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Entries in Jake Arrieta (3)


Home Run Recap: Josh Hamilton

By now, we've all heard about Josh Hamilton's historic four homer night in Baltimore.  Here's a look at his slugging percentage heat map prior to last night's game:

Hamilton hits for power mostly on pitches middle-in.  However, all of the pitches that he took deep last night were on the outer half of the plate.

(Click image for HR video)The first pitch Hamilton saw he took over the center field fence for a two-run homer.  You can see from the heat map that the pitch was outside Hamilton's main power zone.

(Click image for HR video)This second HR off Jake Arrieta came on a pitch way outside Hamilton's power zone and on the very border of the strike zone.  It was a 93 MPH sinker that, while not in a terrible location, was left up enough for Hamilton to drive the other way.

(Click image for HR video)This 78 MPH slider from Zach Phillips was left up and right in a spot Hamilton hits particularly well.

(Click image for HR video)The last HR from Hamilton came on a Darren O'Day sinker that caught too much of the middle of the plate.  However, like the three previous HRs, this pitch was also on the outer half of the plate. 

Hamilton's four home run game (something done only 15 times before) is truly amazing. But the fact that he did it on four pitches mostly outside of his normal power zone makes it all the more interesting.

And just for kicks, here's a look at the pitch location for his double in the 5th inning:

May 8th, 2012 vs. Jake Arrieta (5th inning)Yep, another outside pitch.  It appears Hamilton's power stroke may be expanding. Good news for the Texas Rangers - bad news for the rest of the league.


Jake Arrieta's Sinking Walk Rate

Baltimore Orioles fans have seen plenty of young arms crash and burn over the years. Entering 2012, Jake Arrieta appeared close to joining the likes of Matt Riley, Adam Loewen, Brandon Erbe, Hayden Penn and Chris Tillman in the pitching prospect graveyard. The 6-4 righty, given a $1.1 million bonus out of TCU back in 2007, compiled an 85 ERA+ in 2010-11 while posting the highest walk rate (4.4 per nine innings) of any American League starter tossing at least 200 frames. Arrieta's career prospects were quickly sinking.

A sinker, however, is a big reason why Arrieta is thriving for the shockingly competitive O's. He has cut his walk rate down to 2.1 per nine innings and boasts a 116 ERA+ after shutting down the Yankees and ending Ivan Nova's 15-game winning streak last night. Arrieta threw 44 sinkers against New York, getting strikes with 30 of them (68 percent). The 26-year-old is throwing the pitch more often -- and more accurately-- in 2012.

From 2010-11, about 21 percent of Arrieta's pitches were classified as sinkers. He often missed off the outside corner to lefties (inside to righties):

Arrieta's sinker location, 2010-11

Arrieta threw just 42 percent of his sinkers in the strike zone, well below the 50 percent average for MLB starting pitchers over that period. But this year, Arrieta has increased his sinker usage (to about one-third of his pitches) and is pounding the zone with the 93 mph offering:

Arrieta's sinker location, 2012

Arrieta has located 52 percent of his sinkers in the zone. Those extra pitches over the plate haven't come at the expense of more extra-base hits, either. Hitters are slugging .308 against Arrieta's sinker in 2012, down from .452 in 2010-11.


Orioles Pitching Dominating Rays Hitters

The Baltimore Orioles shut down the Tampa Bay Rays offense in their first matchup of the season, allowing 3 total runs, one in each game.  Here's a look at how the O's pitching staff located their pitches over the weekend:

Orioles Pitching (4/1-4/3)
(Click to enlarge)

The Orioles effectively pitched lefties and righties away the whole series.  The result: Rays batters could barely muster any offense.

Rays vs. O's (4/1-4/3)
(Click to enlarge)

Due to injury, Evan Longoria only batted six times the whole series, which certainly hurt the Rays offense.  A fairly potent Detroit Tigers offense comes to Baltimore today.  It will be the first test of the season for young righty Jake Arrieta, and another chance for the entire O's ballclub to show just how much they've improved this year.