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Entries in Brett Myers (4)


Brett Myers' Improvement

Brett Myers of the Houston Astros has pitched to a 1.41 ERA over the last month, 5th best of any Major League starter.  In that six game span, Myers has gone 4-0 holding opposing batters to a line of .180/.273/.484.

One reason he's been so dominant has been his improved performance against lefties.

Brett Myers vs. LHB

Myers managed to keep the ball away from lefties more over the last month, and they were unable to do much against him.   They hit just .177 compared .302 prior to August 27th.  Lefties also saw a drop in slugging percentage against Myers, falling from .509 to .278.

Brett Myers vs. LHB

Myers is scheduled to pitch the last game of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. While the game will mean essentially nothing to the Astros, the Cards are just one game back of the Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves. Brett Myers performance tomorrow could play a large role in determining which team will be sitting home in October.


Brett Myers' Regression

During the offseason, we took a look at Houston Astros' starter Brett Myers and his success in 2010.  First, his success against right handed batters jumped tremendously.  And second, one of the major contributing factors to this success was how he located his pitches, as well as his improved slider.  Myers was keeping the ball away from the middle of the zone.  Meanwhile, batters were hitting nearly one hundred points lower against his slider in 2010 compared to a year earlier.

This season, however, many of the reasons for Brett Myers great 2011 season have faded.  Let's take his pitch location to start.  Compare his pitch location from 2010 to his current location:

Brett Myers 2011 Pitch Location
(Click image to enlarge)

Myers' is back to throwing to the middle of the zone again.  Opposing RHB aren't hitting Myers much better than last season.  Their weighted on base average is basically the same as it was for the 2010 season.  However, lefties are  crushing Myers this season.  Opposing LHB have a wOBA 87 points higher than last season.  They have hit 10 home runs against him already; last season lefties hit all of 8 against Myers.

And how about that slider? Overall, opposing batters have a .307 wOBA on the pitch this season, compared to .264 from last.  The majority of the damage has come against lefties, who hold a .425 wOBA versus his slider, up from .298 in 2010.

Lastly, Myers has had a rough time pitching at Minute Maid Park this year.  Batters are hitting .270/.332/.540 against him at home compared to .259/.309/.391 on the road.  As evident by the jump in slugging percentage, Myers has yielded more home runs at home; his 6.9% home run rate at home is nearly double that on the road. 

Minute Maid Park ranks fairly high this season on the HR friendly park list.  However, Myers' did fairly well at home last season, as we noted in a previous post.  His location issues are probably more to blame for his troubles this season.  Unless he can begin to locate like he did in 2010, he'll likely continue to struggle.


Brett Myers Part Two: Location, Location, Location

Continuing our examination of Brett Myers, let’s take a look at his pitch frequency over the last 3 years.

Brett Myers Pitch Comparison (click to enlarge)

In 2010, Myers became a lot more efficient at hitting the outside corners against both hitters.  Against RHB, you can see that he rarely touched the inner half of the plate at all last year; against LHB, Myers primarily hit the lower outside corner, unlike the previous two seasons where he threw to the center of the plate quite often.

In his career, Myers has relied mostly on his fastball and curveball, throwing in a slider (borderline cutter) and changeup from time to time.  However, he’s slowly begun to utilize his slider more, and last year was the first time he actually threw it more than his curveball.  The results were very good.

Batters vs. Brett Myers' Slider
2008 Season479133.304.552.37120.3%4.5%7.2%
2009 Season20148.326.652.42118.8%2.1%8.7%
2010 Season917230.233.314.26418.3%5.7%1.0%

Now first things first: Myers 2009 season was cut down by injury, so we should take that into consideration when comparing seasons.  But there’s no doubt that he’s improved his slider to the point where it’s become an effective out pitch.  His walk rate did jump bit, which is no surprise given that he’s throwing to the edges of the zone more.  I would caution optimistic ‘Stros fans that the ridiculously low HR rate on his slider is bound to regress this season, especially if he’s utilizing the pitch more.  But location is key, and if Myers avoids the middle of the zone like he did last year, he should continue to see positive results.