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Entries in curveball (11)

Monday
May232011

Top Curveballs by Contact

(Min. 50 curveballs thrown in 2011)

Prior to the beginning of this season, we took a look at the change in Zack Greinke's (MIL) curveball between 2009 and 2010.  Getting his curveball back on track is important for Greinke this year, especially if he is going to get back to his Cy Young form from two years ago.

So far this season, batters are swinging and missing at his curve at a higher rate than against any other pitchers' curve.  He's yielded only one hit off the pitch, a ground ball single to Jose Tabata (PIT) on May 15th.

In 2009, Greinke had an average BrkZ (vertical inches of break from spin) reading on his curveball of -4.2.  In 2010, that number was cut in half to -2.0 inches of downward break - and as noted in the previous post on Greinke, batters were teeing off on it.  This season, his curve has a BrkZ reading of -6.8.  While his overall numbers haven't been great through his first 4 starts, a working curveball is a good sign for the 2009 Cy Young winner.

Sunday
Mar062011

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.

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