FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Love this. Can we get an article on which pitchers gained the most velocity this year?

    Comment by Max — October 23, 2012 @ 11:22 am

  2. I’m surprised by Felix’s (relatively) small loss. I would have thought he lost much more watching him a couple times in the season (but little past June). He must have been close to average in July-Sept to make it average out ok.

    Comment by Irrational Optimist — October 23, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  3. Thanks. And, yes, I can probably put it together. But the list is very small. Let me see what I can do.

    Comment by Bill Petti — October 23, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  4. He did pick up about 1mph after May/June. Here’s his average fastball velocity by month in 2012:

    2012-04 91.7
    2012-05 91.6
    2012-06 92.3
    2012-07 92.6
    2012-08 92.7
    2012-09 92.9

    Comment by Bill Petti — October 23, 2012 @ 11:38 am

  5. The impact of velocity loss on overall performance presumably varies according to the extent of the pitcher’s reliance on the fastball – devastating for Beckett, apparently less so for Dickey.

    Comment by Mr Punch — October 23, 2012 @ 11:39 am

  6. Wow…good for him. Thanks man.

    Comment by Irrational Optimist — October 23, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  7. I feel as though there’s a need to include that some of the guys on that list suffered through injuries that, while not landing them on the DL, could have hampered their performance. Sean Burnett with the bone spurs in his elbow, Kenley Jansen with the continued heart problems, etc.

    Comment by Ex Deo — October 23, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  8. I wonder if there’s data to spot those pitchers who seem to be changing their style to compensate for overall loss. Call it a “Craftiness Index” that goes up as their FB velo goes down.

    The CI would factor in things like getting better at location, changing speeds more, mixing pitches more, using changeups or curves more as out pitches, changing overall batted ball profile over time, etc.

    I’m sure someone smarter than me about how each of those components works (i.e. pretty much everyone) can opine on how much sample size you need to determine when something is noise vs. something that is indicative of deliberate changes and an actual skill involved.

    Maybe it’s something one can only look at fairly late in a pitcher’s career, as opposed to spotting it close to around the same season that FB velo goes down…

    Comment by Chris from Bothell — October 23, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  9. Neat stuff! Love reading about this topic…

    Comment by bcp33bosox — October 23, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  10. Tommy Hanson isn’t a red flag, he is a red flag store. Braves should try to trade him for whatever they can get. He has major arm surgery in his future.

    Comment by Brian — October 23, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  11. They did well in that department with Jurrjens

    Comment by diegosanchez — October 23, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  12. Max Scherzer is on the short list…I can’t think of any others!

    Comment by tigers fan — October 23, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

  13. Here is another example of the old adage, you can never have enough pitching. Last season the Braves were trying to unload starters, they had such an abundance of pitching. This year?

    Tim Hudson – Injuries, huge velocity decline, drop in performance.

    Tommy Hanson – Injuries, huge velocity decline, drop in performance.

    Jair Jurrjens – Ditto. Demoted to the minors.

    Arodys Vizcaino – Injured. Traded to Chicago. A relief pitcher now it seems.

    Julio Teheran – Not writing him off, but he didn’t pitch like people expected. Before the 2012 season he was considered by many the top pitching prospect in baseball. Many expected him in a major role on the major league roster at some point in 2012. Instead a 5.08 ERA in Triple A this season.

    Randall Delgado – He probably met or exceeded expectations. Average to slighly below average performance as a rookie. Not too bad for a rookie.

    A lot of frustration but maybe that should be balanced out by Kris Medlen pitching like the best pitcher in baseball when he was inserted into the rotation, Mike Minor turning his season around in the second half, and Paul Maholm stabilizing the rotation at the deadline. Anyways, I don’t think anyone is arguing the Braves have too much pitching now.

    Comment by Atari — October 23, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  14. Scherzer is having some shoulder issues and his velo is down here at the end of the year.

