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NL Changeup Rankings

2010 NL Changeup Rankings by wOBAThe above table lists the top changeup pitchers in the NL ranked by wOBA with a minimum 100 plate appearances decided by the pitch.  Tonight's starters in game 5 of the NLCS both make the cut.

2010 NL Changeup Rankings by OBPNote: Tim Lincecum is ranked 16th in changeup OBP.  He missed out on the above list by about ten-thousandth of a point.  However, he does have the third best strikeout rate on changeups among NL starters, behind only Manny Parra and Stephen Strasburg.

2010 NL Changeup Rankings by Strikeout Rate


Cody's Hot Spot

The Phillies should really avoid the lower inside corner against Cody Ross.  They tried on the first home run:


Cody Ross, First home run, NLCS

Halladay put it right on for Ross's second shot:


Cody Ross, second home run, NLCS.Roy Oswalt did the same thing.

Cody Ross, third home run, NLCS.Wednesday night, the double was just above the sweet spot.  If the Phillies want to pitch him inside, the pitches need to be up. 


Ryan Madson's Dominance

On the FOX broadcast of the NLCS last night, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver went over Ryan Madson's statistics when he was brought into the game, concluding that he was one of the most underrated relievers in baseball. It's true, and it's a drum I've been banging for a while -- even calling for his promotion to closer, usurping the role of Brad Lidge.

As the following chart illustrates, Madson found quite a bit of velocity some time in early August of 2008.

His strikeouts-per-nine innings rate went from 7.3 in April through July to 8.3 in August and September in 2008. In 2009 and '10, his K/9 rates were 9.1 and 10.9 respectively.

He pairs his ability to miss bats with elite control. Since '08, his walk rate never exceeded 2.6 per nine innings.

How is he so good? His mid-90's fastball is perfectly complemented by a deceptive change-up that averages 83 MPH. With as much as a 15 MPH differential, Madson's pitches become extremely hard to square up for opposing hitters.

Among pitchers who have faced at least 200 batters, Madson falls into the 97th percentile in wOBA allowed, at .168. His strikeout rate is in the 99th percentile, incredibly.

Madson becomes even more amazing when you look at his platoon splits. Although he deals with right-handed hitters better, as expected, lefties still have a very hard time hitting him. This is due to Madson peppering the outside corner with change-ups, rarely coming inside.

Against lefties, Madson's wOBA allowed and strikeout rate still fall in the 92nd and 96th percentiles, respectively. Against right-handed hitters, those two stats are both in the 98th percentiles.

Madson will enter the final year of a three-year contract in 2011. Although the Phillies have a lot of money coming off of the books, including Brad Lidge potentially, Madson -- represented by super-agent Scott Boras -- should garner a lot of attention from the other 29 teams in the Majors. He is a guy with dominant stuff that can close on just about any team.