Feierabend’s Learning Curve
When you don’t have time to write 10,000 words, draw a picture. Here’s today’s:
It’s the same pitch-by-pitch graph I did for Morrow and RR-S over the weekend, but this time, it’s comparing Ryan Feierabend’s start yesterday with Jarrod Washburn’s last start in Cleveland. I think the graph helps illustrate one of the main things that Feierabend is going to have to work on: keeping hitters off balance, and this won’t show up in average velocity readings.
Washburn and Feierabend have nearly identical average velocities on most of their pitches – they’re both 85-90 with the fastball, 75-80 with both their breaking ball and change-ups. However, as you can see in the graphs above, Feierabend is much, much more consistent with his velocities – there’s basically nothing in that 80-85 range all game. Washburn, on the other hand, has a much greater variety, with a far more random scattering of pitches than Feierabend’s fast-or-slow approach.
This is basically what people mean when they talk about keeping hitters off balance. It’s not just about mixing your pitches (though that’s important too), but mixing velocities within your pitches. This is what Feierabend needs to get better at.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Feierabend needs to learn from Jarrod Washburn. Washburn really represents his upside – a pitch to contact flyball lefty who looks okay in front of good defenses and in a generous home park – so emulating Jarrod isn’t a bad idea for him. With a little bit of work, Feierabend could basically replicate what the Mariners think they’ll get from Washburn next year, and hopefully, if he improves the final month, the team will realize that Wash is simply not worth $10 million to this organization when he’s so easily replaced.