location with the pitch wasn’t the best I’ve seen from him, but the Phillies were all over that pitch no matter where it was located. Ryan Howard hit a 96-mph fourseamer to the opposite field, and Cameron Rupp absolutely CRUSHED a home run to centerfield that landed in the bullpens. ESPN has that home run listed as 449 feet, but that seems like a low estimate. That fastball was basically middle of the plate, and Rupp, an extremely large man, got every part of that pitch.

It didn’t matter what deGrom threw honestly. It got so bad he basically abandoned the fastball by the beginning of the third and started throwing curveballs and changeups almost exclusively, pitching backwards. I was hoping the umpires would make a special allowance and make every at-bat just one pitch like in gym class softball. In the third deGrom started Cody Asche off with a swinging strike and I’d convinced myself that that was it. Asche was done, and it was now Domonic Brown’s turn to bat. The first strike Brown saw he hit 346 feet for a three-run homer, so maybe this wasn’t the best plan either.

I guess you could argue that deGrom was also a victim of poor planning a bit of bad luck. Hernandez’s walk in the first was probably an out, so you could erase one of those runs, and Brown’s home run in the third probably doesn’t happen if Daniel Murphy is playing behind Howard on first and then has time to field Andres Blanco‘s grounder and turns two. Maybe. In that case, we’re talking about a deGrom outing that lasts four innings instead of 2 2/3. It’s possible he figured out why his fastball wasn’t moving all that well.

This wasn’t a night for deGrom. The real story was the return of Wright, and like a man who understands how to grab headlines in New York City he promptly crushed a homer in his first at-bat. If you haven’t heard, the teams combined for 11 home runs, tying a NL record and one shy of the major league record, and the Mets hit eight home runs and totaled 15 extra base hits, which are both new team records. Wilmer Flores hit two home runs, drove in five, and scored three runs. Since the non-trade of Flores, he’s responded with four home runs and driven in 14 runs in 20 games. Down 7-2, the Mets turned it one and won 16-7. Wow.

Sometimes these narratives write themselves.

This was deGrom’s shortest outing of his career. On the night he pitched 2 2/3 innings and allowed seven runs, six earned, on eight hits and three walks while striking out three. He allowed three home runs, which is tied with the most he’s allowed in a game this season. The other time he allowed three was against the Yankees.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    16 19.5
##   Curveball    20 24.4
##    Fourseam    16 19.5
##    Two-seam    25 30.5
##      Slider     5 6.10

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1 2  3
## Changeup   3 3 10
## Curveball  7 6  7
## Fourseam   5 4  7
## Two-seam  13 6  6
## Slider     3 0  2

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                   8         3        6       11      3
## Ball In Dirt           0         1        0        0      0
## Called Strike          2         3        0        7      0
## Foul                   2         4        6        2      0
## In play, no out        1         0        1        1      2
## In play, out(s)        0         3        1        1      0
## In play, run(s)        0         1        2        0      0
## Swinging Strike        3         5        0        3      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##              Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Bunt Pop Out        0         0        0        1      0
## Double              0         0        0        0      1
## Field Error         0         0        0        0      1
## Groundout           0         0        1        0      0
## Home Run            0         1        2        0      0
## Lineout             0         2        0        0      0
## Single              1         1        1        1      0
## Strikeout           1         2        0        0      0
## Walk                1         0        1        1      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   40.24         59.76     25.10     49.70

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.


Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       7           9     0.222     0.571
##   Curveball       6          14     0.571     0.667
##    Fourseam       7           9     0.333     0.714
##    Two-seam      13          12      0.00     0.538
##      Slider       0           5     0.400       NaN

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Changeup Curveball
## Called Strike          1         1
## Swinging Strike        0         1

Standard Batting Lines Against Jacob DeGrom

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##      Adam  Morgan  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##    Andres  Blanco  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##     Cameron  Rupp  2  1 1  0  0  1 0  1   0  0 1.000 1.000 4.000       8
##  Cesar  Hernandez  3  1 0  0  0  0 1  2   0  0 0.000 0.667 0.000      18
##       Cody  Asche  2  2 1  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 1.000       9
##    David Herrera  2  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       8
##    Domonic  Brown  2  2 1  0  0  1 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 2.000       9
##    Freddy  Galvis  2  2 2  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 1.000 1.000 1.000       7
##      Ryan  Howard  2  2 2  0  0  1 0  0   0  0 1.000 1.000 2.500       7
## Warning in rm(x): object 'x' not found

