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Entries in Doug Fister (9)


Fister Fans a Baker's Dozen

A Tigers righty fanned 13 hitters on Labor Day. It wasn't Justin Verlander. Not Max Scherzer, either. Rather, Doug Fister, the 6-foot-8 beanpole known more for limiting walks and inducing hitters to chase his four-pitch mix off the plate, K'd 13 Cleveland Indians as Detroit stretched its AL Central division lead to 7.5 games.

Here's a breakdown of Fister's baker's dozen:

- Eight on fastballs (4 swinging, 4 looking)

- Four on curveballs (3 swinging, 1 looking)

- One on a changeup (1 swinging)

Nine of Fister's punch outs came against left-handed hitters. He got three swings and misses for a K with the fastball vs. lefties, and caught three others looking. Two swung through curveballs, and one chased a changeup off the plate:

Location and release velocity of Fister's K's vs. Cleveland lefties, 9/5/2011

Against righties, Fister got one swinging strikeout and one K looking with the fastball. His curve also got one swinging K and one strikeout looking:

 Location and release velocity of Fister's K's vs. Cleveland's righties, 9/5/2011

That curveball was key to Fister getting ahead in the count and being in a position to punch out hitters. He threw 21 of his 26 curves for strikes on Monday, locating them low and inside or high and away to lefties:

Location of Fister's curveballs vs. Cleveland, 9/5/2011Since Detroit acquired him on July 30 (along with David Pauley) from the Mariners for LHP Charlie Furbush, RHP Chance Ruffin, 3B Francisco Martinez and OF Casper Wells, Fister has done his best Cliff Lee impression. He's got a 36-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 2.68 fielding-independent ERA in 44.1 innings. Combine that with his work as a Mariner, and the former seventh-round pick who didn't sniff Seattle prospect lists has 4.5 Wins Above Replacement this season. That's more than Tim Lincecum and Chris Carpenter, among many others. Who knew?


Fister Chasing a Dream

Doug Fister of the Detroit Tigers ranks as one of the best pitchers in 2011 at getting batters to chase pitches outside the strike zone.  This should be a good thing; batters swinging at pitches out of the strike zone should result in better outcomes for the pitcher.  Take a look at the batting averages allowed by the top ten pitchers in chase percentage.


PitcherTeamPlate AppearancesAVG AgainstStrikeout %Chase %
Ricky Nolasco FLA 712 0.291 0.167 0.367
Doug Fister DET 670 0.265 0.140 0.360
Dan Haren LAA 753 0.227 0.207 0.341
Carl Pavano MIN 718 0.294 0.102 0.340
Cole Hamels PHI 677 0.215 0.229 0.338
Jeff Karstens PIT 573 0.255 0.148 0.336
Jon Niese NYM 670 0.278 0.197 0.336
Roy Halladay PHI 735 0.245 0.241 0.334
Justin Verlander DET 778 0.187 0.262 0.333
Cory Luebke SD 385 0.198 0.270 0.333


Note that the batting averages allowed correlate much better with strike out rate than with chase percentage.  Chasing pitches without inducing misses doesn't really seem to lead to better outcomes.  Balls in play tend to find holes with some regularity.

Note that Fister posted a .252 BA against with the Mariners, a good fielding team.  With the poor fielding Detroit Tigers, that's up to .369.  He doesn't miss bats, so even though he's good at getting hitters to fish outside the strike zone, those balls in play still depend on his fielders catching them.  So far, the Tigers haven't.



Who is getting Squeezed?

Time to check in on which pitchers aren't getting the close calls from umpires:

(ClStk%=called strikes/pitches taken; Data based on PitchFX strike zone.)C.J. Wilson (TEX) ranks number one in terms of the most pitches called balls in the strike zone with 124.  But this is due to volume; Wilson has thrown the second most pitches within the strike zone in the majors this season behind only Cliff Lee (PHI)

Doug Fister (SEA) and Cliff Lee rank second and third in most missed strikes with 114 and 108 respectively.  Chad Billingsley (LAD) comes in 4th with 107 missed strikes - combine that with his overall 17th ranking in lowest called strike percentage in the zone, and he's a good candidate for the most squeezed pitcher in baseball this season.

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