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Entries in Jeff Niemann (1)

Tuesday
Sep062011

Niemann Finds the Strike Zone

Jeff Niemann of the Tampa Bay Rays allowed a .258 OBP since the All-Star break.  That ranks in the 96th percentile among pitchers.  It represents a huge improvement from his first half.  Before the break, Niemann's OBP came in at .335, 30th percentile. 

Jeff accomplished this with a double whammy on batters.  He's throwing a higher percentage of his pitches in the strike zone, and getting batters to chase more pitches outside the zone:

 

Jeff Niemann, 2011
NiemannFirst HalfSecond Half
In Zone % 49.4% 52.1%
Chase % 28.0% 29.3%

 

That doesn't seem like much, but a particular pitch really made the difference.  Jeff's change up tended to miss the zone in the first half of the season:

Jeff Niemann change up, first half, 2011.

His change up was in the zone 30% of the time and batters would chase it 21.4% of the time.  That changed in the second half:

Jeff Niemann change up, second half, 2011.Now Niemann hits the strike zone 45% of the time with the pitch and batters chase it 30.9% of the time.  With the improved accuracy comes more use as well.  Jeff threw the pitch 4.7% of the time in the first half, 10.2% in the second half.  His first half ERA of 4.53 dropped to 2.98 since the break.  One pitch can make quite a difference.