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« Homers by Lefties, Here, There, But Not Everywhere | Main | Matt Moore is Getting Hit. Hard. What Gives? »
Monday
Jun102013

The Inside Scoop: Verlander (2011) versus Verlander (2013)

I know it's unfair to compare any pitcher to the 2011 AL Cy Young Award and MVP winning Justin Verlander even if it's Verlander himself.

Then again, Verlander wasn't fair to opposing batters in 2011 so perhaps he's due to get this examination of his current status.

Verlander in 2011

In 2011: 

  • Batters hit .197 against Verlander
  • Had a .242 OBP
  • Slugged .313
  • Resulting in a nasty .555 OPS.
  • On top of that, batters struck out 25.8% of the time while walking just 5.9%.

Verlander in 2013

In 2013:

  • Batters have hit .262 against Verlander
  • Have a .319 OBP
  • Slugged .380
  • Resulting in a pretty human .699 OPS.
  • Batters have struck out even a more frequently 27.2% of the time while walking 7.6%.

So what's the difference?

Let's compare the first 13 starts of 2011 with the 13 starts V has made this season. 

  • In 2011, Verlander threw 1490 pitches.
  • In 2013, Verlander has thrown 1385 pitches. 

 As you can see, Verlander is not getting away with inside pitches this season as compared to 2011. 

 

  • On inside pitches in 2011, Verlander held batters to a .153 batting average.
  • On inside pitches in 2013, batters are hitting .309 against V.

 

Let's talk fastballs

Comparing the 13 starts from 2011 to 2013:

  • In 2011, Verlander threw 806 fastballs.
  • In 2013, Verlander threw 535 fastballs.
  • In 2011, batters hit .197 against Verlander's fastballs.
  • In 2013, batters have hit .296 against Verlander's fastballs.
  • In 2011, Verlander's fastballs averaged 95.2 with a maximum velocity of 101.0.
  • In 2013, Verlander's fastballs averaged 93.6 with a maximum velocity of 99.3.
  • In 2011, Verlander threw 642 fastballs that were 95+ mph.
  • In 2013, Verlander has thrown 260 fastballs that were 95+ mph.

Let's talk changeups

Comparing the 13 starts from 2011 to 2013:

  • In 2011, Verlander threw 262 changeups.
  • In 2013, Verlander has thrown 486 changeups.
  • In 2011, batters hit .258 against Verlander's changeups.
  • In 2013, batters have hit .289 against Verlander's changeups.
  • In 2011, Verlander's changeups averaged 86.3.
  • In 2013, Verlander's changeups averaged 86.6.
  • In 2011, the difference in the speed of Verlander's fastballs and changeup was 8.9 mph.
  • In 2013, the difference in the speed of Verlander's fastballs and changeup is 7 mph.

Change

Miss

Foul

Chase

2011

36.6%

31.0%

42.4%

2013

26.3%

34.9%

30.6%

Let's talk curveballs

Comparing the 13 starts from 2011 to 2013:

  • In 2011, Verlander threw 273 curveballs.
  • In 2013, Verlander has thrown 172 curveballs.
  • In 2011, batters hit .125 against Verlander's curveballs.
  • In 2013, batters have hit .148 against Verlander's curveballs.
  • In 2011, Verlander's curveballs averaged 79.1.
  • In 2013, Verlander's curveballs averaged 78.5.
  • In 2011, the difference in the speed of Verlander's fastballs and curveballs was 16.1 mph.
  • In 2013, the difference in the speed of Verlander's fastballs and curveballs is 15.1 mph.

Bottom line

Verlander's fastball has slowed down enough that it is less effective. The speed differential between his speed and offspeed pitches has decreased and as a result batters are not being fooled as frequently.

I for one will be watching to see if Verlander will amp it up as the weather gets warmer, whether this is just a 30-year old pitcher with 1600+ innings in the tank, or is there something bothering him?

 

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    The Inside Scoop: Verlander (2011) versus Verlander (2013) - Baseball Analytics Blog - MLB Baseball Analytics