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Entries in New York Yankees (126)

Tuesday
Nov162010

Andy Pettitte's Cutter

Andy Pettitte is undecided about returning for another season with the Yankees. All indications are that if he does return, this will be his last season.

Andy has been an effective pitcher for the Yankees since his return to the team in 2007. In fact, he was working on one of his best seasons yet before succumbing to injury in July of this year.

For Andy, it's all about the cutter. The success of every outing is almost entirely determined by how well he's throwing his cut fastball, and he's been very proficient at locating the pitch. This is one of the big reasons he's done so well late in his career.

Andy Pettitte's Cutter vs. LHB 2008-10

Andy Pettitte's Cutter vs. RHB 2008-10

Andy Pettitte's Cutter since 2008
PPAAVGSLGwOBA
vs. LHB518167.151.233.169
vs. RHB1037293.223.385.299

In 2010, Andy's cutter ranked in the 95th percentile in opponents' AVG, SLG and wOBA, as well as Contact%. One more year of that, or something close to it, would help the Yankees' rotation considerably, and may even be necessary if Lee signs elsewhere.

Monday
Nov082010

A.J. Burnett's 2010 Fastball

A.J. Burnett Overall
AVGOBPSLGwOBA
2009.250.338.401.334
2010.285.363.457.367

A.J. Burnett vs. LHB
AVGOBPSLGwOBA
2009.222.312.352.303
2010.286.373.444.368

A.J. Burnett had a much tougher time against left handed batters in 2010 than in his first season as a Yankee. In addition to the jump in his overall line, Burnett's K-Rate against LHB dropped from 24.9% in 2009 to 16.2% in 2010, striking out 43 fewer.

One thing that stood out was the drop in effectiveness in A.J.'s fastball in 2010, particularly against lefties.

A.J. Burnett's Fastball vs. LHB
PAAVGSLGwOBA
2009274.276.474.378
2010190.371.648.472

A.J.'s 2010 fastball averaged 93.2 MPH, a loss of 1 MPH from 2009. He was also much less effective in throwing the pitch down and away to LHB in 2010.

A.J. Burnett's Fastball vs. LHB 2009

A.J. Burnett's Fastball vs. LHB 2010

A.J. Burnett's Fastball vs. LHB (Highlighted Zone)
PAAVGSLGwOBA
200983.250.325.271
201052.298.489.378

In addition to the drop in velocity, Burnett's fastball also lost some downward movement. In 2010, his fastball was dropping at a rate of 11.6 ft/sec as it crossed the plate, about 4% less than 2009. This loss of movement combined with a drop in velocity may have contributed to his reduced K-Rate to lefties, and decreased the effectiveness of his fastball down in the zone.

Thursday
Nov042010

Phil Hughes' Cutter (Part Two)

Phil Hughes' Cutter vs. LHB
AVGSLGwOBA
April - May.185.407.331
June - July.381.667.441
August - October.250.500.344

Phil Hughes' Cutter vs. RHB
AVGSLGwOBA
April - May.225.275.232
June - July.444.778.530
August - October.316.632.411

Phil Hughes' Cutter - April-May

Phil Hughes' Cutter - June-July

Phil Hughes' Cutter - August-October 2nd

Since his performance numbers are based on plate appearances decided on a cutter, we're working with a relatively small sample size, especially when looking at splits.

Nonetheless, when viewed with his overall pitch frequency, two things stood out to me. First, against RHB in June and July, Hughes kept the cutter down more, and apparently this got him into more trouble. Second, Hughes avoided throwing the cutter in to lefties in June and July. However, when I split the map in half, I found he got hit harder when throwing the pitch inside during that period (.385 SLG% on the outer half compared to 1.125 SLG% on the inner half). As noted in the previous post, his cutter had less movement in June and July. This is pure speculation, but if Hughes knew he wasn't getting as much cut on that pitch, he may have avoided throwing it in to lefties.
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