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Entries in Matt Harvey (8)

Friday
May102013

Which Pitchers are Getting Calls, Getting Squeezed?

Which starting pitchers are benefiting from a generous strike zone this season? Which starters are grumbling as yet another borderline call goes the batter's way? Here's a quick rundown of pitchers with the highest and lowest called strike rates in 2013.

Highest called strike rates on in-zone pitches

 

Overall, umps call about four out of every five pitches taken in the zone a strike. But Jake Peavy is getting more credit for those over-the-plate-pitches than most. So are crafty lefties Mike Minor and Andy Pettitte. None of the guys in the top ten exactly lights up the radar gun. That makes sense, considering lower-velocity fastballs tend to get more called strikes than mid-90s heat.

 

Lowest called strike rate on in-zone pitches

 

On the flip side, Jon Niese has a reason to hold a grudge against Big Blue. The rest of the top ten is a mixed bag of power pitchers, breaking ball and off-speed reliant junk ballers and a knuckleballer. All of them are at a disadvantage in getting called strikes. High-velocity fastballs have lower called strike rates than slower ones, as mentioned above. Curveballs (81% called strike rate on in-zone pitches), sliders (79%) and changeups (78%) have lower called strike rates than fastballs (82%). And umps, like all other human beings on Earth, have a hard time figuring out what the heck a knuckleball is doing. Dating back to 2008, in-zone knucklers (a sample that basically amounts to pitches thrown by R.A. Dickey, Tim Wakefield and a few spot-starter aspirants) have a called strike rate of 73%.

 

Highest called strike rate on out-of-zone pitches

Interestingly, all of the starters getting calls on out-of-zone pitches are right-handers. It looks like they're taking advantage of umpires' tendency to stretch the outside corner for left-handed batters (the called strike rate on out-of-zone pitches thrown away to lefty batters is about 16%). Jeremy Hellickson (29%), Mat Latos (26%), Alex Cobb and Justin Verlander (23%) rank at the top of the list when it comes to getting calls on that outside corner versus lefty batters.

Lowest called strike rate on out-of-zone pitches

Pfft. Like Matt Harvey needs the help. Tim Lincecum, on the other hand...

Saturday
Apr132013

Matt Harvey's High Heat

The Mets are off to a 6-4 start this year, and Matt Harvey is a major reason why. Harvey has surrendered just one run while winning his first two starts, punching out 19 batters in 14 innings pitched. The 24-year-old right-hander with a blistering fastball is challenging hitters with high heat -- and he's winning.

Here is Harvey's fastball location so far in 2013:

Overall, major league starting pitchers have thrown about 35% of their fastballs to the upper third of the strike zone this season. But Harvey? He's going upstairs 53% of the time, highest among National League starters throwing at least 100 pitches. Harvey's high heat is getting results, too. He's getting hitters to swing and miss at his fastball nearly half of the time, putting him in a class all his own among MLB starters:

Highest fastball miss rate among MLB starters (min. 100 thrown)

 

Harvey has thrown his fastball, which screams towards home plate at an average of 94 MPH and has topped out at 98 MPH, about two-thirds of the time. Opponents are hitting .154 (4-for-26) against his heater, with a lone extra-base knock (congrats, Jimmy Rollins!) Eat your heart out, Verlander and Strasburg.

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