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Chad Billingsley's Slider

Chad Billingsley' slider was a valuable pitch for the right-hander last season.  He also throws a cutter and the two pitches can sometimes be mistaken for one another.  But last season, his slider showed more downward movement than in the past, something that seemed to have benefited him.

Chad Billingsley's Slider

The average downward velocity on his slider increased 3.7 feet per second from 2009 to 2010. His K-rate and expected K-rate jumped from his 2009 numbers. It looks like he wasn't getting as good a result on the pitch in 2009 as compared to the year before. Perhaps a slight change in his mechanics in 2010 increased the downward movement on the pitch, or he may have scrapped his approach altogether and went with something completely new. Whatever it was, it seems to be working as batters were striking out more on the pitch.


Arroyo's Hook

Bronson Arroyo has thrown over 200 innings in every season since 2005.  Last season was the first in that stretch where he yielded less than 200 hits.  Most of his success comes against right-handed batters, and he has done well pitching them away.

Bronson Arroyo vs. RHB - Outside Zone

Arroyo was very efficient with his pitches to the outside corner.  The above graphic shows all his pitches that would qualify as hitting the outside part of the zone in 2010.  Last year, 43.6% of those pitches were curveballs, the highest of any pitcher throwing outside to righties.  Batters struck out 30.8% of the time and produced an overall wOBA of .130 against curves in that zone (298 pitches, 91 PA).  In his career, Arroyo has a 31.2% K-rate on curves to RHB in that zone with a wOBA of .171 (890 pitches, 261 PA).

With two strikes versus RHB last season, Arroyo went to his curveball 38% of the time, most of any pitch in his arsenal.  Batters swung 63.4% of the time and struck out 43.2%.  When they did make contact, the result was a miniscule .062 batting average and .148 slugging percentage.  At this point in his career, opposing batters are probably well aware of what's coming - but Arroyo continues to make that pitch work.


Reader Question: Clutch MLB Batters

Can you name MLB's top three clutch hitters in 2010 (based on .avg)?

We define cluch by the following game situation:

Runners in Scoring Position
2 strikes
2 outs
Down by 1 run or tied 
Minimum of 20 plate appearances

Post your answers as a comment below...