A Rare Bright Spot for the A’s

The A’s came into the season looking to contend with some newly acquired position players and a group of young pitchers. The acquisitions didn’t hit and the young pitcher’s have been shaky, so the A’s traded off Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera to continue to stock their growing farm system and push contention off for another year. In a frustrating year there have been some bright spots, one is Brett Anderson. He has a FIP right at 4 and had the third best FIP in July.

Throughout his minor league career Anderson has been known for his very good command and great ground ball numbers. Interestingly it looks like he throws a four-seam fastball, which only gets 38% GBs. Most ground ball pitchers throw a ‘sinking’ two-seam fastball, which gets most of their grounders. Anderson, though, doesn’t get many grounders from his fastball. Instead his main ground ball pitch is his slider.

According to the BIS classification Anderson is just one of four pitchers to have thrown over 30% sliders so far this year. The pitch is very interesting. It has the speed of a slider,

cu_sl_speed

and the movement of a curve.

curv_slid_move

Unlike most sliders which show a pronounced platoon split, Anderson’s shows none, more like a curve. As a result he throws it almost equally to both LHBs and RHBs. The top sliders in the game get huge whiff rates, in the 40% range, by comparison Anderson’s is rather meager at just 25%. But Anderson can get his in the zone over 52% of the time and it induces ground balls over 68% of the time. Both of these rates are very high for sliders. All together it is worth almost 13 runs and is the third best slider in the game.

Anderson is a really interesting pitcher. Most ground ball/control guys do it by throwing two-seam fastballs around 70% of the time. Anderson does it with a slurvy-slider which moves like a curve, has little platoon split, he can locate in the zone and hitters pound into the ground.




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Dave Allen's other baseball work can be found at Baseball Analysts.

5 Responses to “A Rare Bright Spot for the A’s”

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  1. Deacon Drake says:

    Power curve?

    Whatever it is, when it is on, it is beautiful stuff.

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  2. theraysparty says:

    His movement reminds me of J.P. Howell’s curve. I think when a slider gets that kind of vertical movement, it will usually have top spin.

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    • Dave Allen says:

      Interesting, yeah the movement looks very similar and just 3 mph slower on average. Howell has good ground ball numbers too, and I assume lots of them are coming off that curve.

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  3. MetsFan says:

    Nice work DaveA. Your writing (I never commented on content) has improved markedly.

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