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Entries in cutter (9)


Phil Hughes' Cutter (Part Two)

Phil Hughes' Cutter vs. LHB
April - May.185.407.331
June - July.381.667.441
August - October.250.500.344

Phil Hughes' Cutter vs. RHB
April - May.225.275.232
June - July.444.778.530
August - October.316.632.411

Phil Hughes' Cutter - April-May

Phil Hughes' Cutter - June-July

Phil Hughes' Cutter - August-October 2nd

Since his performance numbers are based on plate appearances decided on a cutter, we're working with a relatively small sample size, especially when looking at splits.

Nonetheless, when viewed with his overall pitch frequency, two things stood out to me. First, against RHB in June and July, Hughes kept the cutter down more, and apparently this got him into more trouble. Second, Hughes avoided throwing the cutter in to lefties in June and July. However, when I split the map in half, I found he got hit harder when throwing the pitch inside during that period (.385 SLG% on the outer half compared to 1.125 SLG% on the inner half). As noted in the previous post, his cutter had less movement in June and July. This is pure speculation, but if Hughes knew he wasn't getting as much cut on that pitch, he may have avoided throwing it in to lefties.

Phil Hughes' 2010 Cutter

Phil Hughes' season was neither awful, nor spectacular. After a great first couple of months, Hughes slipped a bit with a stretch of less than optimal starts. And despite what the media might say, his problems were probably not caused by a skipped start in June.

I wanted to take a look at Phil's cutter to see if there was any noticeable change throughout the season. Here are a few heatmaps along with some interesting data points.

Phil Hughes' Cutter, April & May

On the left, you can see all the hits coming off Hughes' cutter and their locations in the field throughout April and May this season. On the right, you can see the movement on his cutter. This is determined as the pitch is crossing the plate. The x-axis indicates 13 feet per second drop from a pitch as it crosses the plate, with each grid line equaling 4 ft/sec (one line above the axis would equal 9 ft/sec in downward movement, one line below equals 17 ft/sec). The y-axis equals 0 ft/sec in horizontal movement.

So the above heat map indicates that Hughes' cutter in April and May had an average downward movement of 12.5 ft/sec and a right to left movement averaging 7.8 ft/sec. Here are the heat maps for the rest of the season.

Phil Hughes' Cutter, June & July

Phil Hughes' Cutter, August, September & October (regular season only)

The first thing that stands out is Hughes' June and July heat map. He was not as consistent with his cutter's movement, as you can see the blue creep toward the center of the map a bit more. Same thing from August on, although not nearly as bad. In April and May, Hughes did not seem to throw any flat cutters, as you can see nothing at all nearing that y-axis of 0 ft/sec.

April - May752517.8-12.5
June - July511667.1-12.7
August - October331267.3-13.3

PA: Plate Appearances decided on a cutter
P: Cutters thrown
H-PlateVel: Horizontal movement in feet/sec
V-PlateVel: Vertical movement in feet/sec

April - May83.5%2892.276
June - July81.0%2993.493
August - October76.3%3093.385

Cntct%: Contact Rate (in play + foul / swings) on cutters
Fly-Dist: Fly ball distance on cutters

Interesting that Hughes got more swings and misses on his cutter as the season went on. In the middle of the season, Hughes' cutter had the lowest average right to left movement. Not surprising that he was hit hardest during that stretch. It's also interesting that Hughes' cutter had more drop as the season went on, almost an entire foot per second from the beginning of the season to the end. I'm not sure what exactly this tells us, if much of anything at all. Perhaps it can be connected to a decrease in spin on his cutter, as he maintained an overall velocity of 89 mph on the pitch throughout the season. It could also be attributed to a slight change in release point or delivery.


Cliff's Cutter

During last night's TBS broadcast, Ron Darling commented on how well Cliff Lee had commanded his cutter. Here's a look at the heatmap: Pitch frequency of Cliff Lee's cutter in Game 5 against the Rays (38 pitches).By comparison, here's Game 1: Pitch frequency of Cliff Lee's cutter in Game 1 against the Rays (13 pitches). Interesting note: In Game 1, Cliff Lee threw only one cutter to a lefty. In Game 5, 16 of his 38 cutters were thrown to lefties.
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