Three views of a start
I’ve been playing with the Pitch FX data from Felix’s last start. This is the first time I’ve used Pitch FX data like this (Dave, obviously, is a little more familiar). I ask for forgiveness in advance if I’ve flipped an axis or something similar.
Velocity: this is the speed of the pitch as it leaves his hand
L-R break: this is taken from “pfx_x”. Positive is to the catcher’s right, negative to the catcher’s left.
Vertical break: this is taken from “pfx_z”. Positive numbers mean it rises, negative that it drops.
I mention that because the way break is handled will seem a little weird. It’s measured from a straight line, for instance, not from an average pitch. And for vertical break, gravity’s effect is removed, so you’re measuring is how much more or less the ball moved.
So this is easy:
You can almost label the pitch groups there. We’re all familiar with that. Two more, then:
I don’t think I’d seen that chart done before: the grouping’s not nearly as neat, but the fast ball came in to righties.
Then both movements:
You can see the huge difference in how his stuff can move, and this is part of why Dave’s been so passionate about the need to mix the pitches up. There’s a huge grouping of pitches there with essentially similar overall movement and then the really sweet breaking stuff forms an outlier. If the movement on those pitches is the same, then varying velocity becomes a necessity for success. And moreover, if there’s one set of pitches come in and up and another pitch that drops wickedly and runs the other way, that’s a huge potential weapon that can also be better used.