FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Very cool analysis; I don’t know how possible it would be, but a similar breakdown, refined along the lines of his knuckleball being “on” or “off”, would shed an interesting light on the fastball success vis a vis movement on the slower knuckler. I suppose you’d have to have some sort of movement criteria, perhaps derived from pitch f/x, to do so.

    Comment by Big Oil — June 29, 2009 @ 12:14 pm

  2. Does Wakefield still sometimes use an Eephus pitch? I remember seeing him eat Tim Salmon alive with one around 1995-1996.

    Comment by Alireza — June 29, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  3. With as big as the error bars are there is very little clear and consistent about the graph. They are one standard deviation right? It looks like around 8.5 the top range of the error bars is just lower than the bottom range of 2.1, and other than that the error bars overlap. It’s a nice graph, but the noise makes it impossible to make any valid claims–most likely due to a small sample.

    Maybe doing the same graph for the last few years may be insightful? It seems that Wakefield has had an above average fastball the past three years.

    Comment by Davidceisen — June 29, 2009 @ 12:43 pm

  4. from the handful of wakefield games Ive seen the last 2 years, it seems like he only throws his fastball in 3-0 or 3-1 counts, when the batter is probably taking anyways bc its not like wake can control where he throws his knuckleball.

    This year after a 3-0 count there have been 15 BB 2 HBP and 3 H in 10 official ABs (.741 OBP)

    After a 3-1 count, 20 BB 3 HBP and 7 H in 30 offical ABs (.566 OBP)

    So it seems like the reason why wake has such a “good” fastball is bc whenever he throws it, the batters arent swinging, thus arent hitting XBHs…

    Comment by Steve Shane — June 29, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  5. That’s interesting. If that is true batters should expect a fastball, and since Wakefield has such a below average one (in terms of speed and movement) they should be destroying the fastball. Is it possible to chart the count for when Wakefield throws his fastball?

    Comment by DavidCEisen — June 29, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  6. Interesting article. No matter what it proves I have been a Wakefield fan since he almost beat the Braves his rookie year in the playoffs by himself.

    Comment by Snook — June 29, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  7. I went to the Braves-Red Sox game Sunday and thought the same thing. There should be a lot of taken strikes on his fastballs, which would reduce the run value. Dave A, can you compute the run value only on pitches when the batter swings?

    Also, the only time I noticed a fastball on a non-3 ball count was to opposing pitcher Vazquez, so that may be a factor also (bad hitters see more Wakefield fastballs–though I suppose that’s generally true for most pitchers).

    Comment by Hizouse — June 29, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  8. I watched that game and there was one inning where wake went to a 3 ball count on a batter and threw a fastball for a strike, the next batter went to 3-0 and wake threw 2 straight fastballs for strikes, and I couldnt believe the 2nd batter didnt “expect/prepare for” a fastball especially after he already threw one on the 3-0 count.

    Im sure its hard to hit a 70 mph fastball when youre used to 90-95 mph but I would assume every MLB hitter should crush it if they know its coming.

    I think most people, besides the Buchholz’, are fans of wakefield.

    Comment by Steve Shane — June 29, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

  9. The graphs are from the past three years, which is the only years the pitchf/x data covers.

    Comment by Dave Allen — June 29, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

  10. He throws a big, slow curve; not really an eephus, but obviously much slower than the average pitcher’s curve.

    Comment by Marcel — June 30, 2009 @ 2:47 am

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