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Entries in oakland athletics (22)

Wednesday
May042011

Expanded Strike Zones

Most Called Strikes Outside of the Zone

While Daric Barton (OAK) tops the list, Ike Davis (NYM) has endured more strike three calls on pitches located outside of the zone (9) this season as determined by PitchFX. Arizona's Stephen Drew comes in second with 6.

Of course, you must consider volume when reviewing players' ball/strike data. While Daric Barton leads the league in taken called strikes outside of the strike zone, he also ranks twelfth in taken strikes within the strike zone (86), and 2nd overall in all pitches taken (355). So it's not necessarily the case that umpires have been favoring the opposing pitcher over Barton. He simply takes a ton of pitches, increasing the chances of bad calls by umpires. However, other than Barton, only two other players in the top 25 in called strikes out of the strike zone rank in the top 25 in total pitches taken, Carlos Santana (CLE) with 352 and Mark Teixeira (NYY) with 301.

Wednesday
Apr272011

InDepth Spotlight: Dan Haren vs. David DeJesus

In tonight's A's-Angels game, keep an eye on how L.A.'s Dan Haren pitches to Oakland leadoff hitter David DeJesus. Haren has been relying heavily on his cutter this season, throwing it 35.1% of the time, the most of any pitch. The results have been good; opposing batters have hit only .148 against the pitch (4 hits, 27 PA, 68 total pitches).

Meanwhile, DeJesus has not hit cutters well in his career.

David Dejesus vs. Cutters (2008-Present)
(Click to enlarge)
DeJesus has hit only .171 against cutters since 2008, with no extra base hits (6 hits, 38 PA, 165 total pitches). Against righty cutters, he's only hitting .130. Expect Haren to lean heavily on the pitch when DeJesus is in the batter's box tonight.
Sunday
Feb202011

Trevor Cahill's Sinker: Luck or Skill?

Trevor Cahill had a fantastic year for the Oakland A's in 2010.  He was very successful in keeping the ball down, as he went from a 96 ERA+ in 2009 to a 136 ERA+ last season.  Some have noted that his very low overall BABIP (.237) is partially responsible for his success, rather than any particular ability to induce weak ground balls.  However, a closer look possibly indicates that luck may not have played as big a role in Cahill's success.

Cahill was one of the most successful ground ball pitchers in the majors; 56% of batted balls off his pitches ended up on the ground in 2010, 5th highest in the majors.  As you can see from the heat map above, he became very efficient at keeping his pitches down last season.  His GB/FB ratio went from .92 to 1.32 in one year.  The main reason: his excellent sinker.

Cahill's 2010 sinker was flat out nasty, averaging 14.8 feet per second of downward movement, putting him in the top 10 percent of sinkerballers.  This makes it tougher to chalk up his basement low .153 batting average on ground balls (best in the majors) to mostly luck.  He's obviously benefitting greatly from the movement he's getting on his sinker. If batters are finding it harder to makes solid contact as a result of that increased movement, it's possible they are hitting weaker ground balls; in turn, this would make it easier for his defense to field and turn these ground balls into outs. 

This is not to say that we won't see some regression this year.  It's certainly possible that a good chunk of these ground balls were simply finding infielders, particularly when well hit. But if he can keep his pitches down and moving as they did last year, don't be surprised if his overall BABIP remains in the cellar.