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Entries in Fastballs (15)


Curtis Granderson Dominating the Fastball

New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson is crushing fastballs this season.  His .785 slugging percentage against them ranks first in the league, as does his 1.231 OPS.  Also, 11.5% of his at bats decided on a fastball have resulted in a home run.

Considering how he's done versus fastballs in the past two years, his current season has been quite an improvement.

Curtis Granderson vs. Fastballs
* - Leads the league

What has helped Granderson's overall numbers against fastballs has been his ability to lay off pitches out of the zone. In 2010, he chased 26.6% of fastballs out of the zone, and 23.5% in 2009. This season, he's chasing only 18.5%.

(Click image to enlarge)

You can see from the above graphic that Granderson is swinging at more fastballs that land in the zone, while chasing outside fastballs a bit less. His increased plate discipline has resulted in a lot more production. And while his 34 total HRs is second behind Jose Bautista's 35, his 23 HRs off fastballs leads all major leaguers.


Speed Kills

Tom Tango posted an interesting question at The Book Blog, asking people to estimate the wOBA of batters against a series of pitching machines that threw fastballs in the strike zone.  In his senario, there were a number of machines, each threw at a different speed, but each threw with the same spin and with the same release point.  The machines threw in the strike zone, but the location within the strike zone was random.  The batter knew the speed and the spin, but not the ultimate location of the pitch.

PITCHf/x data does not allow us to answer this question exactly, but it does allow us to get an estimate of what the distribution might look like.  The following table shows results for fastballs in the strike zone from 2008-2011 form pitchers with at least 200 PA against their fastballs.


Speed RangeNumber of PitchersAverage wOBA
< 85 4 0.361
85 to 89.9 63 0.344
90 to 94.9 197 0.335
>= 95 21 0.315


The wOBA reported here is the average of the individual pitchers, not the actual wOBA.  It does the effectiveness of fast fastballs versus slow fastballs.



Buster Posey vs. Fastballs

A reader requested we take a look at how Buster Posey has fared versus fastballs this season.  Contrary to his concern, Posey has actually done well against the pitch in 2011.  He's hit .316 and slugged .456 compared to .284 and .483 prior to this year. 

One reason his average is up on fastballs is because he's hit 9 line drives off them this season, and all 9 have fallen for hits.  However, none of them have been for extra bases, which could be why his SLG% is down slightly.

(Click to enlarge)

From the above graphic, you can see that his power is a bit more spread out against fastballs this season.  Last year, he hit fastballs up and out over the zone extremely well.  In fact, on fastballs in the upper portion of the pitching zone, Posey slugged .565 last season with three doubles, one triple, and four home runs.

Posey has actually had trouble versus off-speed pitches in 2011.  His average is down from .313 in 2010 to .222 so far this year.  Against changeups in particular, Posey has really struggled; his average is down 177 points. 

It's a little early to get hung up on pitch type results, but as far as fastballs are concerned, Posey has hit about as well as he did in 2010.

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