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 84.6 86.4 88.2   -7.836     2.558       -7.819         1.138
##   Curveball 77.8 80.7 83.1    3.369    -3.526        3.735        -5.153
##    Fourseam 93.7  95. 95.9   -5.141     8.009       -4.810         7.058
##    Two-seam 87.5 94.5 96.0   -8.656     6.011       -8.498         4.831
##      Slider 88.2 88.9 89.8  -0.3960     1.938      0.05679        0.5174

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.


Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-25_Jacob DeGrom_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-25_Jacob DeGrom_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-25_Jacob DeGrom_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-25_Jacob DeGrom_Batters

Aug 25

MLB Daily Heat Check Tuesday, August 25

heatIndexHere you’ll find information regarding the pitchers that light up the radar gun each and every night. I’ve listed for both starters and relievers the top average pitch velocity with a heading for type. It doesn’t equate to quality of an outing or take into consideration the end result of the pitch (sometimes really, really good fastballs go a long way), but it’s fun.

Starters Pitches by Average MPH:

Name Pitch Avg Count
Nathan Eovaldi Fourseam 97.97 46
Nathan Eovaldi Two-seam 96.50 2
Joe Kelly Two-seam 95.44 45
Jacob deGrom Fourseam 94.99 16
Jeff Samardzija Two-seam 94.61 30
Jacob deGrom Two-seam 94.45 25
Jeff Samardzija Fourseam 94.16 20
Joe Kelly Fourseam 94.10 2
Corey Kluber Sinker 93.35 46
Corey Kluber Fourseam 92.80 28

Fastest Starters Pitches Thrown Last Night (MPH):

Pitcher Velocity (MPH) Pitch Type
Nathan Eovaldi 101.40 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 101.20 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 100.90 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 100.70 Two-seam
Nathan Eovaldi 100.10 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 100.10 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 100.00 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.60 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.60 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.50 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.40 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.40 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.30 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.20 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.20 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.10 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.10 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.00 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 99.00 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 98.80 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 98.80 Fourseam
Joe Kelly 98.70 Two-seam
Nathan Eovaldi 98.40 Fourseam
Nathan Eovaldi 98.30 Fourseam
Joe Kelly 98.30 Two-seam

Relievers Pitches by Average MPH:

Name Pitch Avg Count
Aroldis Chapman Fourseam 99.32 17
Trevor Rosenthal Fourseam 98.38 17
Arodys Vizcaino Two-seam 97.84 9
Erik Cordier Two-seam 97.70 1
Daniel Hudson Fourseam 97.17 6
Daniel Hudson Two-seam 97.05 2
Neftali Feliz Fourseam 96.52 15
Hector Rondon Two-seam 96.35 4
Andrew Miller Fourseam 96.25 6
Brian Ellington Fourseam 96.17 16

Fastest Relievers Pitches Thrown Last Night (MPH):

Pitcher Velocity (MPH) Pitch Type
Aroldis Chapman 102.30 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 101.50 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 100.40 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 100.40 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 100.30 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 100.30 Fourseam
Trevor Rosenthal 100.10 Fourseam
Trevor Rosenthal 100.00 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 99.80 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 99.60 Fourseam
Trevor Rosenthal 99.40 Fourseam
Arodys Vizcaino 99.30 Two-seam
Aroldis Chapman 99.30 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 99.10 Fourseam
Trevor Rosenthal 99.10 Fourseam
Trevor Rosenthal 99.00 Fourseam
Arodys Vizcaino 98.90 Two-seam
Aroldis Chapman 98.80 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 98.70 Fourseam
Arodys Vizcaino 98.60 Two-seam
Trevor Rosenthal 98.60 Fourseam
Aroldis Chapman 98.50 Fourseam
Daniel Hudson 98.30 Fourseam
Trevor Rosenthal 98.30 Fourseam
Trevor Rosenthal 98.30 Fourseam

Aug 24

Jordan Zimmermann: About Yesterday Afternoon (August 23)

It certainly didn’t look good early for Jordan Zimmermann (10-8). After Scooter Gennett singled on a curve that just broke lazily, Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run home run to left center on a slider that was just broken. Oh, Ryan Braun then hit a fastball off the base of the right field wall. Is any pitch working?

