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Sep 10

Jacob DeGrom: About Last Night (September 09)

We can say what we want about the six-man rotation—love it, hate it, find it novel, etc.—but Jacob deGrom (13-7) has already surpassed his career high in innings pitched with that total to approach 200 by season’s end, and he hasn’t exactly looked his best lately. He was beat around mercilessly by the Phillies, and in his last start against Miami deGrom’s fastball had zero life. He allowed three earned runs, which seemed like a gift wrapped present after the Marlins plated three in the fourth inning on five hits. Other than the Philadelphia start, deGrom hasn’t looked awful. He looked great in the first three innings, but then he seemed to hit a wall and the second half of each game was a struggle.

You can always tell when deGrom is having a good night with his fastball when you see the late run and he can’t hit the outside black at the knees. Those are the two things I look for, and if there’s the usual assortment of curveball, slider, and changeup to fool hitters then more the better. How infuriating can deGrom be when he has multiple pitches working? Take a look at how he struck out Danny Espinosa three times:

In their first at-bat, deGrom struck him out with a slider and then three straight 97-mph fastballs. In the third inning, deGrom started him out with a slider and then went curveball, fastball, and curve. In the fifth, Espinosa saw a fastball and then four straight sliders. In those three at-bats, Espinosa took nine total swings and fouled off two pitches. I can only imagine if there were to be a fourth at-bat, deGrom would have started him out with a two-seamer up and away and then attack with curveballs and changeups.

Good luck is all I’m saying. The important takeaway here, however, is all of these sequences are magical and wonderful and make us smile with delight because that fastball is as full of life as the Mets playoff chances.

I discuss the at-bats of Espinosa with good reason. Handling Espinosa and Jayson Werth probably saved this game for the Mets. With Espinosa and Werth safely watching Bryce Harper from the bench, that home run in the first counted as only one run and that double off the wall in the fourth led to Harper scoring but nobody else. Ryan Zimmerman not playing in this series was a big blow for the Nats. If Zimmerman plays in this game, he’s protecting Harper in the lineup and Anthony Rendon is batting second. Does it make a difference? At this point, who knows?

What’s funny about that Harper home run in the first is that deGrom actually pitched him really well. Maybe you can complain that he threw one too many fastballs, but Harper can be handled with the fastball up. He can also muscle a fastball a long way (right Hunter Strickland?) if he catches up with it. Harper hit a fastball that was up and in, and at this point you have to give credit to the NL MVP frontrunner.

This was the best start by deGrom in three weeks. His fastball had life, his breaking pitches were sharp, and he threw a changeup to Ian Desmond in the seventh that had enough movement on it that it might as well been migrating. I’m curious to see if the six-man rotation, with the extra day off, will allow deGrom to throw more of these.

On the night, in a huge win for the Mets, deGrom pitched about as well as you could hope. He finished the night tossing seven innings and allowed two earned runs on five 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    12 11.8
##   Curveball     8 7.84
##    Fourseam    43 42.2
##    Two-seam    20 19.6
##      Slider    19 18.6

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1 2 3 4 5 6 7
## Changeup   2 1 0 1 2 4 2
## Curveball  0 2 2 1 3 0 0
## Fourseam  13 9 2 8 6 5 0
## Two-seam   3 1 1 3 5 3 4
## Slider     3 1 3 3 6 1 2

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                             6         3       13        4      5
## Ball In Dirt                     0         0        0        0      1
## Called Strike                    0         1        6        5      4
## Foul                             2         0        8        4      1
## Foul Tip                         0         0        1        1      0
## In play, no out                  0         0        0        2      0
## In play, out(s)                  1         1        6        0      4
## In play, run(s)                  0         1        1        0      0
## Swinging Strike                  3         1        8        3      4
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         1        0        1      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

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

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   49.02         50.98     33.35     67.32

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       1          11     0.455      1.00
##   Curveball       2           6     0.333     0.500
##    Fourseam      24          19     0.316     0.667
##    Two-seam      13           7     0.143     0.692
##      Slider      10           9     0.333     0.600

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Foul Tip                         0         0        1        0      0
## Swinging Strike                  1         0        2        1      2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         1        0        1      0

Standard Batting Lines Against Jacob DeGrom

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##     Anthony  Rendon  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      18
##       Bryce  Harper  3  3 2  1  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 2.000       9
##     Clint  Robinson  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      12
##     Danny  Espinosa  3  3 0  0  0  0 3  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      13
##        Ian  Desmond  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      11
##       Jayson  Werth  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      13
##    Matt Den Dekker  3  3 1  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.667      10
##  Stephen  Strasburg  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##       Wilson  Ramos  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 84.5 86.7 88.1   -6.174     4.293       -6.082         3.020
##   Curveball 78.8 81.5 83.7    3.836    -3.394        4.112        -4.843
##    Fourseam 88.1 96.0 97.7   -4.438     8.567       -4.203         7.605
##    Two-seam 88.3 95.0 97.3   -8.434     5.665       -8.289         4.492
##      Slider 88.9 90.3 92.1   0.7947     3.991        1.258         2.760

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:

2015-09-10_Jacob DeGrom_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-10_Jacob DeGrom_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-10_Jacob DeGrom_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-10_Jacob DeGrom_Batters

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