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Aug 28

Joe Ross: About Last Night (August 27)

Regular readers of the site know that I’m a huge fan of Joe Ross (5-5). The trade that brought Ross to Washington was lauded for bringing the eventual replacement for impending free agent Ian Desmond. Desmond didn’t want to take the offer that Mike Rizzo had presented to him? That’s fine. We’ll just elbow our way into a trade between the Padres and Rays and find a new shortstop. Somehow they also acquired Ross in the trade, and at the time he was billed as Tyson Ross’ little brother.

I think in a few years we’ll be discussing Tyson to Joe like we do Ramon Martinez to Pedro. I’m not saying Joe Ross’ ceiling is anywhere close to Pedro’s, or Tyson’s is in the same territory as Ramon’s, but just as Pedro eventually changed the way we discussed the familial hierarchy I think the dynamic between Tyson and Joe will change too. We’re not there yet. Give it a few years.

So, yeah, I’m a fan.

I’m also a huge fan of the way Pitching Coach Steve McCatty and Ross have altered their approach to establish the fastball before worrying about the slider. Take a look at Ross’ use of the slider, by percentage, in the four starts prior to his last start against Milwaukee: 48.1%, 45.5%, 46.8%, and 48.1%. Nearly half his pitches were sliders, and while they were aesthetically pleasing batters eventually caught up to the pitch. After going hitless in their first go around against Ross, the Giants exploded for six hits and four runs in their next inning plus and knocked the rookie out of the game. If you throw 96-97, can work up in the zone, can locate your pitches, why not throw more heat?

In his last two starts, Ross’ use of the slider has dropped to 28.6% against Milwaukee and 32.5% against the Padres, but he established the fastball early. He threw five of them total in the first two innings, establish his fastball early. Then, as the game progressed, he altered his approach and worked off the breaking ball.

In the early part of the game batters were still waiting for the slider. After, however, they had no idea when it was coming. They were caught looking for the slider in the first few innings and couldn’t catch up to the high heat, and by the second time through the order the Padres were either whiffing badly or watching the pitch drop for a strike.

We’ll call that success.

Ross allowed one hit in six innings of work yesterday, and honestly, I can recall only one time when Ross left one over the plate and missed badly. In the first, with Justin Upton on first, he had Yonder Alonso 2-1 and offered up a fastball that caught too much plate. Alonso flew out to deep right and that was it. In that at-bat, Ross had worked Alonso off the plate with a fastball in, and it was a good strategy to go outside after that. The pitch wasn’t where he wanted it, and Ross got lucky.

There you go. That’s Ross’ night. The Padres one hit was a bunt by Cory Spangenberg and he scored only because Wilson Ramos’ was wild. If Bryce Harper doesn’t double clutch he probably nails Spangenberg at third and the Padres don’t even score on Yangervis Solarte’s sac fly one pitch later.

On the night, Ross threw six innings and allowed one unearned run on one hit (a bunt, yeesh!) and two walks while striking out seven.

Oh, and thank you Anthony Rendon for this:

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     2 2.60
##      Sinker    50 64.9
##      Slider    25 32.5

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1  2 3 4 5 6
## Changeup  0  1 0 0 0 1
## Sinker   10 11 5 9 9 6
## Slider    2  3 3 8 3 6

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Sinker Slider
## Ball                   1     22      6
## Called Strike          0     12      6
## Foul                   0      5      1
## Foul Bunt              0      1      0
## Foul Tip               0      1      0
## In play, no out        0      1      0
## In play, out(s)        1      5      4
## In play, run(s)        0      1      0
## Swinging Strike        0      2      8

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Changeup Sinker Slider
## Flyout           1      0      0
## Groundout        0      4      3
## Lineout          0      1      1
## Sac Fly          0      1      0
## Single           0      1      0
## Strikeout        0      1      6
## Walk             0      2      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   50.65         49.35     16.21     37.51

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           1      0.00      1.00
##      Sinker      25          25    0.0800     0.440
##      Slider      13          12     0.500     0.538

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Sinker Slider
## Called Strike        0      2
## Swinging Strike      1      4

Standard Batting Lines Against Joseph Ross

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##     Alexi  Amarista  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##     Andrew  Cashner  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##      Austin  Hedges  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##         B.J. Upton  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##   Cory  Spangenberg  3  3 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      10
##       Justin  Upton  2  1 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.500 0.000       9
##   Travis  Jankowski  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##  Yangervis  Solarte  3  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  1 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##      Yonder  Alonso  2  1 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.000 0.500 0.000       9
## 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 87.3 87.5 87.7   -9.210     4.035       -8.396         2.688
##      Sinker 91.4 94.2 96.8   -9.415     5.910       -8.490         4.809
##      Slider 81.6 84.2 86.6   -1.159    0.6416      0.02521       -0.8904

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:

2015-08-28_Joseph Ross_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-28_Joseph Ross_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-28_Joseph Ross_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-28_Joseph Ross_Batters

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