FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Since you bring up the pitch categories, where is the sinker: is there anywhere that breaks down fastball types further? Cut fastball vs. four seamer, sinker vs. slider (and other two seam variants). Are the “sliders” listed above really his sinkers, or are the sinkers lumped in with fast balls?

    Comment by rwildernessr — April 9, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  2. 2-seam fastballs and sinkers are lumped in with fastballs on FanGraphs. Hopefully, they’ll be able to distinguish them in the future.

    Comment by Rob — April 9, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  3. Don Wakamatsu has this:

    “After a bad year, you can try to be too creative. Carlos can throw that sinking fastball 80 times in a row and be effective, that’s the Silva I saw when he pitched [in Minnesota] and was successful. He made hitters pound the ball into the ground, and we saw some of that last night.”

    They’re going to certainly give this approach the good ol’ college try.

    Comment by ThundaPC — April 9, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

  4. No pitch classification system could confuse a fastball and a slider. Fastballs on fangraphs means 4 seam, 2 seam, and sinker. A cutter is always distinguished from those fastballs, as the movement is completely opposite, rather than basically the same but varying by degree like a 4 seam and 2 seam.

    The one problem you run into is sliders and cutters being confused. Pitch f/x also has a lot of problems with splitters and changeups being confused. But once you learn to look for those things, it’s no big deal. You see 5% sliders at 87 mph and 25% cutters at 87.5 mph and basically just read it as 30% cutters at 87.5. Same with the changeup and splitter confusion.

    Comment by Eric Cioe — April 9, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

  5. Is there any indication that the reason that he is overly reliant on his fastball is an injury or arm pain, making it the only pitch that he can throw pain-free?

    Comment by Rich — April 10, 2009 @ 8:18 am

  6. One thing that always bugged me about the analysis of Silva in particular, is that he really is not a ground ball pitcher. His first two seasons as a full time starter had him at about a 50% GB rate, and he’s been around 45% in the three seasons since. How can you give up more flyballs than groundballs, and be called a ground-ball pitcher?

    Maybe all those fastballs are really sinkers, but how much “sink” can they really have.

    Comment by Jeff — April 10, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  7. Jeff,

    The consideration is probably done that way because the ratio of GB/FB is used, rather than GB/(FB+LD). His career ratio is 1.52. However, 1.00 isn’t exactly neutral; it’s probably more like ~1.20.

    Or, you could just consider that he’s a groundball pitcher relative to his peers. Over the last three years, his 1.33 ratio was 17th of 56 qualifying starting pitchers.

    For example, if we require a greater than 50% GB rate to be considered a groundball pitcher, then only 11 out of 56 qualifying starters would reach that distinction.

    Anyway, he’s practically neutral. If you grouped between flyball, neutral, and groundball pitchers, he’d probably be somewhere in the middle section (based on the last three years), right near the border of the groundball group.

    Comment by Josh — April 10, 2009 @ 9:05 am

  8. I personally think that while is FIP accurate for most pitchers, it doesn’t handle the extremes well; it overrates strike throwers (like Silva) who leave a lot of fat pitches to hit over the plate, and underrate nibblers (like Matsuzaka) who pitch away from contact and avoid hard hit balls. Is it really bad luck if you keep pounding the zone with 88mph fastballs and wind up with a .350BABIP? I don’t think so.

    Comment by Josh — April 10, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  9. If one has to count on an embarrassingly inaccurate pitch identification system to tell what a guy is throwing, then he should probably stick to complaining about why guys don’t start every game throwing every pitch they have.

    Sinking fb’s are not 2 seamers by rule, arm angle has more to do with action then how its gripped ever will.

    Very few guys consistently throw cutters by choice, if its confused with a slider, why use the system? This “system” has been the basis for perhaps the most over rated “analysis” ever done on a pitcher, last year. Wrong then, and goofy-er now, throw it away.

    Comment by CaR — April 10, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  10. What is a cutter other than a short, hard slider? It’s easy to see why they could be confused. Same thing with a splitter and a changeup. Tim Lincecum grips his “change” like a split, but you could never tell from the movement. It’s easy to see how some of these similar pitches get confused.

    Comment by Eric Cioe — April 11, 2009 @ 12:36 am

  11. Just to clarify, it looks like there are two Joshes here.

    The one in response to Jeff’s comment is me. I’ll try to think of another moniker, unless Josh2 sticks.

    Comment by Josh2 — April 11, 2009 @ 12:53 am

  12. To make your graphs look nicer, please take a look at this page:
    http://peltiertech.com/WordPress/2008/11/06/ten-chart-design-principles-guest-post/

    Otherwise, wonderful work as always.

    Comment by Sal Paradise — April 12, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

  13. If pounding the zone with 88 mph fastballs were the reason that his BABIP was up and not bad luck then wouldn’t we expect to see a change in K and GB rate. I’m trying to imagine how he might be getting hit harder so increasing his BABIP but not reducing his K/GB rate.

    Comment by David — May 4, 2009 @ 4:31 am

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