Sep 16

Jacob deGrom: About Last Night (September 15)

I imagine the chat between Jacob deGrom (13-8) and Pitching Coach Dan Warthen in the fourth inning last night went a little something like this:

“The fastball’s not working coach,” deGrom says.

“Why in God’s name would you throw Justin Bour three straight fastballs, then?”

“Tuesday is sort of a stupid day, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not the beginning of the week, and it’s not hump day. What does it all mean?”

“Maybe throw more breaking pitches, I guess.”

“Cool.”

Oh, and deGrom did just that. After Marcell Ozuna singled home Martin Prado with the Marlins fourth straight hit on a fastball that was basically in the same location Ozuna had fouled off a fastball on the previous pitch, deGrom threw Derek Dietrich three curveballs and a changeup and then started off J.T. Realmuto with a curve. Uh, oh. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a sucker for watching guys flail helplessly at changeups and curves. It’s fun. It’s one of the few things that can keep a long season watchable. Whenever deGrom starts throwing breaking pitches and changeups with nearly equal frequency to his heat after throwing a flavor of fastball nearly 70% of the time through his first three innings I figure it’s not exactly a good thing. It didn’t really matter to Bour, though.

At this point, can we just say that Bour has deGrom’s number?

Okay, you get it. Here he goes with his Bourish talk. This is different. I won’t discuss how deGrom went all inverse strategy and started Bour out with heat in his first two at-bats yesterday. I won’t discuss it in detail anyway. I won’t spend 300 words pondering how Bour can slap at balls by doing little else than a quick flick of his wrists and hits doubles down the line and defeats PhD candidate designed shifts with groundballs that have eyes. This IS different. Counting deGrom’s last start against Miami, Bour is now four for his last six against deGrom, including a 3-for-3 line last night.

Sure. Whatever. Two games.

This game was eerily similar to deGrom’s last start in Miami. He’s cruising through the first three. Maybe there’s some sign of trouble as it’s taking deGrom extra pitches to put guys away. He had both Tom Koehler and Dee Gordon in 0-2 counts in the third, and it required seven and six pitches respectively to strike both batters out. Okay. Hindsight is great and all that. In the fourth, Christian Yelich and Prado single. Bour doubles. Ozuna singles. After the Dietrich strikeout, Realmuto drives in a run with sacrifice fly. Unfortunately for deGrom, that’s where the similarities end. In the fifth, the Marlins recorded three straight hits over the span of four pitches, including a double by Koehler.

deGrom allowed three more runs in the fifth, and even with the Mets ability to produce runs at will, a 6-1 deficit proved too much as the team lost for the first time in nine games. It wasn’t deGrom’s finest outing. After keeping the ball down in the early innings, he started elevating his pitches, and Marlins took advantage.

With deGrom, there’s elevating his pitches at the letters, which is extremely difficult for batters to catch up with. deGrom was catching that area from middle and slightly up, and there are few pitchers that can live there. Looking at his zone location, it’s pretty clear that deGrom had trouble locating last night. Over 55% of his pitches were thrown out of the zone, and the Marlins swung at about 27% of those. He couldn’t get the Marlins to chase after his curveball at all. Makes for a tough night when the batters won’t help out, even a little.

The word during the game, and after in the AP article, was that the Mets might skip deGrom’s next start to rest his arm and try to keep him fresh for the potential postseason workload. You hate to live with an outing like this for two weeks, but trouble going deep into games and locating in the later innings has been fairly common of late with deGrom, so perhaps that’s a fine idea.

On the night, deGrom allowed six earned runs in five innings. He allowed 10 hits and struck out five.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    11 12.8
##   Curveball    14 16.3
##    Fourseam    37 43.0
##    Two-seam    14 16.3
##      Slider     9 10.5
##        <NA>     1 1.16

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1 2  3  4 5
## Changeup  1 4  0  1 5
## Curveball 1 0  3  5 5
## Fourseam  3 8 11 10 5
## Two-seam  4 4  1  5 0
## Slider    1 2  2  4 0

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Ball                             2         6       10        2      2
## Ball In Dirt                     2         1        0        0      1
## Called Strike                    0         3       10        2      3
## Foul                             2         0        7        3      1
## Foul Bunt                        0         0        0        1      0
## Foul Tip                         0         0        1        0      0
## In play, no out                  2         0        3        1      0
## In play, out(s)                  1         1        1        2      0
## In play, run(s)                  1         1        3        1      0
## Swinging Strike                  1         1        2        2      2
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         1        0        0      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##            Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam Slider
## Double            0         0        2        1      0
## Groundout         1         1        1        1      0
## Pop Out           0         0        0        1      0
## Runner Out        0         0        1        0      0
## Sac Fly           1         0        1        0      0
## Single            2         1        3        1      0
## Strikeout         0         1        3        0      1

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   44.19         55.81     26.88     40.74

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     0.167      1.00
##   Curveball       3          11     0.182     0.333
##    Fourseam      18          19     0.316     0.389
##    Two-seam       9           5     0.800     0.444
##      Slider       2           7     0.286     0.500
##        <NA>       1           1      0.00      0.00

Strikeouts by Description

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

Standard Batting Lines Against Jacob DeGrom

##            Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##  Christian  Yelich  3  3 2  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 1.000       8
##    Derek  Dietrich  2  2 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      11
##    Devaris Gordon  3  3 2  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 0.667       8
##    Jacob Realmuto  2  1 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  1 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##       Justin  Bour  3  3 3  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 1.000 1.000 1.333      10
##     Marcell  Ozuna  2  2 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       9
##      Martin  Prado  3  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  1 0.500 0.333 0.500      13
##      Miguel  Rojas  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##       Tom  Koehler  2  2 1  1  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 1.000       8

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 83.3 85.7 87.8   -7.509     2.259       -7.465        0.8027
##   Curveball 79.8 82.1 84.5    4.907    -3.653        5.380        -5.218
##    Fourseam 91.8  95. 96.7   -4.200     8.485       -3.895         7.243
##    Two-seam 93.3 95.3 97.8   -7.139     6.081       -7.142         4.918
##      Slider 87.7  91. 92.7   0.4947     4.467       0.9606         3.083
##        <NA>   NA   NA   NA       NA        NA           NA            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:

2015-09-16_Jacob DeGrom_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-16_Jacob DeGrom_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-16_Jacob DeGrom_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-16_Jacob DeGrom_Batters

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