Jamie Moyer is 49 years old, coming off Tommy John surgery and is trying to make a team that plays its home games nearly a mile above sea level. As far as odds go, the lefty seemingly has as good a chance of succeeding as a Kardashian has at winning a MacArthur genius award. Yet Moyer's quest to become the oldest player to ever win a MLB game did at least get off to a good start yesterday: he tossed two scoreless innings against the Giants, whiffing one.
Despite possessing a fastball that opponents getting beaned might mistake for a gentle breeze, Moyer managed to be a nearly league-average starter in his mid-to-late forties. He had a 97 ERA+ from 2008-10, though that figure did dip each year (118 ERA+ in '08, 85 in '09, 84 in '10). The former Cub, Ranger, Cardinal, Oriole, Red Sock, Mariner and Phillie avoided slaughter with his beer-league softball velocity by avoiding the fat part of the plate. Check out his pitch location since 2008, compared to the league average for lefty starters:
Moyer avoids the center of the strike zone like few others. In fact, he's second only to another extreme soft-tosser when it comes to the lowest percentage of pitches thrown down the horizontal middle of the zone:
Lowest percentage of pitches thrown down horizontal middle of plate, 2008-present
|Pitcher||Pct. Of Pitches Thrown Down Middle|
|MLB Avg. for SP||24.6%|
It shouldn't come as any surprise that when Moyer does miss down the middle with his BP velocity, he gets thrashed: opponents bopped him for a .544 slugging percentage on middle pitches from 2008-10. Coors is hardly the easiest place for Moyer to one-up Phil Niekro and Jack Quinn old dude win column, but maybe he has a chance if he can keep avoiding hitters' wheelhouse.