I think a little more refinement would generate more interesting results. It’s good to know what pitches get a lot of swings and misses. But there’s more to swings and misses to pitching. It should be possible to look into pitches that get called strikes. Or pitches that get hit weakly to infielders all the time. Or even pitches that get a lot of singles, but never turn into doubles or HRs. Those are all pretty good pitches.
Also, not separating out starters and relievers has to be considered a mistake. You combined them and predictably ended up with five top spots == five relievers. *yawn*
not even close,
mo was actually more hittable this past year than any other of his career despite putting up 44 saves.
his contact against rate soared to a career high 82.8% up from 76.3% in ’08.
It seems that his control dropped off even though his BB/9 stayed amazing at 1.63. He threw fewer strikes in ’09 than ever before at only 43.5% of pitches in the zone. And when he located, those balls were hit. His z-contact was 90.2%.
Also notable that he stranded an unusually high number of runners with a career high 91.8%, well higher than his career average of 80.1%.
Putting all this together, look for Mo to start showing his age in 2010.
Mind you, I’m a huge yanks fan and hope he pitches into his 50s.
i think lincecums’s change should be the winner. the point of a pitch is not necessarily to create a swing and miss but to prevent runs. lincecums change was 35 runs above (below?)average. more than any other pitch from any other pitcher last year. it was also good for 4.94 runs per 100 pitches tops of any pitch thrown with regularity.
A whole lot of the success of that splitter is in the way it moves depending on where its thrown, and how much it moves. When thrown in to left handers, it’s vertical break is ridiculous, and it is basically a 85 MPH curveball (also what Pitch FX classifies it as, but it tails so definitely a changeup), while inside to right handers it’s your typical screwball-esque changeup. However, both drop a ridiculous amount. He throws it with the splitter grip.
The typical split/change in baseball has about 4-6 inches of vertical rise, the spin on League’s pitches actually cause it to sink faster than gravity, which is all but unheard of in pronated pitches. Watching hitters flail wildly at that “curveball” time and time again was so commomplace it stopped being funny; no one ever got any type of reasonable contact off that pitch, it was just unfair.
I guess I should also mention that his “changeup” splitter was far more hittable; so this curveball-type pitch, we’re looking at something like a 50%+ whiff rate on pitches thrown. Filthy, absolutely filthy.
Which made it very annoying when Madson would basically abandon his changeup when he was thrust into the closer’s role and in the playoffs. He’d end up throwing a very straight 96 mph fastball instead and ignore his best pitch.
I wonder what the numbers would look like if you removed the first month of the season. Mariano was coming off an off season surgery and a slow spring training schedule, so that might explain some of these “declining” rates.
Yup. I’m a SF fan, but objectively Lincecum’s changeup was the best pitch last year. I find it hard to consider RP’s for the “best pitch” honor for the same reason they hold a massive disadvantage in the Cy Young voting: they simply don’t throw enough. It’s not hard for League to do as well as he did when he only threw 74.2 innings against Lincecum’s 225.1. When hitters get to see Timmy as often as they do, every additional PA gives them more of an advantage, whereas League likely didn’t face the same hitter more than two or three times. It’s hard to make adjustments when you have two ABs against a guy in six months, but not so hard when you see a guy at least once a month, and two or three times per game. The fact that Tim’s changeup was so good all season and despite its frequent exposure should hand the award to Tim.