That throw worked.

After Braun was gunned down at second by Harper, Zimmermann settled down and worked through the first without any further issue. Maybe it wasn’t pretty, and the Nationals were now down 2-0, but it wasn’t like the team wouldn’t have their chances. The Brewers sent Matt Garza (6-14) to the mound, so that meant lots of fastballs that were really, really straight, and lots of chances to see Harper or Michael Taylor go for a 500-foot bomb. It didn’t happen on Sunday, but chances are it’ll happen soon.

Zimmermann settled in, but I can’t recall a time where it ever seemed easy for him. He struck out Braun in the third with a really nice curveball, but his slider wasn’t particularly effective, though he did strike out Khris Davis in the fourth with one that broke just enough that it worked more like a changeup to fool him.

Gennett’s home run in the fifth came on a fastball up and in that Gennett pulled to right, and by the sixth Zimmermann was gassed. I was a little surprised to see Matt Williams send him out for the sixth, seeing as Zimmermann was already at 94 pitches, but since Zimmermann sacrificed in the bottom of the fifth I wasn’t “surprised.” Up 6-2 at that time, okay, let him go a few more pitches more. One Anthony Rendon three-run homer later, the score is now 9-2, it’s a guarantee they’ll try to stretch Zimmermann out as long as they can. By the time Zimmermann started pitching to Elian Herrera, it looked as though he might start tossing it underhand.

Throw lefty, J-Zimm! Give the boys in the pen a breather!

Personally, the big story for me in this game wasn’t so much the continued failings of the Nats starting pitching to last deep into games or Zimmermann allowing four or more runs for the seventh time this season (something he did five times last year and never on back-to-back starts). No. I think the big story is Rendon’s bat coming alive. If he starts hitting and really getting it going that’ll be a huge boost to the lineup. With David Wright returning on Monday, we can finally have that best third basemen in the NL East debate and not have to use minor league rehab photos for visuals.

Also, Wilson Ramos went 2-for-3 in this game with a home run. I’m not ready to be too optimistic about his outing only because those hits came against Garza. Everyone sort of hits Garza at this point.

On the afternoon, Zimmermann threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs on eight hits, one hit batter, and one intentional walk while striking out seven.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##        Pitch Type Count    %
##         Curveball     4 3.45
##          Fourseam    80  69.
##  Intentional Walk     2 1.72
##            Slider    28 24.1
##              <NA>     2 1.72

Pitch Type by Inning

##                   1  2  3  4  5  6
## Curveball         1  0  1  1  1  0
## Fourseam         14 15 11 10 14 16
## Intentional Walk  0  0  0  2  0  0
## Slider            4  4  4  8  2  6

Pitches by Outcome:

##                     Curveball Fourseam Intentional Walk Slider
## Ball                        1       22                0      9
## Called Strike               1       14                0      4
## Foul                        0       24                0      5
## Foul (Runner Going)         0        1                0      0
## Hit By Pitch                0        1                0      0
## In play, no out             1        2                0      1
## In play, out(s)             0        6                0      4
## In play, run(s)             0        2                0      1
## Intent Ball                 0        0                2      0
## Swinging Strike             1        8                0      4

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##              Curveball Fourseam Intentional Walk Slider
## Double               0        1                0      0
## Flyout               0        0                0      1
## Groundout            0        4                0      2
## Hit By Pitch         0        1                0      0
## Home Run             0        1                0      1
## Intent Walk          0        0                1      0
## Lineout              0        1                0      0
## Pop Out              0        0                0      1
## Single               1        3                0      1
## Strikeout            1        4                0      2

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   54.31         45.69     35.02     73.65

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.


