A Tale Of Two Fisters

Dave · July 16, 2010 at 11:40 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Doug Fister, first nine starts of 2010:

BB%: 4.1%
K%: 10.7%
Strike%: 64%

Doug Fister, last five starts of 2010:

BB%: 5.6%
K%: 12.1%
Strike%: 67%

Effectively, Fister’s pitching exactly the same as he was earlier in the season. The difference? His first nine starts, he had a .235 batting average on balls in play, and his last five starts, its .337. Balls that were being hit at people are now finding holes.

He wasn’t an ace in April, and he’s not junk now. He is what he is; a strike-throwing back-end starter whose performance will fluctuate with the randomness of BABIP. Don’t worry about his recent struggles too much. Just like his early season success, it won’t last.

Comments

24 Responses to “A Tale Of Two Fisters”

  1. scott19 on July 16th, 2010 12:07 pm

    Fister reminds me of guys like Doyle Alexander or John Burkett from years ago…not an “ace” (although both of those guys had their one or two near-”ace” seasons), also not a soup can…but a guy who, if healthy, could have a decent career as a reliable 4-5 (or, possibly 3-5) starter.

  2. msfanmike on July 16th, 2010 12:15 pm

    Dave, Could his command within the strike zone be the issue? There have been several comments by Wak that “command” is the problem. Wak’s point being (I believe) that not being able to throw the ball within a specific area of the strike zone – results in an easier pitch for the batter to do something with … thus, more hits (even though Fister’s BB%, K% and Strike % are remaining static).

    This assumption (in concert with “luck”) could be working in unison – couldn’t they?

  3. Gibbo on July 16th, 2010 12:21 pm

    What is the accepted average for pitchers and BABIP? I understand it is random and fluctuates but curious about what the yard stick is.

    I am hoping that we trade Fister over the off season… we have so many #5 SP’ers that maybe another GM will value him as a possible 4 guy, solid strike throwing pitcher and slightly overpay.

  4. Carson on July 16th, 2010 12:21 pm

    Dave, Could his command within the strike zone be the issue?

    As shown in Dave’s post, his strike percentage is actually a tick higher now. So, no.

  5. Liam on July 16th, 2010 12:22 pm

    It was the best of BABIP, it was the worst of BABIP.

    What is the accepted average for pitchers and BABIP?

    .300

  6. Carson on July 16th, 2010 12:22 pm

    Nevermind my post above. I can’t read, apparently.

  7. msfanmike on July 16th, 2010 12:28 pm

    As shown in Dave’s post, his strike percentage is actually a tick higher now. So, no.

    Carson, not to belabor the point, but a pee thrown at the knee on the black … is much harder to hit than a center cut fastball down broadway. Both would be strikes – but one is much harder to hit. Wouldn’t you agree? Is this maybe Wak’s point?

    A fair point for him to make I might add.

  8. msfanmike on July 16th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Never mind my post above. I can’t read, apparently

    Messages crossed paths in the cyber world (or I, too – cannot read). I think we are all on the same page now.

    “Command” within the zone is different than hitting the “Zone.” The strike thrown stat% sometimes is misleading in this regard.

  9. GoldenGutz on July 16th, 2010 12:36 pm

    Blowers mentioned a good point yesterday. He isn’t getting the ball down and when you throw 88-90 you need to get the ball down. I’m pretty sure this may be a reason for a dramatic increase in BABIP.

  10. msfanmike on July 16th, 2010 12:41 pm

    He isn’t getting the ball down and when you throw 88-90 you need to get the ball down. I’m pretty sure this may be a reason for a dramatic increase in BABIP.

    I agree with you. What would be interesting to see from the “stat” perspective is the % of pitches Fister has been throwing within that 9 square checkerboard pattern of the plate for his two periods of performance. You know the one I am referring to? FSN sometimes flashes it to show how a hitter performs within specific areas of the strike zone. The one that shows Branayn hitting .000 on the high, inside corner strikes and about .555 on pitches down the middle – center cut. Prime Rib (or within our context RBI) territory.

    Both strikes — one much harder to hit than the other.

    That would be an interesting stat to analyze at this point. It might be able to prove or disprove Wak’s statements about “command” being the issue.

  11. spankystout on July 16th, 2010 12:48 pm

    Dave was right to compare Fister to Silva a while ago. Was Silva effective up in the zone? Is Fister effective up in the zone? I’m watching the replay right now and his pitches are mid thigh or higher. And he is getting hit around. Howie Kendricks 2nd inning double was supposed to be outside, it ran back to the inner third and was just above the belt. Just for an example.

  12. Dobbs on July 16th, 2010 1:08 pm

    A Tale of Two Fisters

    Sounds like a yet-to-be-made porn movie.

  13. nathaniel dawson on July 16th, 2010 1:16 pm

    I’m curious about that.I’m not sure what the difference would be in BABIP when a pitcher gets his ball up in the zone versus when he gets the ball down. Do higher pitches result in more line drives?

  14. Westside guy on July 16th, 2010 1:32 pm

    Blowers mentioned a good point yesterday. He isn’t getting the ball down and when you throw 88-90 you need to get the ball down. I’m pretty sure this may be a reason for a dramatic increase in BABIP.

