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This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks


Slow Silva

Carlos Silva pitched himself off the Cubs roster.  Carlos is an interesting pitcher, as he gets poor results despite showing great control.  His main problem was that his fastball got hammered, with opponents hitting .400 against that pitch.  The explanation shows that he might have depended too much on his control.

You can see his control in this heat map of his pitch frequency:

Carlos Silva, pitch frequency, 2008-2010.Now look at the plot in terms of release velocity:

Carlos Silva release velocity, 2008-2010.When Carlos throws fast, his pitches miss the strike zone.  So batters get strikes that are in the mid 80s in general.  If we take this plot down to just his fastballs:

Carlos Silva, fastball release velocity, 2008-2010.The same thing happens. His fastest pitches are out of the strike zone.  Most major league batters can hit a fastball, and all of them can hit a slower one in the strike zone.  Carlos looks like he took velocity off his pitches to get strikes, but they were strikes batters could handle easily.


Well Played, Mauer

Very few major league catchers have been more selective at the plate over the last three years than Minnesota's Joe Mauer.  His swing rate of 36.6% ranks him in the bottom 4% of all catchers since 2008, and his 88.5% contact rate puts him in the top 5% of catchers over that span. 

(Click to enlarge)

Mauer's fantastic batter's eye has resulted in an exceedingly high three-year OBP of .420, highest among all catchers with a minimum of 500 plate appearances, and third among all position players behind Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez.  Mauer avoids swinging at balls down in the zone which is one of the reasons he's managed to mantain a high OBP.  No player has a higher on base percentage on balls hitting the lower quarter of the plate, and only Bobby Abreu has a lower swing rate on low pitches since 2008.


Off Speed Howard

Ryan Howard saw his home run production and slugging percentage drop in 2010.  His ability to slam off-speed pitches declined the most:


Ryan Howard Slugging Percentage
Fastball .609 .607
Slider .473 .378
Change Up .597 .319
Curve .443 .483


The visual representation of the three off-speed pitches makes the point clearly:

Ryan Howard slugging against off-speed pitches, 2008-2009.Ryan got full power against these pitches in every part of the zone.

Ryan Howard slugging against off-speed pitches, 2010.In 2010, his coverage was nearly limited to the lower middle of the plate, where he still hit the curve decently.  I wonder if it's a vision issue?  His slugging against the fastball indicates he can still hit that pitch, and he can pick up a curve ball, which takes a very different path than a change or a slider.  For some reason, the latter two pitches might look like fastballs to Ryan now.