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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Friday
Apr292011

Scherzer's Slider

In the middle of May 2010, Max Scherzer (DET) discovered a flaw in his delivery while watching video.  Before he could tell the Tigers staff, he was demoted to the minor leagues, where he fixed the flaw. When Max returned two week later he started amassing high strikeout totals.  What's changed the most for Scherzer since his return is the slider.

Max Scherzer's slider, location and movement, 2008-May 14, 2010.Note that the location of his slider (on the left) is mostly in the strike zone.  It's a hittable pitch.  Since returning from the minor league assignment, he gets the slider down more.

Max Scherzer's slider, location and movement, since May 30, 2010.Scherzer now throws the pitch out of the strike zone frequently.  You'll notice on the movement, the vertical component often goes lower than the previously.  The result is a very good .282 wOBA on the pitch before the he fixed flaw dropped to an excellent .207.  In addition  he now gets a 29.6% strikeout rate with the pitch as compared to 20.5% before.  Max's slider is now a great out pitch.

Thursday
Apr282011

What's Wrong with Liriano?

Francisco Liriano (MIN) turned in a stellar 2010 season, but through five starts in 2011 his ERA stands at 9.13.  His control is poor and he allowed nearly half his 2010 home run total.  The most glaring difference between 2010 and 2011 for Liriano is a drop of velocity on his fastball:

Francisco Liriano, fastball graph, 2010-2011.His velocity dropped about 1.5 MPH from 2010, down to 92 MPH on average.  While batters made contact with his fastball often last season, that is up too as the slower pitch is easier to hit.  Despite the drop, his opposition batting average isn't that much worse, it's the power and walks that are getting to him:

 

Vs. Fastballs20102011
Batting average .323 .320
OBP .388 .435
Slugging average .462 .520
wOBA .369 .415

 

There is a secondary effect as well.  Liriano's change up stayed at about 85 MPH, meaning it looks less different than his fastball this season.  The opposition can hit that pitch better as well.

 

Vs. Change Ups20102011
Batting average .241 .294
OBP .252 .333
Slugging average .340 .588
wOBA .256 .385

 

The change was a great out pitch for Francisco, and now batters are waiting to power it out of the park.

Wednesday
Apr272011

InDepth Spotlight: Dan Haren vs. David DeJesus

In tonight's A's-Angels game, keep an eye on how L.A.'s Dan Haren pitches to Oakland leadoff hitter David DeJesus. Haren has been relying heavily on his cutter this season, throwing it 35.1% of the time, the most of any pitch. The results have been good; opposing batters have hit only .148 against the pitch (4 hits, 27 PA, 68 total pitches).

Meanwhile, DeJesus has not hit cutters well in his career.

David Dejesus vs. Cutters (2008-Present)
(Click to enlarge)
DeJesus has hit only .171 against cutters since 2008, with no extra base hits (6 hits, 38 PA, 165 total pitches). Against righty cutters, he's only hitting .130. Expect Haren to lean heavily on the pitch when DeJesus is in the batter's box tonight.