    Comment by Chicago Mark — October 23, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

  15. Wouldn’t this calculation be thrown off if the pitcher changed their pitch mix? Presumably a pitcher who starts throwing fewer 4-seamers and more 2-seamers, sinkers, or cutters would see a drop in average velocity even if their 4-seam velocity remains constant. I’m not saying this is necessarily the explanation for any or all of these cases, but it’s hard to tell unless you break it down by fastball type. Is there a particular reason why you lumped all the fastballs together?

    Comment by lemonjello — October 23, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  16. Outstanding work.

    Comment by Dan — October 23, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  17. Interesting stuff.

    Im also interested in pitchers who saw their ‘velocity increase, particularly Rick Porcello.

    Comment by Duck — October 23, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  18. Any thoughts on Dan haren? Although his cutter only lost .8 from last year, the rest of his pitches were down at least 1mph.

    Comment by dave — October 23, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  19. I noticed a bunch of Giants on this list. Does this indicate trouble for next year?

    Comment by Baltar — October 23, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  20. Hopefullly next we’ll see those whose velocity increased, yes?

    Comment by brian fawcett — October 23, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

  21. Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, and Brian Matusz were all throwing harder this year. I remember Tillman’s first outing against the Mariners he was hitting 96-98 mph.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/chris-tillman-finally-arrives/
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/jake-arrieta-2012-orioles-fip/
    p.s. Rick Peterson was a great hire.

    Comment by Julian — October 23, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

  22. Yikes, that loss for Jered Weaver does not look good.

    Comment by Alex Kienholz — October 23, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  23. I’m not sure if this makes sense for any of the other pitchers, but in the case of Parnell, wasn’t it something that was intentional as the Mets consciously traded some velocity for more command in an effort to make him more of a complete pitcher instead of a thrower? Argument could be made he ended up having his best season to date because of this too.

    Comment by Madoff Withurmoni — October 23, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

  24. Chris Tillman must be on the list.

    Comment by sheets — October 24, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  25. yeah, he didn’t have much to give in the first place.

    Major collapse candidate for 2013

    Comment by shoewizard — October 24, 2012 @ 7:38 am

  26. How about rather than looking at velocity drop–look at pitchers whose fastball values were down the most?

    Comment by Dean Travers — October 24, 2012 @ 9:42 am

  27. As a Brewer fan Yovanni Gallardo on the list surprised me. His K-rate is the same as last season. The only problem he seemed to have is his control reverted back to his earlier seasons. Perhaps he just tried a different type of fastball more often in 2012 emphasising movement over velocity? I suppose this could be the case for a lot of guys.

    Comment by Doug B — October 24, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  28. Right. The two biggest things that matter:

    1. Fastball reliance. (<50% fastballs=not that important.)

    2. Handedness. Lefties can eat more velocity loss than righties.

    These articles are tremendous. I'd suggest putting them behind a very expensive paywall to prevent my stupid leaguemates from reading them (or having someone read them to them, explaining the hard words.)

    Comment by JRM — October 24, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  29. Agreed. There is no good reason a guy under 30 who broke in throwing 90-92 should be struggling to hit that now on his fastest pitches. It happened to Lincecum.

    Yes, they both have quality enough offspeed pitches to probably still have success, but it’s never a good sign to lose so much gas so young.

    Comment by Eric Cioe — October 24, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  30. Can you look at the Chris Tillman case a bit more carefully. He did have such a big decline from his first appearance back in the bigs that it’s strange . I’m curious as to why he stayed so effective, regardless. In the past, lost velocity was his undoing.

    My personal pet theory is that he developed his use of a change-up and his excellent curve.

    Comment by Bill — October 25, 2012 @ 8:20 am

  31. I think the Royals’ Danny Duffy had a velocity increase this year, prior to his heading to the DL for Tommy John surgery.

    Comment by Rufus R. Jones — October 29, 2012 @ 11:06 am

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