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

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