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Entries in Scott Feldman (1)

Monday
Oct172011

Feldman Avoiding Hitters' Hot Zones

Who would've thought that the Texas Rangers' pitching MVP to this point in the postseason would be Scott Feldman? The sidearm reliever-turned-starter-turned swingman, who pitched just 32 regular season innings and missed four months while recovering from microfracture surgery on his right knee, has a 9/0 K/BB ratio and has yet to surrender a run in 8.1 playoff innings.

Feldman has pounded the strike zone this postseason, placing 60 percent of his pitches over the plate (the league average is 48-49 percent). His control has been great, but his command has been even better. Feldman is putting the ball in spots where hitters typically don't do much damage.

The right-hander has faced 30 hitters so far in the playoffs: 20 righties and 10 lefties. Versus same-handed batters, Feldman is hugging the outside corner:

Feldman's pitch location vs. RHBs during the 2011 playoffs

For most right batters, it's hard to put a good swing on a pitch thrown to that location by a righty pitcher. Check out the league average in-play slugging percentage for righty hitters against righty batters:

League average in-play slugging percentage by pitch location for RHBs vs. RHPsRighties slug just .273 on pitches thrown outside by right-handed pitchers, compared to .468 on pitches thrown down the middle and .442 on inside pitches.

Feldman is mostly going low-and-away against lefties, throwing the occasional inside pitch to keep them on their toes:

Feldman's pitch location to LHBs in the 2011 playoffs

Lefty hitters fare poorly when a right-handed pitcher can locate low and away. Here's the average in-play slugging percentage for lefty hitters against righty pitchers:

League average in-play slugging percentage by pitch location for LHBs vs. RHPsLeft-handed hitters slug .309 on low-and-away pitches thrown by righties, compared to a .375 overall slugging percentage against right-handers.  

Maybe we should have seen Feldman's postseason excellence coming. After all, how can a hitter possibly hope to combat such a perfectly crafted playoff beard? Eat your heart out, Brian Wilson.