Lookout Landing

Dave · May 23, 2005 at 7:18 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I’ve plugged Jeff Sullivan’s blog several times before, but it bears repeating: if you’re not reading his stuff, you’re really missing out. He used mlb.TV and screen captures to break down Aaron Sele’s release point change from his starts against the Yankees and the Padres, and he’s doing great work all around over there.

Seriously, go check it out. It’s good stuff.


7 Responses to “Lookout Landing”

  1. roger tang on May 23rd, 2005 9:15 am

    No kidding. Very nice analysis, both from a stathead and a traditional standpoint (you can’t get more traditional than the analysis of Sele’s motion). Whether or not the change can result in a renewed effectiveness for Sele is up for grabs, but those observation is an object lesson in showing how minor changes in mechanics can result in major changes in results. And THAT may be a reason to hang onto Sele, much as his past stats have argued against it.

    Good stuff all around.

  2. Daaaaan on May 23rd, 2005 12:09 pm

    Good read, except for the part where he says sexson is slumping but forgets to to review his situational hitting.

    Sexson with nobody on (80 AB): .200/.312/.400
    With runners on (61 AB): .295/.389/.738
    With RISP (39 AB): .333/.426/.795

    I could care less what his non-situational stats are like – if he’s going to hit like that with runners on, the issue is the people in front of him aren’t getting on base.

  3. Dave on May 23rd, 2005 12:20 pm

    …if he’s going to hit like that with runners on, the issue is the people in front of him aren’t getting on base.

    He’s not going to hit like that with runners on, so he is slumping. Looking at situational stats and trying to infer a continuable talent is a great way to get misled by numbers.

  4. Conor Glassey on May 23rd, 2005 12:34 pm

    What’s funny is, I saw those release-point things and thought to myself, “If this doesn’t get a plug on USS Mariner, I don’t know what will!”

    I agree – Lookout Landing is awesome. As Mariners’ fans, we may have the unfortune of having to watch the Mariners, but at least we have some great blogs to read!

  5. Noel on May 23rd, 2005 2:23 pm

    Jeff Sullivan notes in his Lookout Landing game analysis that Sele “was pounding the strike zone and getting ahead in the count”.

    Sele did start with Strike-1 19 times (counting four times the batter put the first pitch in play) as opposed to starting with Ball-1 only 11 times.

    However, he needs to improve his pitch selection for the second pitch of an at-bat. When he started with Strike-1, he went Strike-1 Strike-2 only 4 times, but went Strike-1 Ball-1 11 times.

    Conversely, when he started with Ball-1, he came back with a strike almost every time: he went Ball-1 Ball-2 only twice, but went Ball-1 Strike-1 9 times.

    This shows that Sele will throw the second pitch of an at-bat for a strike when he needs to (even though the batter is expecting a strike on that pitch). So in future he should also throw the second pitch for a strike even when he’s already ahead. If he can go Ball-1 Strike-1 and get away with it, then he ought to trust himself and try to go Strike-1 Strike-2 more often.

    Some relevant quotes from a recent Fox article at http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/3626914 :

    “John Garland of the White Sox, who is off to a great start at 8-0, [said] recently that the biggest difference in his approach to the game this year is that he’s learned the importance of getting ahead of hitters.”

    “Maury Wills once said that the best way to keep him from stealing a base was to throw strike one and then strike two.”

  6. JPWood on May 23rd, 2005 4:20 pm

    Sele was getting ahead in the count and then often trying to draw hitters just off the plate with look-alike pitches, and he was successful enough doing it to get the streaking Padres to swat mostly groundballs.
    Sele is not a power pitcher and will rarely go to pitching strike 1-2 since he has basically just half the strike zone to be safe in. He has to finesse and, like in bridge, he counts his cards/pitches. Last night he did just fine. An average 12.3 pitches per inning is not fishing, and doesn’t really call for a Maury Wells approach.

  7. Noel on May 23rd, 2005 9:17 pm

    #6: If Sele was “trying to draw hitters just off the plate with look-alike pitches”, then the Padres hitters weren’t fooled.

    If we look at what they did after Sele had already thrown Strike 1, the results on his second pitch were: Strike Looking twice; Strike Swinging zero times; Foul zero times; Ball In Play twice; and Ball 11 times.

    Even being behind in the count 0-1, the Padres still only swung at the second pitch 2 out of 15 times. Sele (and Borders) should have seen that and taken advantage of it by throwing more strikes on the second pitch.

    I’m not saying he and Borders didn’t pitch a good game – they obviously did – but it could have been better.

    Now if he pitches against a free-swinging team in the future, then by all means throw off the plate, and let the hitters swing at balls out of the zone… but that’s a different scenario.