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Aug 19

Jacob deGrom: About Last Night (August 18)

I guess there’s an extremely good reason why Jacob deGrom’s ERA is now sitting at 1.98 and opponents are hitting .192 against him. It’s impossible to figure out where he’s going to actually throw the ball. Never mind the fact that he throws two varieties of fastballs, each with different movement, a changeup he’ll drop in from time-to-time and both a curveball and a slider. Never mind those five pitches, all of which he can throw for strikes at a given time. Really? Five pitches? I don’t have the scouting report of a Keith Law type grading scale here on what those pitches are actually coming in as 0 to 80, but from the comfort of my own couch they sure look tough to hit.

Back to my original blather. So, I’ve dismissed the fact that he throws five very good if not quantifiably Keith Law certified and graded pitches, where does that leave us? He varies his locations. You probably know this. Most pitchers vary their locations. I don’t know of too many guys other than Rob Dibble back in the day who just threw a pitch really hard, threw it where he wanted (or wherever it wanted to go), and dared the hitter to do anything with it. deGrom, though, varies locations so much and with such skill that the batter’s eyes have to feel like yo-yos.

Fastball up and outside. Changeup low and middle in. Fastball same location. Curveball middle and dropping into the dirt. Fastball outside and at the knees. Last night, against the Orioles, deGrom pitched up and out of the zone quite a bit. This was a tactic that worked quite well for him against Colorado, and it proved equally effective against Baltimore.

All told, deGrom threw 7 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run on a Gerrardo Parra home run in the sixth. I don’t recall too many innings where there were any signs of trouble. There could have been. In the first, Manny Machado worked a 10 pitch at-bat that immediately raised the chilly neck hairs because it started driving up that pitch count immediately, was only the first batter, and Machado always hits the Mets well.

Oh, no. I was worried. It’s okay. Parra grounded out on the first pitch, moving Machado to second, and deGrom escaped the inning without allowing any runs. Of course, he faced Chris Davis with a man on, and here’s another guy that scares me. Sure, he strikes out a lot. He struck out three times against deGrom on Tuesday, but he doesn’t get cheated on those swings. In the first, deGrom got him with a fourseamer up. In his second at-bat, deGrom struck him out looking with a fastball in. See, what I mean. It’s basically pick a spot and hope for the best.

The Mets didn’t turn on the offense. They scored runs in the first, third, and fifth, and deGrom was handed an early lead that if it wasn’t particularly large at least it was something to work with. It was hopeful in other words.

He mixed his pitches well last night as well. Take a look at the table with pitch types by innings. It’s sort of amazing to think that he’ll throw any pitch in any situation. No, don’t get too comfortable in the batter’s box.

On the night, in those 7 2/3 innings and the one earned run, deGrom allowed five hits and a walk and struck out six. His ERA is second to Zack Greinke in the major leagues.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    13 13.0
##   Curveball    18 18.0
##    Fourseam    52 52.0
##    Two-seam    11 11.0
##      Slider     6 6.00

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
## Changeup   2 3 0 2 3 1 1 1
## Curveball  1 1 3 3 2 2 4 2
## Fourseam  16 4 4 5 6 8 4 5
## Two-seam   1 3 2 0 1 4 0 0
## Slider     2 0 0 1 1 1 0 1

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                   3         8       13        2      2
## Ball In Dirt           2         0        0        0      0
## Called Strike          1         2        7        1      1
## Foul                   1         4       15        3      1
## In play, no out        1         0        2        0      0
## In play, out(s)        4         2        7        2      2
## In play, run(s)        0         0        0        1      0
## Swinging Strike        1         2        8        2      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##                Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Bunt Groundout        0         0        1        0      0
## Double                0         0        1        0      0
## Flyout                0         1        1        0      1
## Forceout              0         0        0        1      0
## Groundout             4         0        3        1      1
## Home Run              0         0        0        1      0
## Pop Out               0         1        1        0      0
## Single                1         0        2        0      0
## Strikeout             1         1        2        2      0
## Walk                  0         0        1        0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   43.00           57.     45.61     72.09

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           8     0.375     0.800
##   Curveball       6          12     0.333     0.667
##    Fourseam      25          27     0.481     0.760
##    Two-seam       5           6     0.667     0.600
##      Slider       2           4     0.500     0.500

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Called Strike          1         0        0        0
## Swinging Strike        0         1        2        2

Standard Batting Lines Against Jacob DeGrom

##           Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##       Adam  Jones  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##      Chris  Davis  3  3 0  0  0  0 3  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      17
##    Gerardo  Parra  3  3 1  0  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 1.333       8
##    Henry  Urrutia  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      10
##       J.J.  Hardy  3  3 1  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.667       8
##  Jonathan  Schoop  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##   Manuel Machado  4  3 1  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.333 0.500 0.333      20
##     Matt  Wieters  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      13
##  Steve  Clevenger  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
## 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 83.6 85.6 87.4   -6.124     5.815       -5.931         4.548
##   Curveball 78.5 80.0 82.6    5.366    -2.018        5.760        -3.422
##    Fourseam 92.8 94.6 96.4   -4.471     9.793       -4.145         8.914
##    Two-seam 92.8 94.3 95.3   -7.593     7.687       -7.510         6.599
##      Slider 86.9 88.1 89.0   0.9895     4.721        1.462         3.677

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:

2015-08-19_Jacob DeGrom_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-19_Jacob DeGrom_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-19_Jacob DeGrom_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-19_Jacob DeGrom_Batters

2 comments

  1. GB

    Just found your site. This is awesome. Good work.

    1. Scott Bline

      Appreciate the kind words. Thank you!

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