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Entries in Josh Collmenter (3)


Josh Collmenter Fools the Brewers

Josh Collmenter of the Arizona Diamondbacks shut down the Brewers this season, including in Tuesday night's NLDS game.  He accomplished this by working in three pitches with enough subtle differences to fool Milwaukee batters into a .116/.164/.159 slash line in 2011.

The Brewers hit Josh's fastball decently.  They posted a .286/.348/.429 line against that pitch.

Josh Collmenter, fastball versus Milwaukee, 2011.Notice that Josh avoids the middle of the plate with his fastball.  He seldom gave the Brewers a phat pitch down the middle.  Note, too, that his fastball isn't terribly fast averaging 87.7 MPH.

Josh does throw pitches down the middle of the plate, however:

Josh Collmenter, change up versus Milwaukee, 2011.You can imagine what happens here.  Josh gives batters the fastball motion, and puts the ball right in the middle of the plate.  He even gives the pitch the same vertical and horizontal movement as the fastball.  The batters sees fastball down the middle, but the pitch comes in a 76.3 MPH, and the swing misses.  The Brewers did not swing and miss at a Collmenter fastball in 2011, but they missed on 30% of swings at change ups.

Collmenter also comes at them with a cut fastball.

Josh Collmenter, cut fastball versus Milwaukee, 2011.Collmenter's delivery is extremely overhand.  When he throws his fastball, he gets nearly perfect backspin, the ball tilted every so slightly toward a right-handed batter.  With the cutter, he manages to get the mirror image spin, tilted ever so slightly toward the left hander. 

Josh Collmenter, fastball spin versus Milwaukee, 2011.Josh Collmenter, cut fastball spin versus Milwaukee, 2011.

Again, he throws this pitch down the middle, but it moves differently, and the batters make poor contact.  They miss on 15.4% of their swings, and are just 1 for 21 putting the pitch in play.  Josh throws three pitches with the same delivery, but against the Brewers gets very different results.


Marcum, Collmenter Soft-Tossing Clones

When Shaun Marcum pitches tonight, looking to sweep the Diamondbacks and give Milwaukee its first playoff series win since 1982, he'll face a rookie righty who bears a striking resemblance to himself. Marcum and Josh Collmenter posted nearly identical fielding-independent ERAs during the regular season (3.74 and 3.80, respectively) by limiting walks and shutting down right-handed hitters. While neither guy pushes a pitch past 90 on the radar gun, they keep hitters guessing by hitting just about every velocity range from the mid-60s to the high-80s.

Marcum and Collmenter both average around 87 mph with their fastballs, which ranks in the third percentile among all major league pitchers. With little hop on the pitch, neither uses his fastball much (37 percent for Marcum, 33 percent for Collmenter). However, Marcum and Collmenter have deep arsenals with a wide range of velocity:

Marcum changes speeds more when it comes to the percentage of pitches thrown in each velocity range. He really mixes it up, while Collmenter is apt to sit in either the high-70s or high-80s while occasionally tossing really slow stuff:


The slow, slower, slowest approach has worked splendidly for both pitchers against right-handers. Marcum has held righties to a .195/.243/.323 triple-slash, while Collmenter has limited same-handed batters to a .225/.250/.344 line. Lefties have been more of a challenge (.271/.327/.423 for Marcum, .250/.304/.404 for Collmenter), though neither has been roughed up too badly. Keep an eye on the radar gun tonight -- neither guy will light it up, but they'll add and subtract with the best of them.


Slow and Steady Josh Collmenter

One of the aspects of the game of baseball that I love is that there are myriad ways of succeeding in the sport.  Josh Collmenter (ARI) reminds us that throwing hard is not a prerequisite to pitching success.  He is in fact fooling batters with the slow, straight stuff.

Collmenter attacks batters with two main pitches, a fastball and a change up.  The following charts examine the movement of the pitches across the plate, the color showing the velocity:

Josh Collmenter, movement across the plate by velocity, fastball and change up.The light green at the top of of the blob is his fastball, which tends to come in at around 86-87 MPH.  Here's a look at the pure fastball:

Josh Collmenter, movement across the plate by velocity, fastball.That is not a fast fastball, and if you take the center of blob as the most likely movement for the pitch, there is very little movement at all.  The same is true of the change up:

Josh Collmenter, movement across the plate by velocity, change up.The change dips more than the fastball, but it basically comes in straight.  So he doesn't throw hard, he doesn't throw with movement, how does he get batters out?

The straight movement of his pitches implies a ball thrown with a lot of backspin, and if you watch video of Collmenter, you can see where that comes from.  He is an extreme over the top pitcher, one who needs to get his head out of the way of his arm to deliver a pitch.  Hitters seldom see this arm angle.  His two pitches, the fastball and change may actually be three pitches, as he likely throws a four and two seam fastball.  In first heat map, I believe the two-seam fastball is overlapping with the change up.  He's forcing a batter to look for two speeds and three levels, all looking like the same pitch out of his hand.

Finally, Josh does a great job of locating his pitches:

Josh Collmenter, pitch frequency, fastball and change up.If you break this up by batter hand, you will also see that he works both types of hitters outside.  By changing speeds, changing levels and locating pitches away from batters, Josh is off to a great start. It will be worth revisiting him in a couple of months to see how batters adjusted.