Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pitch f/x: Randy Johnson

I really wish that Pitch f/x had been around in the late 90's and early 2000's so we could look at what Johnson did back when he was absolutely dominant, but it has only been around since 2005. Still, it is interesting to take a brief look at his pitch selection since he turned 40 years old.

The first thing that I noticed is that there is a clear delineation between the first two years, when Johnson was with the Yankees, and the second two years since he re-joined the Diamondbacks. With the Yankees he was very consistent: 56% fastballs both years, similar slider numbers and asmall percentage shift from a curveball to a splitter between the first and second season.

Then, when he moved to Arizona and the National League, the number of fastballs dropped to 51.5% (which he has maintained over both seasons) and the number of splitters jumped from 6.7% to 11.7%.

The second thing that jumps right out at you is the decrease in velocity. Even through last season he was still averaging 92.3mph on his fastball, but this season it has dropped to 90.8mph.

So the shift is clear: as Johnson has gotten older and his fastball has lost a tick or two he has had to become more of a crafty veteran, throwing more splitters. Where he used to overpower hitters, now he has to decieve them.

Daily Links - 8/14/08

This blog post by Will Carroll is the second reference I've heard to CC Sabbathia winning the NL Cy Young in the past couple of days. He has certainly been amazing since getting picked up by the Brewers, but something doesn't seem quite right about it. I can't really put my finger on it, because the award goes to the best pitcher in the league that season, and if Sabbathia only requires 60% of the season to prove that, then why not? But it seems a bit fortuitous that Sabbathia's sub-par start to the season gets to be disregarded because the best part of his season came after the trade.

The famous Fetch, from Major League Jerk, writes about the rough start for Team USA in Beijing. I didn't see the game, but I agree with Fetch: when I looked at the box score and saw that John Gall had led off for the US, I did a double-take. What was that all about?

The results are in on the poll presented last week on the Hardball Times regarding ethics and baseball.

Here is a first hand account of the crazy game played at Fenway on Tuesday night.

This is a quick look at closers vs. set up men in terms of which are used in more important situations. The standard pattern of 'closer' usage in baseball has been one of my pet peeves for a while now. Interestingly, the Cardinals have used rookie closer Chris Perez in a save situation in the eighth inning twice this week and allowed him to finish the game.


thecollegehockeyblog said...

No one has ever called me famous before. Well, except for "To Catch a Predator." So thanks for that.

roarke said...

I thought you'd appreciate it. I think I saw that episode of "To Catch a Predator" - it was patently unfair. How were you to know that little boy was underage?