Aug 26

Stephen Strasburg: About Last Night (August 25)

Last night for the Nationals was like watching a game where we were reminded of how this season was supposed to go for the team. Stephen Strasburg (8-6) was on the hill and tossing 97-mph bullets. The actual, projected lineup was on the field. Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Wilson Ramos all hit. Zimmerman and Ramos hit with power. Ian Desmond even recorded two hits and didn’t make any errors.

It was glorious!

What’s the worse you can say about Strasburg’s evening? He grooved a first pitch fastball to Jedd Gyorko in the second? Gyorko came into that game hitting .237 with eight home runs. A guy like Strasburg should challenge a batter like Gyorko. I find it encouraging that he did because it means he trusts his fastball. He trusted it enough to blow away Derek Norris with a 98-mph heater up and in one batter later.

Strasburg allowed two hits to the Padres. Both came to start the second, and then the Padres bats went ice cold. That wasn’t because they couldn’t hit. It’s difficult to find a successful approach at the plate when the starting pitcher is cranking it up high 90s and then brings that hammer curve. Strasburg really only threw the curve, which did have nasty bite last night, a few times and mostly saving those for Matt Kemp and Gyorko the second time up. His strikeout of Yonder Alonso in the fourth came on a curve but without the big break. Everyone else largely saw fastballs. And they did nothing with them.

Let me take this moment to also say I had no idea that Gyorko was from West Virginia. Thanks Bob Carpenter for that bit of information! How did I miss this? He went to WVU (my current graduate school). I’m glad Gyorko hit two home runs last night. Hit more of them. In this series. You’ve earned it, buddy. I’m going directly to Baseball Reference and searching on WV players.

I feel cheated.

We’re probably at the point where we can say that Strasburg is back. It’s not one of those aww, shucks, he’s having a moment type games. This guy is dealing. Over his last four starts, since returning from the disabled list, Strasburg has thrown 26 innings and allowed five earned runs on 14 hits and three walks with 32 strikeouts. That’s an ERA of 1.73, and if I were smart enough to figure out FIP it’d be fairly close I imagine. Fielding independent? Can’t get more independent than striking out more than a batter per inning.

If there’s anything I’m surprised about last night was that Strasburg actually walked someone. He was throwing strikes all night. He walked Kemp in the first, so I guess he was still working on his location. Other than that it seemed like he started every batter with a strike and with heat. Here you go. Do something with it. Technically, Strasburg started 13 of 21 batters off with strikes, but I’m building an emotion here.

On the night, Strasburg threw six innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk while striking out seven.

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

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     8 7.84
##   Curveball    20 19.6
##    Fourseam    65 63.7
##    Two-seam     9 8.82

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1  2 3 4  5  6
## Changeup   0  1 3 2  1  1
## Curveball  5  2 2 7  2  2
## Fourseam  10 10 7 8 15 15
## Two-seam   3  3 1 1  1  0

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Fourseam Two-seam
## Ball                   5        11       19        2
## Called Strike          1         5       11        3
## Foul                   1         1       15        3
## In play, no out        0         0        1        0
## In play, out(s)        1         1        9        0
## In play, run(s)        0         0        1        0
## Swinging Strike        0         2        9        1

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##           Changeup Curveball Fourseam
## Flyout           0         0        1
## Groundout        0         1        4
## Home Run         0         0        1
## Lineout          0         0        1
## Pop Out          1         0        3
## Single           0         0        1
## Strikeout        0         2        5
## Walk             0         0        1

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   54.90         45.10     26.61     58.29

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           4      0.00     0.500
##   Curveball      10          10      0.00     0.400
##    Fourseam      37          28     0.393     0.622
##    Two-seam       5           4     0.250     0.600

Strikeouts by Description

##                 Curveball Fourseam
## Called Strike           1        1
## Swinging Strike         1        4

Standard Batting Lines Against Stephen Strasburg

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##   Cory  Spangenberg  3  3 0  0  0  0 2  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      15
##       Derek  Norris  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      11
##      James  Shields  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       8
##        Jedd  Gyorko  2  2 1  0  0  1 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 2.000       7
##       Justin  Upton  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##          Matt  Kemp  3  2 0  0  0  0 1  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000      19
##   Travis  Jankowski  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      12
##  Yangervis  Solarte  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      10
##      Yonder  Alonso  2  2 1  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500      11
## 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 88.1 89.2 90.6   -9.919     2.446       -9.509         1.014
##   Curveball 81.9 83.7 86.2    6.392    -5.208        7.082        -6.610
##    Fourseam 94.2 96.8 98.7   -6.328     9.060       -5.748         7.971
##    Two-seam 96.0 96.8 97.8   -7.968     7.738       -7.509         6.862

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_Stephen Strasburg_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-08-26_Stephen Strasburg_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-08-26_Stephen Strasburg_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-08-26_Stephen Strasburg_Batters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.