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Sep 13

Noah Syndergaard: About Last Night (September 12)

One of the things I love seeing in a baseball game is a pitcher breaking a hitter’s bat. It doesn’t necessarily indicate a pitcher is dominant, but doesn’t it seem that way? In one at-bat, at one distinct point in time, a pitcher has so thoroughly overmatched a helpless batter that his only defense against said pitcher is reduced to a useless haft of ash. Even better is when the batter is left staring at the broken bat handle in disbelief. I love that moment. Mariano Rivera used to break so many bats that he could have supplied restaurants in the Bronx with a lifetime supply of toothpicks from bat splinters, and if memory serves me right Greg Maddux made travel more expensive with all the extra bats brought along by visiting teams.

In last night’s game, Noah Syndergaard broke Andrelton Simmons bat. That’s understating it. Syndergaard reduced Simmons’ bat to a bat handle that could double as a shish kabob skewer and a bat head. It was glorious. After his at-bat, Simmons sat on the bench, his helmet still on, and stared off into space as if to ponder the greater mysteries of the universe. The first question to ask is how the hell do you hit a guy hitting 100-mph on the radar gun on one pitch, locating on the inside black, and capable of throwing a changeup in the high 80s. Simmons didn’t have an answer last night.

Few Braves did.

Last night was an interesting night for Syndergaard. He threw only a handful of curveballs, which is atypical, and he basically dominated the Braves with an overpowering fastball and changeups. If you’ve ever wondered what Bartolo Colon would be if he threw a little harder, last night was a perfect example. You know, he’d be okay.

The fourth inning sort of summarizes Syndergaard’s night. He made Freddie Freeman take such an ugly swing on a 3-2 fastball up and outside that Freeman looked both dismayed and incredulous that a pitch like that was allowed in the major leagues. Oh, yeah, that fastball was 100.3 mph with run. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Freeman looked like he wanted to cry at that moment. In the seventh, Syndergaard blew a 98-mph fastball past Freeman, then struck him out on a changeup that ended up outside and in the dirt. It was filthy. Freeman couldn’t get back to the dugout fast enough.

It wasn’t a perfect night. Syndergaard struggled in the first with his command, which is understandable given that he hadn’t started a game since August 30th against Boston. After a Freeman single plated Nick Markakis in the first, Syndergaard retired the next 11 Braves batters until Jace Peterson’s single to lead off the fifth. Michael Conforto threw Peterson out at second, however, as he tried to stretch it into a double, and then Syndergaard retired the remaining eight Braves that he saw.

Syndergaard regularly hit 99+ on the radar gun, and by my numbers he threw 12 pitches that hit 99 with another that hit 100.

So, umm, good luck with that.

It was also a night of good defense for the Mets. Conforto made a nice diving grab on a Bourn liner and gunned down Peterson. Daniel Murphy made a sweet diving play on a Markakis grounder. Oh, and apparently Yoenis Cespedes hit another home run, which now makes 16 that he’s hit with the Mets.

That was a pretty good trade, I guess.

On the night, Syndergaard threw seven innings and allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk while striking out eight.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup    25 26.6
##   Curveball     6 6.38
##    Fourseam    29 30.9
##      Sinker    26 27.7
##      Slider     8 8.51

Pitch Type by Inning

##           1 2 3 4 5 6 7
## Changeup  3 1 2 7 5 3 4
## Curveball 0 1 0 1 2 1 1
## Fourseam  7 5 7 3 4 1 2
## Sinker    8 3 3 3 3 2 4
## Slider    1 0 2 2 0 2 1

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Fourseam Sinker Slider
## Ball                             9         5        7      9      5
## Called Strike                    2         0        7      3      0
## Foul                             6         1        7      7      0
## Foul Tip                         0         0        1      0      0
## In play, out(s)                  3         0        3      6      1
## In play, run(s)                  0         0        1      0      0
## Swinging Strike                  4         0        3      1      1
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        1         0        0      0      1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Changeup Fourseam Sinker Slider
## Flyout           0        1      0      0
## Forceout         0        0      1      0
## Groundout        3        1      4      1
## Lineout          0        0      1      0
## Single           0        2      0      0
## Strikeout        3        4      0      1
## Walk             0        0      1      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   42.55         57.45     31.33     63.45

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       6          19     0.474     0.833
##   Curveball       1           5      0.00      1.00
##    Fourseam      20           9     0.222     0.550
##      Sinker      13          13     0.308     0.769
##      Slider       0           8     0.375       NaN

Strikeouts by Description

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

Standard Batting Lines Against Noah Syndergaard

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    A.J.  Pierzynski  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##  Andrelton  Simmons  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##  Frederick Freeman  3  3 1  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333      16
##     Hector  Olivera  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##      Jace  Peterson  2  2 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500       5
##      Michael  Bourn  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       7
##      Nick  Markakis  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      12
##       Nick  Swisher  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##      Pedro  Ciriaco  1  1 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       1
##     Williams  Perez  1  1 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 87.8 89.7 91.3   -8.542     3.140       -8.607         1.876
##   Curveball 85.4  87. 88.7    3.142    -1.780        3.238        -3.150
##    Fourseam 97.1 98.6 100.   -2.938     9.601       -2.837         8.485
##      Sinker 92.9 97.7 99.9   -7.058     7.584       -7.095         6.456
##      Slider 88.0 88.6 89.1    2.821   -0.4237        3.211        -1.873

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:

2015-09-13_Noah Syndergaard_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-13_Noah Syndergaard_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-13_Noah Syndergaard_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-13_Noah Syndergaard_Batters

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