    I’ve got nothing against Blowers, and it’s an interesting theory – but I’d want to see some evidence that Fister’s pitch locations have actually changed.

  15. msfanmike on July 16th, 2010 1:45 pm

    I’ve got nothing against Blowers, and it’s an interesting theory – but I’d want to see some evidence that Fister’s pitch locations have actually changed.

    Exactly. There must be an “app” for that

    I’m curious about that.I’m not sure what the difference would be in BABIP when a pitcher gets his ball up in the zone versus when he gets the ball down. Do higher pitches result in more line drives?

    When you are coaching kids (any age) and teaching or instructing them how to play … you can keep things simple for your pitchers. They need to be able to hit 2-spots: Up and in – and low and away. This is a gross over-simplification of pitching, but you can boil it down to the basics … and these are the basics – at all levels. It is harder (on average) to hit pitches in these two areas of the strike zone.

    You tell your hitters the same thing in a different way: Get a good pitch to hit … lay off the up and in’s and the lows and away.

    As far as the pitch “up” being easier to hit: Yes, but it depends on how hard it is being thrown and how high “up” it is. If you can get “on top of it” you can hit it on a line. The natural swing plane of the bat (high to low and finishing high) defines a little different sweet spot for every hitter though, but generally speaking, it is easier to see and to hit a ball that is “up” than it is to hit a ball that is “down.” Left handers (at many different levels) are a noted exception. Left handers tend to always be able to mash the ball down and on the inner half. Nobody knows why — they are left handed and they tend do everything backward. That and already being in a hurry to get to 1B with their swing attempt being at a pitch in a location that provides the impetus to send them on their way down the basepath. I didn’t hit from that side of the plate … so I don’t know for sure. Rampant, mutant, contagious interpretation/guesstimation on my part.

  16. Chris_From_Bothell on July 16th, 2010 2:44 pm

    How worried should we be about his shoulder fatigue? Shut him down early?

  17. Badbadger on July 16th, 2010 3:04 pm

    I’m curious about that.I’m not sure what the difference would be in BABIP when a pitcher gets his ball up in the zone versus when he gets the ball down. Do higher pitches result in more line drives?

    I would think they must. If you look at those charts that give players batting average by different parts of the strike zone they all have certain areas they hit more than others, and pretty much all of them hit balls right down the middle. Pitch location must have some fairly significant influence on batting average on balls in play.

  18. spankystout on July 16th, 2010 3:05 pm

    Fister threw 173ip last year, he is at 90ip this year. He should be able to finish the season.

  19. david h on July 16th, 2010 3:22 pm

    There must be an “app” for that

    I’m no expert at digging up and presenting this info, so I’ll just present this limited bit, comparing last night’s start to May 25, against Detroit, a 7 inning, 9 hit, 1 K, 0 BB, 2 R outing.

    Last night

    May 25

    He was more consistently on the corners on May 25 than last night, but still left a bunch right down the middle. Not much difference to my eyes in elevation, though.

  20. Liam on July 16th, 2010 3:25 pm

    Fister me once, shame on you;
    Fister me twice, shame on me.

  21. GoldenGutz on July 16th, 2010 4:43 pm

    Hmm, because it seemed like he was throwing a lot more up in the zone. Usually his only pitches that were down in the zone were the breaking pitches. But as you already said he was getting too much plate and wasn’t hitting the corners.

  22. Paul B on July 16th, 2010 5:16 pm

    Over at LL, Jeff had a post about Fister, his observation:

    For three starts in a row, now, Fister’s fastball has gotten slower as the game has worn on, which isn’t something we really saw from him before he went on the DL.

    If that is it, then we would expect Fister to get hit around more in the later innings than he was earlier in the year.

  23. msfanmike on July 16th, 2010 6:10 pm

    If that is it, then we would expect Fister to get hit around more in the later innings than he was earlier in the year.

    Certainly a reasonable assumption to make; although the small sample size of last night being what it was as a mutually exclusive event … he did give up 4 runs in the first 2 innings.

    I am willing to concede that Wak and Blo have it right. Location/command is currently not as crisp as it was. He can get it back (Dave is right). His height and down-angle on his pitches is going to carry him. The lower in the strike zone he can keep the pitches (with movement) the more severe the “down angle” … and the harder to hit – or so goes the theory.

    At Dave V: Thanks for locating and providing that “app.” The key differences between the two are hard to quantify based on what I saw and my old man eyes trying to distinguish one color from another, but pitch velocity and the specific count on any given pitch would also be useful information for analysis purposes. Not that I would care to do it, but it would be useful in helping to paint a more complete picture.

    Or, we could just listen to Wak and Blo.

  24. jordan on July 17th, 2010 10:32 am

    What I have noticed that has no data to help my point is that he is not locating the ball within the strike zone as well as he was his first nine starts.

    In his first nine starts he was painting corners a lot better, seems like the ball is getting up on him a bit, and he is throwing a lot more pitching right down the middle. And when he is throwing 89MPH, thats going to get hit.

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