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  1. In Oakland, aren’t most flyballs weak? Nobody has ever been successful in Colorado with a ground ball % as low as Moscoso’s.

    Comment by Logan Burdine — February 14, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  2. I disagree.

    Comment by Dick — February 14, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  3. Interesting study. The problem with Coors Field and other parks at elevation(a lot of PCL AAA parks), is not just that balls fly farther in the thinner air. Since there is less air resistance, it is harder to get movement on pitches.

    While sinkerball pitchers get more grounders, it’s also true that they tend to give up a lot of HR’s if their pitches aren’t sinking and sinkers don’t sink as much in Coors. We all know what happens to breaking balls that don’t break.

    Pitchers are going to give up more runs in Coors than in average parks. The trick is to give up less than other pitchers. My long held theory based on the physics of the situation is that the ideal pitcher for Coors are power pitchers with good FB command. Matt Cain would actually be the prototype. Such a pitcher gives you K’s and a low BABIP. A modestly increased walk rate in return for keeping the ball out of the fat part of the strike zone is acceptable.

    Yeah, a guy like Cainer will give up a dinger now and then but the damage is limited by the low BABIP’s and low HR/FB and that’s all you need to do in Coors, limit the damage.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — February 14, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  4. Don’t forget about Kevin Slowey, whom the Rockies had for a grand total of a few weeks.

    Comment by Brandon Warne — February 14, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  5. Pitchers like Jorge Delarosa who saw his GB% jump from 40% in KC to as high as 52% in 2010 in Denver may be the reason the Rockies are optimistic about adding guys like these. Bob Apodaca has had great success working with Jason Hammel, Matt Belisle, Taylor Bucholtz and many others helping them to control BB% and add GB% so out of all of their additions I think Chatwood will benifit the most.

    Comment by Psst — February 14, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  6. That’s pretty much exactly the blueprint. GBs are important, but K’s are most important. That’s why Ubaldo was successful and Chacin to a lesser extent.

    Comment by Logan Burdine — February 14, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  7. The article linked below is a great analysis of the effect of altitude on different pitches. He finds that fastballs are most affected, not breaking balls as many think. This used to be hosted on Athletics Nation, but was relocated by the author.

    Comment by Jake — February 14, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  8. Doesn’t Oakland have enormous foul territory that turns a lot balls that would essentially go unrecorded as foul balls into IFFBs? Also, HR/FB rates aren’t going to do you much good unless they’re adjusted for parks, if not also competition.

    Comment by byron — February 14, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  9. part of me hopes the giants let cain reach FA and the rockies offer him gobs of money

    Comment by jim — February 14, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  10. The research is correct. The reason breaking balls were viewed as not being effective at Coors is because, pre-humidor, the balls would dry out and make it more difficult for the pitchers to grip the ball effectively enough to throw the off-speed stuff.

    This was reported by many pitchers at Coors pre-humidor; one said that the baseballs at Coors felt like throwing a cue ball. By many reports, one effect of the humidor is that the balls dry out less and therefore the pitchers are able to grip the ball more effectively.

    Comment by etrain — February 14, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  11. Drier balls also have more elastic collisions, meaning they jump off the bat. That’s going to be most obvious with hits on fastballs, since that’s the most energetic collision and thus the elasticity (which tends to be non-linear wrt forces involved) will have the greatest effect.

    Comment by joser — February 14, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  12. If the pitcher is depending on fastball movement, then I would agree it make physical sense, but a pitcher who is throwing his FB fairly straight but with precise location, the altitude should either be a neutral or slightly positive factor.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — February 14, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

  13. Rafael Betancourt would be a great example of a guy that thrives off a straight fastball at Coors.

    Comment by Andrew — February 14, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

  14. LOL @ citing Jason Hammel as a model of success

    Comment by Josh — February 15, 2012 @ 7:17 am

  15. I know that DIPS isn’t absolute, but are we just skipping over the intermediate steps of proving the exceptions, so that we can ignore DIPS? Even assuming that there are individual exceptions with respect to weak fly ball rates and regressing HR/fly rates to league average, I would not be comfortable that anything you have done in this article helps us predict those players. Is the 80-250 vs. >250 Flyball tendency a repeatable skill (controlling for the same skill that produces strike outs)? Even beyond that, are the samples adequate to say that these pitchers are definitely short or long fly ball pitchers? Moscoso has less than 150 IP, for example. The data in the article doesn’t provide much evidence that the short vs. long fly ball distinction results in better fly/HR rates. Jamie Moyer has a similar profile to Matt Cain, yet his fly/HR rate is above league average. Guthrie and Outman have below average ratios of short fly balls, and their fly/HR rate is also below league average.

    Comment by CJ in Austin TX — February 15, 2012 @ 8:47 am

  16. You mean LOL the guy who went from a 5.25FIP to 350 innings of 3.7FIP? for a 3-4 starter in 2009-10 Hammel was great. He wasn’t an ace but he was certainly worth the C prospect they gave up to get him.

    Comment by Psst — February 15, 2012 @ 9:50 am

  17. I’m not sure what profile you are talking about in regard to Jamie Moyer vs Matt Cain. In what way are those two pitchers similar?

    Here’s where you have to take what you see on the field and square it up with the stats. Matt Cain throws hard fastballs up in the zone with good location and he doesn’t give in to hitters. Once you understand that, the statistics make perfect sense and you have a model for how other pitchers can have the same kind of success.

    I haven’t seen enough of Guthrie or Outman to know if they fit the Cain profile, but based on what I’ve heard of Guthrie, I’d guess he’s somewhat similar.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — February 15, 2012 @ 9:51 am

  18. With respect to Moyer’s “profile,” I’m referring to this quote from the article:

    “Of the other pitchers brought in this offseason, Jamie Moyer is the closest to fitting the model of a pitcher who induces weak-hit fly balls. His weak hit % is similar to Matt Cain. Both are near 43%. Moyer has seen his ERA outperform his ERA estimators over his career, but not to the level of Moscoso and Cain”

    Comment by CJ — February 15, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

  19. Well, that’s why you can’t just look at a stat sheet and conclude that two pitchers are similar, because Moyer and Cain are about as dissimilar as you can get.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — February 15, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

  20. Ah yes lets just ignore that little thorn of a season in 2011 with the 170 innings of 4.83 FIP ball. Cherry-picking the less relevant data to fit your argument are we now?

    Comment by Josh — February 16, 2012 @ 12:49 am

  21. So if Hammel posts two 4(3.9) win seasons followed by a bad one the the first two weren’t a success? Who’s cherry picking now?

    Hammel fell apart last year (although he seemed to recover after moving to the pen,7G 2GS 24 innings 1.85 ERA 17K 5BB) but that doesn’t mean he didn’t improve upon arriving in Denver.

    I would certainly call Joel Pineiro a Dave Duncan success story, regardless of how he pitched last year.

    Comment by Psst — February 16, 2012 @ 7:49 am

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