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  1. Not to toot my own horn, but I called this a month ago:
    http://theraysway.com/articles/ruminations-on-matt-moore

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — June 15, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  2. Fantastic analysis. Gives me even more confidence starting Moore tonight against the Marlins since they are a heavily RHB lineup. It will be interesting to see if Ozzie starts GDobbs to get another LHB in the lineup. Will also be interesting to see if Moore can throw some good sliders to Reyes and LoMo tonight.

    Based on Moore’s game log PITCHf/x data (value/100), his slider has actually been very effective in 3 of his last 4 starts. We’ll see if he’s found something or if it’s simply SSS.

    Comment by Herbstr8t — June 15, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  3. “Moore has thrown his change-up to a right-hander 10 times in 2012, and not one of them has resulted in a swinging strike.”

    The preceding paragraph and data snippet would seem to indicate that “right-hander” should in fact say “left-hander”

    Comment by Leighton — June 15, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  4. What happened to all the hoopla about Moore having a devastating plus curve and slider? Everything I read about Moore said his breaking balls were top notch and the change up had good potential. Was his curve this bad last year?

    Comment by Joe — June 15, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  5. He should ask Gio Gonzalez’s father to teach him the blessed curveball.

    Comment by Seideberg — June 15, 2012 @ 1:34 pm

  6. With a repitoire similar to that of Cole Hamels of a few years back (his changeup was a killer to righties, would get hit by LH, and his curve was a “show me” pitch), perhaps he needs to learn the en vogue cutter.

    Comment by DD — June 15, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  7. What’s the chance that he should just start throwing his change to everyone until he can develop a better hook? I mean, we’re talking about FOUR swings not resulting in any swinging strikes. As I remember, changeups usually have nearly neutral platoon splits, and even if his ridiculous change was somehow worse in that respect at least it would help keep another option in the mix. It can’t be any worse than that breaking ball.

    Comment by Morgan Browne — June 15, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  8. Sweet analysis. Thanks, Dave. I hope he can put it together, he is a special talent.

    Comment by Max — June 15, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  9. I wonder, when we look at starting pitcher splits, if numbers like L on L aren’t inflated, because the left-handed hitters who are started against lefties tend to be more elite hitters. I’d love to see a stat that normalizes for the quality of hitters faced, especially when looking into smaller sample splits.

    Comment by James K — June 15, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  10. I seem to remember it being the other way around. People were comparing him to kershaw, with a plus curve and developing slider. Has it gotten worse, or were the scouts just wrong? OR is it not about movement, but more about location? His curve could still have plus break, but awful control at the same time. I’d like to know how much his curve is breaking.

    Comment by Henry — June 15, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  11. This is my thinking too. With just 10 change ups thrown to lefties this year, I would expect it to regress in the direction of his results versus righties.

    Comment by philosofool — June 15, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  12. I was looking at the very facts Dave is talking about the other day, trying to determine if the curve is really a good pitch. It certainly doesn’t break as much as Bedard’s or Kershaw’s.

    Comment by philosofool — June 15, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  13. What you’re suggesting is that the typical L versus L split should favor the LHB. That’s not what we observe. Moore is worse against lefties than any other LH starter in MLB right now and lefties usually have problems against RHB.

    Comment by philosofool — June 15, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  14. Yeah, what has happened to the pitches that scouts termed “a plus-plus curveball” and “a nasty slider?”

    Comment by ecp — June 15, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  15. Baseball America had him with a 70 curveball pre-season. It was supposed to be a better pitch than his change. Obviously it hasn’t panned out so far, but his curve has great potential if you look at some of his curves last year.

    Comment by Disco Hero — June 15, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  16. Until Fangraphs adds what seems like a very useful filter of batter handedness to their leaderboard it is difficult to show what you’re getting at. I can tell you that all batters that he has faced have a 103.1 wRC+ vs. lefties and a wOBA of .325 vs. lefties.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhdYS83t3IB7dGpJa0k0ZGxkQ1phUHotR2NDcGR2elE#gid=0

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — June 15, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

  17. It’s one pitch that he throws two different ways. He has a looping 12-6 curve that he used to drop up in the zone for called strikes and then the tilted curve ball that resembles a slider and is usually thrown in the dirt of off the plate from lefties. We haven’t seen any of the former and only the latter this year so far. He gets a ton of lateral movement and it seems like he’s having difficulty finding where exactly he start the pitch.

    Moore missed a couple of weeks in spring training that I feel like he is just beginning to get caught up from. That missed time meant that he had to use the season to refine his release points, grips, and other mechanics that have looked better over the past few weeks. Hopefully he continues to refine that curveball, because his last few starts he’s been erratic in one inning instead of the entire performance, and when he whittles that down even more he’s going to be an absolute monster.

