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Sep 05

Tanner Roark: About Last Night (September 04)

The five or six of you that read my posts regularly know that I’m a huge fan of Tanner Roark. I’ve said it many times. Personally I think he should be a regular in the Nationals rotation, but I understand the reasoning for using Joe Ross as the fifth starter. Roark did everything asked of him last season, and if not for one stupid fastball a little too far inside to Brandon Belt in Game 2 of the NLDS we’d probably think of ’14 a little differently. Maybe next season he’ll get his opportunity to show what he can do, again, but for 2015 I’ll just have to enjoy the few times Roark is called up from the minors for spot starts.

I’m a fan of Roark, but I feel as if I hardly recognize this version. His fastball is sitting regularly in the 94 to 95-mph range, his pitches are elevated, and he mixes speeds as well as I mix drinks: with good intentions but typically ends up with piss poor results. The movement is sometimes there with his two-seamer, but you see it more prominently when he’s pitching at a more controlled, reasonable speed, somewhere in the 92-93 mph range. Interestingly enough, in the first inning I started thinking that Roark is throwing too hard. That in itself isn’t interesting. I think lots of thing. What is interesting, however, is that when Roark is hitting 94-mph on the gun his fastball straightens up and becomes extremely hittable. Like batting practice hittable.  After Freddie Freeman drove one off the right-centerfield wall F.P. Santangelo mentioned how at a slower speed Roark’s pitch works better with more run, so at least there are two of us that think as much. Typically you don’t hear someone say a pitcher is throwing too hard, but there you have it. Me and Santangelo think as much, which means it’s true.

As a side note, Roark was throwing as hard in this game as Jacob deGrom was throwing in his start down in Miami. Either the radar guns are completely useless, or Roark was muscling up and putting too much sauce on it.

In this start, Roark was okay.  With a quick move in the first inning he picked off Cameron Maybin at first. Maybin was probably safe, however, as he stopped short and looked to narrowly avoid Ryan Zimmerman’s tag. It was a good play by Maybin, but Fredi Gonzalez decided to not challenge, and it likely cost him a run. The play reminded me of this little gem from back when I was a kid:

Or, if you prefer to stick with the Nats, here’s a similar slide by Jayson Werth:

Freeman tattooed one off the wall on a pitch that was begging to be given the Bryce Harper upper deck treatment, Roark hit A.J. Pierzynski on the elbow, and now there are two on with two outs instead of either a run in with one out or bases loaded with one out. Adonis Garcia hit a ball to Ian Desmond that would have been an easy two, which makes this whole paragraph useless, but considering I’m working under a faulty premise that every action would have led to the exact same result I can’t really change up my argument now can I? Whatever.  I heard Robert Preston in my head telling the people ya got trouble. All the youth frittering? There could have been trouble is what I’m saying.

In the third a walk to Nick Markakis and another laser beam off the bat of Freeman led to runners on the corners for Pierzynski to squib one down the third base line to score Markakis and the score was tied at one.

Roark’s night was complete after he walked Markakis with one out in the fourth, allowed a single to Maybin, then intentionally walked Freeman. Matt Williams wisely pulled him at that point for Matt Thornton.

It wasn’t a great night for Roark. With a few timely hits, the Braves could have piled up some runs, but with Roark’s pickoff of Maybin saving a run in the first and Williams smartly using his bullpen it allowed the Nats to hang in long enough to pull out the win. All in all, Roark pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and three walks (one intentional) and one hit batter while striking out one. For a spot start to give Stephen Strasburg’s back a chance to rest, the Nats must be ecstatic with the results.

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

Pitches by Type:

##        Pitch Type Count    %
##          Changeup     4 5.80
##         Curveball     8 11.6
##          Two-seam    47 68.1
##  Intentional Walk     4 5.80
##            Slider     6 8.70

Pitch Type by Inning

##                   1 2  3 4 5
## Changeup          0 0  2 1 1
## Curveball         2 1  2 3 0
## Two-seam         12 9 11 9 6
## Intentional Walk  0 0  0 0 4
## Slider            1 1  3 0 1

Pitches by Outcome:

##                 Changeup Curveball Two-seam Intentional Walk Slider
## Ball                   3         3       16                0      1
## Called Strike          0         1       13                0      0
## Foul                   0         1        6                0      1
## Foul Tip               0         0        0                0      1
## Hit By Pitch           0         0        1                0      0
## In play, no out        1         0        3                0      1
## In play, out(s)        0         1        8                0      2
## Intent Ball            0         0        0                4      0
## Swinging Strike        0         2        0                0      0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##              Changeup Curveball Two-seam Intentional Walk Slider
## Double              0         0        1                0      1
## Flyout              0         0        2                0      1
## Forceout            0         0        0                0      1
## Groundout           0         0        2                0      0
## Hit By Pitch        0         0        1                0      0
## Intent Walk         0         0        0                1      0
## Lineout             0         1        3                0      0
## Pop Out             0         0        1                0      0
## Single              1         0        2                0      0
## Strikeout           0         0        1                0      0
## Walk                0         0        2                0      0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   50.72         49.28     12.18     39.43

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           3      0.00      1.00
##         Curveball       4           4     0.250     0.750
##          Two-seam      27          20     0.200     0.481
##  Intentional Walk       0           4      0.00       NaN
##            Slider       3           3     0.333      1.00

Strikeouts by Description

##               Two-seam
## Called Strike        1

Standard Batting Lines Against Tanner Roark

##             Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG Pitches
##    A.J.  Pierzynski  2  1 1  0  0  0 0  0   1  0 1.000 1.000 1.000       6
##      Adonis  Garcia  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       6
##  Andrelton  Simmons  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000      11
##     Cameron  Maybin  3  3 2  1  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 1.000       6
##  Frederick Freeman  3  2 2  1  0  0 0  1   0  0 1.000 1.000 1.500       9
##      Jace  Peterson  2  2 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##      Julio  Teheran  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       4
##      Michael  Bourn  2  2 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000       9
##      Nick  Markakis  3  1 0  0  0  0 0  2   0  0 0.000 0.667 0.000      14


Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##        Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor
##          Changeup 82.5 83.3 84.0   -10.48     5.558       -9.835
##         Curveball 74.3 77.6 86.5    5.304    -6.636        6.268
##          Two-seam 90.6  93. 95.1   -8.131     7.164       -7.539
##  Intentional Walk 58.4 61.9 64.6   -4.830     7.100       -5.278
##            Slider 86.4 87.2 88.3    1.093     2.435        2.019
##  CRT Mean Vert
##          3.935
##         -8.210
##          6.022
##          6.333
##          1.107

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:

2015-09-05_Tanner Roark_BoxPlot

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

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-05_Tanner Roark_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-05_Tanner Roark_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-05_Tanner Roark_Batters

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