Search Archives
Follow Us

Featured Sponsors


Mailing List
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Twitter Feeds

This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Saturday
Apr022011

Marmol's Strikeouts

Carlos Marmol struck out all three batters he faced Saturday as he earned his first save of the season for the Cubs.  Among pitchers with 1000 batters faced since the start of the 2008 season, Marmol strikes out the highest percentage of batters, and it's not even close for second place.  The following table shows the top 20:

 

Pitcher

Plate App

K Per PA

BB Per PA

BABIP

Carlos Marmol

1026

0.339

0.154

0.238

Tim Lincecum

2905

0.277

0.083

0.301

Brandon Morrow

1207

0.262

0.119

0.300

Rich Harden

1655

0.26

0.117

0.277

Yovani Gallardo

1751

0.247

0.106

0.304

Ryan Madson

1010

0.246

0.067

0.311

Clayton Kershaw

2113

0.245

0.111

0.288

Jonathan Sanchez

2330

0.244

0.116

0.286

Max Scherzer

1778

0.239

0.087

0.307

Edinson Volquez

1369

0.237

0.12

0.296

Jake Peavy

1569

0.235

0.081

0.282

Justin Verlander

2812

0.234

0.08

0.303

Dan Haren

2811

0.232

0.047

0.298

Jon Lester

2740

0.231

0.081

0.298

Jorge De La Rosa

1882

0.231

0.106

0.308

Josh Johnson

1989

0.23

0.068

0.303

Javier Vazquez

2469

0.229

0.069

0.296

Joba Chamberlain

1479

0.229

0.095

0.323

Ricky Nolasco

2318

0.228

0.051

0.302

Zack Greinke

2685

0.226

0.06

0.308



The stats that really make Marmol interesting, however, are his high walk rate and his extremely low BABIP rate.  He walks batters 15.4% of the time, while the major league rate is 9.4%.  The walks don't hurt him however, since batters only hit .238 when they put the ball in play, while the major league average stands at .302.

The idea behind BABIP is that once a ball is put in play, the pitcher doesn't have much control over what happens.  The results of these batted balls should be random and dependent on the strength of the defense.  If you look at this group of high strikeout pitchers, the top 20 in K per PA since the start of the 2008 season, very few of them post a BABIP well over the league average.  It seems the same quality that make contact with the baseball difficult also leads to balls in play that are easier to field.  If a batter has difficulty making contact in the first place, he should have difficulty squaring up the ball in general.

Note that Marmol's BABIP probably isn't as good as shown here.  As a pitcher with both a high walk and strikeout rate, the balls in play against him represent a small sample size.  As time goes on, I suspect his BABIP will regress toward the league mean, but as long as his K rate remains high, he's likely to beat the MLB average.

Friday
Apr012011

InDepth Recap: CC Sabathia's Opening Day Slider

CC Sabathia's Slider Location
(Click to enlarge)

Sabathia didn't have his best slider in the Yankees' opener yesterday. His location was off as it hung up in the zone quite a bit. Over the last three seasons, batters have made contact on his slider 56.1 percent of the time. On 24 sliders yesterday afternoon, the Tigers made contact 77.8 percent, primarily on pitches in the strike zone. Obviously, it's only one game's worth of data, but it was clear he wasn't able to keep the pitch down like he normally does.

BrkX and BrkZ values provided by PitchFX measure the number of inches the ball moves horizontally and vertically as a result of the spin on the ball read from when it is 40 ft from home plate. Sabathia traditionally gets about 5.1 inches of BrkX (horizontal) movement on his slider. Yesterday it averaged 2.8 inches. From 2008-2010, PitchFX data has Sabathia throwing 2060 sliders in regular and postseason games combined. Only 450 of those sliders have had a BrkX reading less than 3.0.

One game's worth of data is not enough to draw any significant conclusions on one pitch. Besides, it was cold, and CC usually takes a few starts to get going. If he's still hanging his slider up in the zone in a couple weeks, then it might be time to worry.

Friday
Apr012011

Napoli's Platoon Split

Mike Napoli homered off Jon Lester Friday afternoon to help the Rangers to a 9-5 win over Boston in the season opener for both teams. In the last three season, Mike, a right-handed batter, owns a large platoon difference, hitting .304 against southpaws and .239 when the pitcher holds the platoon advantage.  Graphically, it looks like this:

Mike Napoli versus left-handed pitchers, 2008-2010.Mike Napoli versus right-handed pitchers, 2008-2010.

What accounts for the difference.  The answer may lie in how pitches tend to move from the various pitchers.  Right-handed batters tend to throw pitches that move away from Napoli:

Mike Napoli, pitch movement from RHP, 2008-2010.Lefties, on the other hand, throw pitches that tend to move toward Mike:

Mike Napoli, pitch movement from LHP, 2008-2010.So what kind of movement does Mike see when he gets a hit versus making an out?

Mike Napoli, pitch movement on hits, 2008-2010.Mike Napoli, pitch movement on outs, 2008-2010.Mike is much more likely to get a hit on a pitch that's moving in than a pitch that's moving away.  Since lefties then to throw toward Mike, it's not surprising he hits them better.  Where does Lester put the ball?

Jon Lester Movement, 2008-2010.It was a perfect matchup for Napoli.