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Entries in Doug Fister (9)

Tuesday
Dec032013

Fister Takes Impeccable Command to D.C. 

Judging from the trade package the Tigers received from the Nationals in exchange for Doug Fister, you might think he's just some back-of-the-rotation schlub. Instead, it appears that Washington GM Mike Rizzo just landed one of the game's best starters, still two years away from free agency, for a good-not-great pitching prospect (Robbie Ray), a potential lefty specialist (Ian Krol), and a versatile bench bat (Steve Lombardozzi).

Fister doesn't look like an ace, lobbing 89 MPH fastballs and a cornucopia of breaking and offspeed stuff toward home plate. But don't mistake a lack of velocity for a lack of talent. Over the past three seasons, Fister ranks eighth among all starting pitchers in Baseball Reference Wins Above Replacement (12.6), and his park-and-league-adjusted ERA (24 percent above average) places tenth. Fister bested now former teammate and newly crowned AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer in both categories.

The 29-year-old righty produces elite results with pedestrian stuff thanks to a nearly unparalleled ability to throw strikes. Fister has issued a mere 1.8 walks per nine innings pitched since 2011, tying him with new rotation mate Jordan Zimmermann for seventh among starters tossing at least 500 frames over that time frame. He doesn't just flood the strike zone, though -- he avoids the fat part of the plate like few others. Take a look at Fister's pitch location over the past three seasons:

Fister's pitch location, 2011-2013

 

From 2011-13, MLB starters threw an average of 23.6 percent of their pitches to the horizontal middle of the strike zone. Fister, by contrast, threw just 20.8 percent of his pitches down the middle. Among AL starters throwing at least 6,000 pitches since 2011, only Mark Buehrle (20.3 percent) and Jon Lester (20.7) offered hitters fewer cookies.

Why does that matter? Pitches thrown over the middle of the plate get hammered, with hitters slugging a collective .484 against those offerings from 2011-13. Pitchers fare far better when they bust hitters inside (.412 slugging percentage) or paint the outside corner (.330).

The Mariners might be absolved for not fully appreciating Fister's then-burgeoning talents, shipping him to Detroit for a gaggle of so-so-prospects during a 2011 season in which the club lost 95 games. But the Tigers, still equipped to make a World Series run with Justin Verlander, Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez and an in-his-prime Miguel Cabrera, get no such benefit of the doubt. While Drew Smyly appears ready for a rotation spot, Detroit surrendered one of the game's top arms, making far less than he would garner on the open market, for three none-elite youngsters. Fister might be a soft tosser, but his superb command makes him every bit as valuable as more heralded fire ballers.

Saturday
Jun082013

One and D'oh!

Al Michaels has always been one of my favorite announcers, and while many of you may think of him as a football announcer or asking the immortal question, "Do you believe in miracles?", I always loved his work in baseball.

Like many announcers, the Brooklyn-born Michaels has certain tells in their speech as to their background. With Michaels, I would always wait for the first pitch of an at bat to a batter to hear Michaels channel his inner not-yet-created Homer Simpson state, "The count is one and d'oh."

Here's a look at that first pitch ball.

The 1-0 pitch

Pitchers don't want to go 1-0. It's better than giving a hit on 0-0, but that's it. Everything else is worse. You fall behind and immediately give an advantage to the batter as a result.

The difference between 0-1 and 1-0

SplitPAABRH2B3BHRBAOBPSLGOPSTB
1-0 Count 4589 4439 751 1444 308 37 188 .325 .326 .538 .864 2390
0-1 Count 6106 5867 808 1836 347 29 166 .313 .320 .467 .787 2739
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/8/2013.

Who are the best 1-0 pitchers?

There are 10 pitchers who have held batters to under a .200 batting average against on 1-0 pitches.

Doug Fister has been incredible only allowing one hit, an infield single to Mark DeRosa on 4/11 in the midst of a Tigers blowout of the Jays.

Clay Buchholz has been equally effective only allowing a Vernon Wells single in a Red Sox victory over the Yankees on 4/3.

The Tribe's Zach McAllister has permitted just two hits on the 1-0 count. 

