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Entries in Philadelphia Phillies (37)


Transforming Morton

The following video made the rounds in the baseball blogosphere on Friday.  It compares the way Charlie Morton of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies throw the two-seam fastball.

Morton worked on copying Halladay's delivery during the off-season.  His pitching stats certainly have improved.

The two seam fastball is supposed to sink.  In 2010, it didn't sink all the time:

Charlie Morton, fastball movement, 2010.In 2011, Morton puts more of the density below the X-axis:

Charlie Morton, fastball movement, 2011.That more closely matches what Roy Halladay throws:

Roy Halladay, fastball movement, 2010-2011.There is one big difference that remains between the two, however.  Roy works both sides of the plate with his fastball, Morton works middle-in to righties, middle-out to lefites.  He doesn't throw to the catcher's right hand:

Charlie Morton, fastball pitch frequency, 2011.Morton gets the same movement as Halladay, but can throw it to multiple locations yet.  That may be the lesson for next winter.



As advertised, Madson Avenue

Madison Avenue in New York is renowned as the advertising capital of the world. Occasionally, when we hear about a pitcher advertised as "having a great pitch," we take it with the same degree of hyperbole that we hear in an ad for a "great" product.

But today, I put the well-advertised change-up of the Phillies hurler, Ryan Madson, to the taste test, which in our case is our heat map.

The Taste Test

Let's start by looking at his fastball because the efficacy of a change-up is measured off the fastball.

Ryan Madson Fastball - In play averageYou can see as you look at the map, that of the 224 fastballs he has thrown, 39 have been put in play, resulting in 15 hits, producing an in play average of .385.

Let's see the change-up, Ryan.

Ryan Madson's change-upLook at all the nice blue. Madson has thrown 110 of these beauties and batters are 2-for-15 off it for an in-play average of .133.

Congratulations, Ryan you have passed the taste test. Your change-up is as good as advertised.


Halladay and Left-Handed Batter Home Runs

Roy Halladay (PHI) allowed his second home run of the season on Sunday, a shot by Dan Uggla (ATL) that cost him the game.  Halladay is a great pitcher, but he does allow a decent number of home runs. Having given up just two one quarter of the way through the season is unusual for him.  The other unusual aspect of this season is that both home runs came off the bats of right-handed batters.

During the three previous seasons, Halladay saw a left-handed batter about 55% of the time, and they hit 38 of the 64 home runs against him, or 59%.  Roy worked lefties in and out, avoiding the middle of the plate as much as possible:

Roy Halladay, pitch frequency against LHB, 2008-2010.These batters were able to take the high and low inside pitches deep:

Roy Halladay, pitch frequency of home runs by LHB, 2008-2010.So far in 2011, Roy reduced his use of the inside part of the plate against left-handers:

Roy Halladay, pitch frequency against LHB, 2011.Roy throws mostly on the outer half of the plate against left-handed batters now, and he's been rewarded with no home runs allowed from that side of the plate.  Lefties slugged .372 against him from 2008-2010, but that's down to .277 this season.

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