    As to the guy that says he resembles Hamels, Hamels never sat 94 and reached 97 to my knowledge, though his change is even better. Moore’s works because it’s a good pitch, but also because his fastball allows it to play up even more.

    Comment by Sandy Kazmir — June 15, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  18. Or, put another way, “To toot my own horn…”

    Nice work though. Toot away.

    Comment by Jigger — June 15, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  19. I noticed similarly unusual lefty lefty splits for C Freidrich. Can anyone elaborate on whether that is a similar situation of change-up?

    Comment by Baldacci — June 15, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

  20. …of change up greatness to RHB and poor breaking pitch effectiveness to LHB?

    Comment by Baldacci — June 15, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  21. Actually, if you look at all his pitches, they tend to be more elevated against lefthanders. Some lefthanded pitchers learn to eat up lefties with the two seamer, but he doesn’t even command that pitch down in the zone to righthanders yet. It’s true he lives off an elite CH and the SL is poor against lefties. But he needs to improve FB command just as much as he needs a better breaking ball.

    Comment by Paul — June 15, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

  22. yeah, would be funny if opponents start reverse-stacking the lineup with extra LHBs. That could get around the league fast if he continues with such a reverse split.

    Comment by brendan — June 15, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  23. While the pitch mix and effectiveness of the curve/slider is a key issue, I think it’s really not as simple as that.

    He has a >10% walk rate to both lefties and righties so it’s not simply about the breaking ball – his control/command (on all pitches) has not been as sharp as advertised or expected. He’s walking righties at a pretty high rate – given what appears to be a highly effective secondary swing and miss pitch (changeup), why is that? (fastball command?)

    Also the run value on his fastball is negative… while that # has some noise (small sample, BABIP, defense can play an impact, etc), below average at this point seems to indicate more than just a breaking pitch issue. While not having an effective breaking ball probably impacts the effectiveness of the fastball to lefties that is probably not the whole story. (not sure if there is anywhere to look at run value splits on a specific pitch based on batter handedness)

    Comment by Joe — June 15, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  24. I agree with this. I’ll just add that there really should not be SSS issues with the FB pitch values since he throws them 70% of the time. As with any pitcher, clearly he can improve, but I think your diagnosis for his woes to this point is more correct than Dave’s take, which I do agree has some merit.

    Comment by Paul — June 15, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  25. Great analysis. Moore goes out and does exactly what you predicted, he dominated the fish. Learned a lot from this article.

    Comment by Ben — June 16, 2012 @ 12:03 am

  26. I have a bet with LoMo that more viewers of Fangraphs thinks I’m less of a drama queen than BJ Upton. +1 if you agree. -1 if you disagree.

    Comment by Hanley Ramirez — June 16, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  27. that’s what i remembered. And even tonight, with 7 shutout innings and 8 k’s, his breaking ball wasn’t a 70. He has some serious potential.

    Comment by Henry — June 16, 2012 @ 12:38 am

  28. Dominant start against the Marlins indicates TB understands the adjustments he needs to make very well.

    Logan Morrison was the only LH batter in the lineup. Moore threw nothing but FBs to Morrison all three ABs. Second AB walked him on four straight four seamers.

    His pitch values for the FBs were second best on the season for the four seamer, and season best for the two seamer.

    Keep in mind that just two seasons ago at this time the talk around scouting circles was that Matt Moore might not be such a great prospect because he’d had a terrible first half – in A Ball. The culprit was FB command.

    The Rays have done a great job bringing him along slowly, but he’s still awfully young and we can’t expect for long-term command issues to suddenly resolve just because he had a great year in AA. AL East lineups are going to be more challenging than Miami’s but this start shows that if he can command the FB, the sky is the limit. There is no doubt that a lefty-specific offspeed pitch will be needed to neutralize the best LH hitters. But if he commands the fastballs he’ll dominate 80% of lineups in the short term. He should be fun to watch for years.

    Comment by Paul — June 16, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  29. There’s nothing wrong with the quality of Moore’s curve. Every scouting report I’ve read had it graded as a plus to plus-plus pitch, and from watching him this year It dosen’t seem to have gotten any worse. He just hasn’t been able to command it well this year.

    Comment by Greg — June 16, 2012 @ 10:59 am

  30. ‘Tis also a very small sample to base so much upon.

    Comment by Baltar — June 16, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  31. Yeah, but that would go against The Book. Not happening.

    Comment by Jody — June 18, 2012 @ 11:19 am

  32. Not for nothing, but in his last 7 starts, he has an ERA of 2.85, a WHIP of 1.15, 3.95 BB/9 and 11.19 K/9.

    Comment by Dave I — June 18, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  33. Fortunately for Moore, the only manager likely willing to try such a tactic happens to be his manager. I believe it was Maddon who once filled out a lineup full of righties to face Shaun Marcum in an attempt to neutralize his change-up.

    Comment by Misfit — June 18, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

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