 

Name

G

PA

AVG

OBP

SLUG

OPS

1

Doug  Fister  (DET)

12

21

0.053

0.143

0.053

0.195

2

Clay Buchholz (BOS)

11

12

0.083

0.083

0.083

0.167

3

Zach McAllister (CLE)

11

21

0.100

0.143

0.100

0.243

4

A.J. Griffin (OAK)

12

17

0.118

0.118

0.118

0.235

5

Travis Wood (CHC)

12

20

0.150

0.150

0.200

0.350

6

C.J. Wilson (LAA)

12

18

0.176

0.222

0.353

0.575

7

Nick Tepesch (TEX)

11

17

0.176

0.176

0.529

0.706

8

Jon Niese (NYM)

11

16

0.188

0.188

0.313

0.500

9

Lance Lynn (STL)

12

17

0.188

0.188

0.250

0.438

10

Jason Hammel (BAL)

13

22

0.190

0.182

0.286

0.468

 

The pitchers who struggle on 1-0

There are 24 pitchers who have a .400+ batting average against them on 1-0 counts. 

These are the seven worst.

 

 

G

PA

AVG

OBP

SLUG

OPS

1

Kris Medlen (ATL)

12

13

0.667

0.667

1.000

1.667

2

Dillon Gee (NYM)

12

26

0.654

0.654

0.962

1.615

3

Ubaldo Jimenez (CLE)

12

15

0.571

0.533

0.714

1.248

4

Ryan Dempster (BOS)

12

12

0.545

0.500

1.455

1.955

5

Marco Estrada (MIL)

12

22

0.545

0.545

1.091

1.636

6

Adam Wainwright (STL)

13

30

0.483

0.483

0.621

1.103

7

R.A. Dickey (TOR)

13

26

0.480

0.462

0.960

1.422

Nine to Know

  1. R.A. Dickey has thrown 166 1-0 pitches, Mark Buehrle 159, James Shields 148, constituting the three most 1-0 counts on batters.
  2. R.A. Dickey has thrown 104 1-0 strikes, Mark Buehrle 107, and Jon Lester 100
  3. Kevin Correia has had 39 1-0 plate appearances.
  4. Dillon Gee has has surrendered 17 1-0 hits.
  5. Marco Estrada and Kevin Correia have each allowed four 1-0 homers.
  6. Cliff Lee has produced 17 foul balls 1-0 counts.
  7. After 1-0, Jordan Zimmermann has gone 1-1 51 times, the most in the majors.
  8. After 1-0, R.A. Dickey and Edinson Volquez have gone 2-0 62 times, the most in the majors
  9. After 1-0, Jason Marquis has walked the batter 29 times, Tim Lincecum, Dickey, and Lucas Harrell 28 times each, the most in the majors.

There you go, my "one and d'oh" salute to the great Al Michaels.

Friday
Sep282012

Fister's Command Key to AL Consecutive K Record

It's not terribly surprising that a Detroit Tigers starting pitcher set an American League record by recording nine straight strikeouts yesterday against the Kansas City Royals. That it was Doug Fister, rather than K mavens Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer, is shocking. Fister didn't throw a single pitch over 92 MPH while coming within one K of tying Tom Seaver's all-time record, relying upon superb command to fan K.C.'s entire lineup.

Check out Fister's pitch location on his nine consecutive Ks. He went high, low, inside and outside, straddling the corners and avoiding the fat part of the plate:

Fister caught six Royals looking during that sequence -- all of them on four or two-seam fastballs. His K rate has spiked to a career-best 7.7 per nine innings pitched this season thanks in part to his ability to freeze hitters with two strikes. Fister trails just David Price among AL starting pitchers in looking strikeouts:

PitcherStrikeouts Looking
David Price 83
Cliff Lee 74
Yovani Gallardo 73
Joe Blanton 69
Vance Worley 61
Doug Fister 60
James Shields 60
Clayton Kershaw 58
A. J. Burnett 57
Justin Verlander 57

 

Just like he did in yesterday's start, Fister has racked up looking strikeouts this season on pitches thrown to the corners. The six-foot-eight righty is especially fond of tossing glove-side pitches that catch the edge of the plate:

Location of Fister's looking strikeouts in 2012

While Fister will never be confused with Verlander or Scherzer, he has improved his K rate from Kirk Reuter-esque levels (4.9 K/9 during his first full season with the Mariners in 2010) to the point where he easily bests the 7 K/9 average for AL starting pitchers this season. Power stuff misses bats, but Fister proves that quality command can also induce lots of Ks. Just ask the Royals.