Pitch Types by Zone Location

##        Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##         Curveball       2           2     0.500     0.500
##          Fourseam      44          36     0.306     0.659
##  Intentional Walk       0           2      0.00       NaN
##            Slider      15          13     0.308     0.667
##              <NA>       2           2      0.00      0.00

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Curveball Fourseam Slider
## Swinging Strike         1        4      2

Standard Batting Lines Against Jordan Zimmermann

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##          Adam  Lind  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      14
##    Domingo  Santana  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   1  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      10
##      Elian  Herrera  3  2 1  1  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.500 0.667 1.000      15
##        Jean  Segura  3  3 2  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 0.667      15
##    Jonathan  Lucroy  3  3 1  0  0  1 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 1.333      12
##  Khristopher Davis  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      19
##         Matt  Garza  2  2 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##         Ryan  Braun  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      11
##    Scooter  Gennett  3  3 2  0  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 1.667      14
## Warning in rm(x): object 'x' not found

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##        Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor
##         Curveball 79.0 80.8 82.3    5.037    -4.537        5.411
##          Fourseam 91.8 93.4 95.5   -3.220     8.183       -2.806
##  Intentional Walk 69.4  70. 70.5   -2.865     7.410       -3.449
##            Slider 86.4 88.5 90.7    2.193     3.659        2.696
##              <NA>   NA   NA   NA       NA        NA           NA
##  CRT Mean Vert
##         -5.813
##          7.287
##          6.655
##          2.543
##             NA

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.


Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-24_Jordan Zimmermann_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-24_Jordan Zimmermann_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-24_Jordan Zimmermann_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-24_Jordan Zimmermann_Batters

Aug 24

Logan Verrett: About Yesterday Afternoon (August 23)

I’ve been spoiled this year. I’m not blind to this fact. I live in an area that allows me to watch the Nationals, and I follow the Mets because they’re my team. Because you’re on this site I don’t feel like that requires additional explanation. By lucky, I mean in terms of watching starting pitching, but it can expand out to the entire teams as well. It hasn’t always felt lucky. I’ve seen enough wretched play by both teams to make a Not-Top 100, but I’ve also seen enough good baseball to make the former just a footnote.

On Sunday, I was extremely lucky to watch baseball.

If you watch enough of the Mets and Nationals, you begin to grow accustomed to the constant stream of mid-90s hurlers each team brings to the mound each day. Oh, today Joe Ross will throw 95. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg. Hey, Jacob deGrom is today, and then there’s Matt Harvey, and don’t forget the guy who throws hard: Noah Syndergaard. It’s like watching baseball in terms of a chili cook-off in Texas. Everything is blazing hot, but you rarely ever walk away disappointed.

So, when a guy like Logan Verrett (1-1) makes his major league debut it’s a little disorientating on the baseball senses. Make no mistake: I like Verrett. I thought he was a fantastic reliever, and I was disappointed that he only went one inning and six pitches in Wednesday’s game against the Orioles. Pitching in today’s game was the reason, but on Wednesday night I thought Terry Collins was batty for taking him out. But, I just sat through two games where the Mets starters allowed a combined 20 hits and 14 earned runs in nine innings of work, so the thought of another 14-9 slugfest didn’t appeal to me. What I wanted was a low scoring game that reaffirmed all that was right in the world.

Thank you Logan Verrett for delivering.

It didn’t start out that way. After back-to-back singles by Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu gave the Rockies runners on first and second with nobody out, Verrett would have to face Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado with runners on. That’s fine. Gonzalez has only hit 25 homeruns since June coming into this game, and Arenado went deep on Friday, has 30 homers on the season, and crushes anything that doesn’t actually break vertically into the dirt since he flails a lot at breaking pitches. It’s even better, nervous jittering-wise, if you consider Blackmon is only on second because Yoenis Cespedes took a rolling dive to keep the ball from getting past him in center and Verrett spent an hour on pickoff throws to first because apparently it’s only a matter of time before Blackmon is picked off.

No worries. Gonzalez grounds to Daniel Murphy at first to start the double play, and then Wilmer Flores makes a diving stop on Arenado’s grounder and then promptly guns him out at first. Seriously, did you read that last sentence? Have you watched this team this year? Murphy at first against the Pirates was sort of a mess, and Flores at shortstop this year has been an adventure all in itself.

I don’t know how we got here, and I don’t know how it’s working, but for some reason it worked great yesterday (Murphy even made a diving stop on a Daniel Descalso grounder in the second), and I refuse to question it any further.

After the first, Verrett allowed two more hits in seven additional innings. One of those was Gonzalez’s 30th homer of the season, and you know what the 25-year old rookie did after watching Gonzalez crush one to center? He promptly struck out Arenado on three pitches, the last two sliders, and he got Ben Paulsen and Kyle Parker to ground out. Worry? No. Just throw strikes.

