FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. I get why Hoffman is so successful against LHB… what I don’t understand is why he’s dominated RHB as well as he has. Shouldn’t his change up actually hurt him vs. RHB? If so, what is his secret to dealing with RHB when his best pitch is taken away from him?

    Comment by Dave R — November 10, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

  2. I’m sure pitching coaches and pitchers already consider something like this when attacking hitters, but could the information from that first graph be exploited by a pitcher that’s struggling with keeping balls in the park?

    Comment by Bryz — November 10, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  3. This was another interesting aspect I wanted to examine. One thing is that he strikes out LHBs more often, probably because of his great change, but also walks them much more. So it looks to me that against RHBs he scarfices some strikeouts to greatly limit walks. He does throw the change against RHBs (25% of the time compared to 35% against LHBs), but then also mixes in his slider (19% compared to just 1% of the time against LHBs).

    Comment by Dave Allen — November 10, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

  4. nice job Dave.

    I think this would be a great scouting tool when looking at older free agent pitchers. Looking for control when the stuff meter goes down.

    Comment by RZ — November 10, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  5. Great piece, Dave.

    One thing the SABR revolution has brought about is a focus on specific data rather than generalities. In this case, data have proven two things most assume true anyway… RHP are playing with fire when pitching a LHH inside, and Trevor Hoffman is really really really good at what he does.

    Hoffman is such an interesting case. He demonstrates rather forcefully that there are many ways to be good at pitching, but keeping hitters off balance and locating is a damn good one to focus on. I’m a frequent commenter over at Viva El Birdos, and whenever the Cards see Hoffman there is a vocal contingent (and keep in mind this is a pretty baseball-savvy readership we’re talking about) who simply have no idea how no one hits Hoffman because “He’s throwing like 85!!!” Ah, yes, but he locates that 85 brilliantly, it has a “rising” movement that must be somewhat deceptive, and that 85 is paired with a lethal changeup. One of our other posters flat out told one of those vocal contingenters to try and determine which pitch Hoffman was throwing based on his delivery… and guess what. It’s IMPOSSIBLE! The guy is a great pitcher and I think he’s still got a lot in the tank.

    Comment by Pete — November 10, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

  6. i tend to agree from looking at other great fastball/change-up pitchers who were able to pitch well into their 40′s such as glavine and maddux it is reasonable to assume he could afford to lose about 2mph on his fasball before he begins his decline. If that as the previously mentioned pitch only had 5-7mph between their pitches where hoffman has 11.

    Comment by TJ — November 10, 2009 @ 5:08 pm

  7. pitchers*

    Comment by TJ — November 10, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  8. Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing. -Warren Spahn

    Trevor does just that. He does not need to throw hard with that change up he brings. Batters are off balance just waiting for him to throw it.

    Comment by Joe — November 10, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

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