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Entries in San Diego Padres (7)


Bryce Harper: A Quick Look

He only has 68 Major League plate appearances under his belt, but it's not too early to take a look at Bryce Harper's slugging percentage heat maps.

Click image to enlargeHarper hit his second HR yesterday on an Anthony Bass 1-0 fastball that was up and out over the plate:

Click image to enlargeHarper is currently 6 for 17 on fastballs with three doubles and a home run. His other HR came on a slider low in the strike zone from Padres' Tim Stauffer a day earlier.

That first HR notwithstanding, pitches down in the zone seem to be the one area that has given Harper some trouble. On low pitches, he's currently hitting .100 (2 for 20, 4 Ks) with a swing and miss rate of 29.8% and a chase% (balls swung at out of the strike zone) of 37.7%.

Again, it's only 16 games worth of data and thus too early to draw any meaningful conclusions.  Nonetheless, tonight's starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates Erik Bedard may want to keep the ball down on Harper as much as possible.



Zito Throws a Curve

Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants made consecutive starts against the San Diego Padres.  In the first, he pitched brilliantly, walking none and striking out seven, allowing one run during seven innings of work.  In the second, Saturday night, Barry walked four and struck out three, giving up eight runs in 3 2/3 innings. Talking to the AP after the game, Zito blamed his curve ball:

"It was difficult for me to get the ball down tonight," Zito said. "For the most part, the curveball didn't have the finish down, and the change up, either."

Zito's curve baffled the Padres in the 7/7 game:

Barry Zito, curve ball, 7/7/2011. Location on the left, movement on the right.Zito threw the pitch for strikes, getting nice movement in and down on right-handed batters.  He threw 29 curves, representing 27% of his pitches that day. Of those,  65%  resulted in strikes, batters going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts when it was the deciding pitch.

The pitch missed on 7/16:

Barry Zito, curve ball, 7/16/2011. Location on the left, movement on the right.Barry could not get the pitch inside on right-handers.  He also left the pitch up.  You can see the difference in the movement, as much less lateral movement kept the pitch outside the strike zone, and a bit less vertical movement helped keep it high.  Zito threw his curve in this game 22.4% of the time, only 47% of them resulting in strikes.  The two San Diego batters put in play resulted in hits. although Barry did manage two strikeouts on the pitch.

Zito could not depend on the pitch, however, so he went to the fastball more.  Since Barry's fastball isn't that fast, and his control of that pitch wasn't that good, so Padres batters managed two hits and two walks off that pitch, chased Barry from the game early.


Roy Halladay's Change Up

Roy Halladay (PHI) struck out 14 Padres on Sunday, April 24, 2011, tying a career high.  He tied San Diego in knots due to his change up.  The Padres had no problem recognizing his fastball.  They swung when the pitch was in the strike zone:

Roy Halladay, swings at fastball, April 24, 2011.San Diego batters also did a good job of deciding when to take the pitch:

Roy Halladay, taken fastballs, April 24, 2011.Roy's change up came in ten miles an hour slower than his fastball.  It showed the same horizontal movement, but dipped more.  The Padres got that pitch backwards:

Roy Halladay, swings at change up, April 24, 2011.Note the huges concentration of swings below the strike zone.  Now look where the opposition was taking the pitch:

Roy Halladay, taken change ups, April 24, 2011.I suspect that once a batter takes one of those change ups in the heart of the strike zone, he's more likely to swing at one down further.  Halladay is a master at messing up a batter's timing, changing speeds and locations.  This allows him to work efficiently, going deep in games.  All those skills were on display Sunday.