I was hoping for five or six innings. I thought five innings would be fantastic considering he’s been working out of the bullpen with the Mets. In the minors at Las Vegas he was used as a starter, but I didn’t want to ask for too much here. Five to six innings, give the bullpen a lead, and fly into Philadelphia on a roll.

Verrett did that and more.

He wasn’t overpowering. You can’t ever pick one moment and say that he dominated the Rockies batters, but when the game started the story was about the comments Jose Reyes made to the Denver Post, and by the end of the game the story was about Verrett. He may not have been dominant in the Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard way, but he stole the headlines and made you forget that it was Harvey whose start was skipped.

Verrett worked both sides of the plate well, pitching inside and keeping the Rockies batters off balance with a low 90’s fastball, his changeup, and a nice slider. Maybe it was because the Rockies were unfamiliar with Verrett. He’d logged a grand total of 22 1/3 major league innings between Texas and New York this season, so let’s not discount that. The Rockies chased a lot of those pitches—notably both his slider and curve that the Rockies chased out of the zone over half of the time each—but seven strikeouts by Rockies swings and misses is not entirely by unfamiliarity. He had good stuff.

On the day, Verrett threw eight innings and allowed one earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out eight.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    11 11.8
##   Curveball    12 12.9
##    Fourseam    43 46.2
##    Two-seam     7 7.53
##      Slider    20 21.5

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
## Changeup  2 0 2 3 1 0 3 0
## Curveball 1 1 1 2 0 4 3 0
## Fourseam  7 7 7 4 4 4 5 5
## Two-seam  1 0 1 1 2 1 0 1
## Slider    4 2 4 2 1 2 5 0

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                             3         2       14        3      3
## Called Strike                    1         1        8        2      2
## Foul                             3         3        8        0      5
## Foul Bunt                        0         0        1        0      0
## Hit By Pitch                     0         0        1        0      0
## In play, no out                  0         0        1        0      1
## In play, out(s)                  2         1        6        2      4
## In play, run(s)                  1         0        0        0      0
## Swinging Strike                  1         4        4        0      5
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         1        0        0      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                  Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Flyout                  1         0        1        1      2
## Grounded Into DP        1         0        0        0      0
## Groundout               0         1        2        1      1
## Hit By Pitch            0         0        1        0      0
## Home Run                1         0        0        0      0
## Lineout                 0         0        2        0      0
## Sac Bunt                0         0        1        0      0
## Single                  0         0        1        0      2
## Strikeout               0         2        3        0      3
## Walk                    0         0        1        0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   52.69         47.31     40.16     60.73

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.


Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       5           6     0.500     0.600
##   Curveball       4           8     0.750     0.750
##    Fourseam      21          22     0.318     0.571
##    Two-seam       4           3      0.00     0.500
##      Slider      15           5     0.600     0.800

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Curveball Fourseam Slider
## Called Strike                     0        1      0
## Swinging Strike                   1        2      3
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)         1        0      0

Standard Batting Lines Against Logan Verrett

##            Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##       Ben  Paulsen  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      17
##   Carlos  Gonzalez  3  3 1  0  0  1 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 1.333      12
##  Charlie  Blackmon  4  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   1  0 0.333 0.500 0.333      11
##   Daniel  Descalso  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##        David  Hale  2  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  1 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##       DJ  LeMahieu  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      10
##    Dustin  Garneau  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      10
##       Kyle  Parker  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##      Matt  McBride  1  1 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       2
##     Nolan  Arenado  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333       7
## Warning in rm(x): object 'x' not found

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 82.1 83.7 84.7   -6.023     2.409       -5.751         1.153
##   Curveball 77.7 79.3 80.1  -0.5425    -1.617      -0.2399        -3.132
##    Fourseam 88.3 90.2 92.9   -4.170     8.384       -3.733         7.122
##    Two-seam 89.0 90.3 91.9   -6.480     6.327       -6.145         4.987
##      Slider 83.3 84.6 87.1   -1.952    0.7295       -1.365       -0.4878

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.


Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-08-24_Logan Verrett_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-24_Logan Verrett_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-24_Logan Verrett_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-24_Logan Verrett_Batters

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