FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. Wait … I’m looking at the chart and it says that Penny has thrown the splitter 0.7%. For 293 pitches in 2010, that means he’s thrown it twice. Somehow, I don’t think that you can explain anything on two pitches.

    I’m also dubious that Penny is just now throwing this pitch. Isn’t it more likely that he stopped throwing it when he was injured?

    The increase in GB rate is one thing, but the reduction in HR rate is the clear difference and one that’s equally unsustainable.

    Comment by LJ — April 27, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  2. that must have the pitch classified wrong, because I have seen Peny throw it a ton this year.

    Comment by Frank — April 27, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  3. Read the article a little closer, it says that the splitter shows up as a change-up on the graph.

    Comment by Ryan — April 27, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

  4. The article mentions that Pitch F/X reports his splitter as a changeup. also reports that *27.4%* of his *394* 2010 pitches have been splitters.

    For his career, including 2010, just 2.4% of his pitches have been classified as splitters. Anything close to his current clip would be a dramatic change, and not a continuation of pre-injury patterns.

    His xFIP – replacing his current HR/FB ratio with the league average – is also still pacing an all-time low of 3.68 of against his career average of 4.20. Small sample size alert, of course, but this year’s limited results apparently cannot be chalked up to unsustainably low – or, more specifically, nonexistent – HR rates.

    Comment by astrostl — April 27, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  5. Dave Duncan’s daughter once asked him for a pony for her birthday. “Look down,” he said. “You’re already on one.”

    And she was.

    Comment by The Hit Dog — April 27, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

  6. Very interesting find, Dave!

    He did throw the splitter last year, but only about 7% of the time, whereas this year he’s throwing it more like 30% of the time. He also used a slider last year in August-September that he appears to have put back on the shelf in 2010.

    Comment by Mike Fast — April 27, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

  7. Penny has been throwing a splitter since 2006. Was messing around with it playing catch before a Vegas rehab assignment game, has been his change-of-pace ever since.

    Comment by hank — April 27, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

  8. So perhaps it’s not entirely accurate to say it’s a completely new pitch or that “Duncan apparently taught Penny how to throw it in a month.” Nevertheless, he convinced Penny to rely on it, and to change his entire approach to getting batters out. With experienced pitchers, even ones coming off injury, that may actually be far more difficult than the simple mechanics of a new pitch. It in no way detracts from the growing legend of Dave Duncan.

    Comment by joser — April 27, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  9. Penny’s splitter has been off and on since 2006. It was really good in Spring Training with the Dodgers in 2006, he used it quite well in April of that year, and then he seemed to lose the feel for it. It will be interesting to see if it can remain a quality pitch for him over the course of an entire season.

    Comment by onemancat — April 27, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

  10. The splitter isn’t a new pitch for Penny. Indeed, Russell Martin made numerous references to the split after one of Penny’s more dominant start during his better days with the Dodgers. The problem is that getting Penny to throw the pitch has always been like pulling teeth.

    Comment by Alireza — April 28, 2010 @ 5:08 am

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