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Entries in Changeup (12)

Thursday
Mar102011

Brewers' Shaun Marcum On Radar

Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum will admit that he likes pitching under the radar, being the other guy to prominent pitchers like Zach Greinke.  Now with the Brewers losing Greinke to a rib injury for the first 2-4 weeks of the season, the spotlight will be on Marcum right out of the gate.

Along with a very good cutter, Marcum features an outstanding changeup.  Opposing batters whiffed on the pitch 44.7% of the time last season, putting him in the top 3% of the league (min. 200 changeups thrown), among company like Cole Hamels, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Lincecum. 

As expected, Marcum keeps the change low, and batters were simply unable to get the bat on it.

Shaun Marcum's Changeup, 2010

(click to enlarge)

Batters put up a .172/.197/.233 line versus his change in 2010, and a .188/.256/.298 expected line, which places a value on all changeups thrown in a plate appearance.  As the graphic above shows, Marcum's change stayed down and in to righties and down and away to lefties.  However, batters could not get good wood on the pitch, with most of the damage done on the rare change hung up in the zone.

To have a successful changeup, you need to have a decent enough fastball.  Marcum's one major issue last season came on his fastball versus right-handed batters. 

Shaun Marcum's Fastball, 2010

(click to enlarge)

Lefties hit .202/.260/.331 while righties hit .369/.422/.708.  A .207/.355 BABIP split might suggest he was a bit unlucky throwing the  fastball to RHB.  However, line drives fell in for hits 89.3% of the time while his HR/FB rate ballooned to 24%.  Usually this is a sign that batters are squaring up the pitch well, rather than a product of luck.  He'll need to find a way to make his fastball work against RHB this season in order to continue to be successful with that changeup.

Tuesday
Feb082011

Top Changeups

A while back I posted the top 15 NL changeup pitchers from 2010 by wOBA.  Here's a look at the top 20 in all of MLB.

2010 Top 20 MLB Changeups (min. 100 PA)I was curious how many pitchers from the above list ranked in the top 20 in changeup movement.

2010 Top 20 MLB Changeups by PVZ (min. 100 PA)PVZ is the difference in feet per second of vertical movement on a pitch compared to league average (13 ft/s).  Since we're dealing with changeups, each PVZ value above indicates how many additional ft/s over league average the pitch dropped.

Interestingly enough, only seven pitchers that made the top 20 in changeup vertical movement ended up placing in the top 20 in wOBA.  This is likely an indication that while movement certainly contributes to the success of the pitch, it can't make up for a pitcher's inability to locate.  How well a pitcher disguises his change and the deviation in velocity from his fastball are also big factors.

Thursday
Oct212010

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

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