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Another Junkballer

This one has the most effective change-up amongst all relievers. Two quick facts about the pitch: 1) It averages a velocity in the upper-60s; 2) It’s not a change-up at all. I’m talking about Reds reliever Daniel Herrera, best known as the other other guy in the Josh Hamilton trade. In nearly 40 innings this season Herrera has posted a pretty decent FIP despite a fastball that average less than 84 miles per hour.

Before getting to the graphs, here’s a first person scouting report:

DRH: I throw a 4-seam fastball, cutter, sinker, slurve, change-up, and screwball. I will obviously carry the junk-ball tag because I don’t throw hard and I’m effective with my offspeed pitches, but my approach to hitters is different from your typical pitcher. I find value in movement and deception so I like to incorporate different speeds and arm angles to get outs.

Basically: if a pitch exists, Herrera probably has a grip for it. Coincidentally the screwball is a pitch that isn’t too reliant upon its grip, but rather that arm movement that goes with it. Since Herrera is a lefty, his screwball acts like a reverse slider and breaks away from right-handed batters.

Looking at one of Herrera’s game charts and trying to identify the pitches is a nice challenge. Below you see a ton of random dots, with pitchfx identifying his change-ups and sliders in two different quadrants. That’s never a good thing. So how can you attempt and identify which pitches are which? By using the other game chart graphs.

4552_p_0_200904140_game

Here you see the horizontal movement and velocity. Since the two fastball dots are easily the hardest thrown pitches in this game, it’s a safe bet to assume those are correct in their label. The three pitches in the bottom left quadrant appear to be what Herrera would call his slurve, and the five pitches in the bottom right are his screwballs. The one change-up just floating there seems to be his sinker.

4552_p_2_200904140_game

I’m not belittling the pitchfx classification system or telling you to not trust our pitch types/values; sometimes players like Herrera simply cause everything to go nutty. As a 5’7” lefty with a screwball, I think he’s used to that reaction.