Pitch Type Leaderboards
If you didn’t already think fangraphs was awesome, they’ve now gone and really done it – they’ve added pitch type and velocity data from Baseball Info Solutions for every pitcher in the game. They even included a leaderboard.
Among pitchers who threw 100 innings last year, Felix Hernandez’s fastball clocked in #1 at 95.6 MPH. His slider also clocked in #1 at 88.3 MPH. His curveball? #1, 82.2 MPH. His change-up slacked off, coming in #3 (86.6 MPH), behind A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett. Moral of the story? Felix throws really hard.
Also, being able to throw a hard change-up is a tremendous asset. Here’s the list of 100 IP guys that throw their change at 84.0 MPH or higher: Burnett, Beckett, Felix, McGowan, Cain, Edwin Jackson (USSM approved offseason acquisition), Millwood, Escobar, Sabathia, Gaudin, Ramon Ortiz (the hilarious outlier on this list), Penny, Sheets, Lincecum, Billingsley, Peavy, Cabrera, Sosa, Smoltz, Snell, Greinke, and Bannister. That’s one hell of a list.
The patron saint of mixing up his pitches – Jesse Litsch. 19% fastballs, 11% sliders, 40% cutters, 16% curveballs, and 13% change-ups. The only other guy I found that came close to throwing five different pitches at least 10% of the time – Shaun Marcum. Marcum and Litsch are teammates in Toronto. Raise your hands if you think that’s a coincidence.
Speaking of Jesse Litsch, he’s the only guy who threw more cutters than Miguel Batista last year. If you’re wondering why Batista’s groundball rate fell in 2007 from his previous career norms, the cut fastball is why. He threw it 28% of the time in 2005, 26% of the time in 2006, and 39% of the time last year. Also, if you look at Batista’s velocity readings over the last three years, he’s clearly losing a tick off each of his pitches. We’re watching the evolution of a guy learning to pitch differently as his stuff deteriorates.
Mariano Rivera: 26.7% fastballs, 73.3% cutters. The average velocity on the fastball is 93.2, and the average velocity on the cutter is 93.6. 99.9% of the time, Mariano Rivera is going to throw a low to mid 90s fastball with movement, and hitters still can’t do anything with it. It’s really incredible.
And, finally, if you don’t think the M’s have an organizational mental image of what a reliever looks like, I present this page. Among the top 24 relievers in percentage of fastball thrown, we find Brandon Morrow, Jason Davis, Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz, and Rafael Soriano all in pretty close vicinity to each other. All five also throw a power slider, while Putz and Morrow mix in some splitters. Putz, Thornton, and Davis all have the same body type to boot. If you’re 6’5, throw hard, and have a slider, the M’s are probably interested in sticking you in the 8th inning of ballgames.
Jeff Sullivan has some more fun Mariner tidbits from this stuff over at LL. I heart fangraphs.