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Daily Notes for March 19th

Posted By Carson Cistulli On March 19, 2012 @ 10:00 am In Daily Notes | 2 Comments

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. Select Televised Games
2. Largely Inconsequential Table: Pitchers with Three Fastballs
3. Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: San Diego Radio

Select Televised Games
Milwaukee at Texas | 16:05 ET
Very famous Japaniranian Yu Darvish makes his third start of the spring today, according to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. Here’s his (i.e. Darvish’s, not T.R Sullivan’s) line so far: 2/2 G/GS, 5.0 IP, 6 K, 4 BB, 0 HR.

MLB.TV Audio Feed: Texas Television.

Los Angeles AL at Colorado | 16:10 ET
Right-hander Juan Nicasio will start this game for Colorado, reports MLB.com’s Greg Johns. Making his MLB debut in 2011, Nicasio averaged 94.0 mph on his fastball and posted an 89 xFIP- and 1.4 WAR in 71.2 innings. His spring-training line is equally encouraging: 7.0 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 0 HR.

MLB.TV Audio Feed: Los Angeles Television.

Largely Inconsequential Table: Pitchers with Three Fastballs
The following table, which is of little consequence, is a record of every pitcher from 2011 who (a) faced at least 50 batters and (b) threw three different fastballs more than 5% of the time each, according to PITCHf/x.

The impetus for the creation of this table comes from watching Braves right-hander Cory Gearrin on Sunday. Gearrin, in case you’re unaware, throws either a two-seamer or slider on basically every pitch. The two offerings look somewhat similar (on television, at least) until the moment when the relevant break occurs — inside to a right-handed batter for the two-seamer, and away from a right-handed batter for the slider. The combination was effective for Gearrin on Sunday, leading to two strikeouts in the only inning he threw.

It occurred to me that this is not unlike what the very excellent Roy Halladay does, except that Halladay has three different fastballs: a two-seamer, a cutter, and a four-seamer. (Note: Brooks Baseball doesn’t have Halladay as throwing a four-seamer, instead classifying more of both two-seamers and cutters. The point still remains, however: he has fastballs that break in different directions). Because all three pitches are generally thrown at a similar velocity, but also all move in different ways (especially the cutter and two-seamer), it would seem that possessing three different fastballs would represent an advantage for a pitcher, one that would show up either in his peripherals or in an ability to suppress BABIP.

In fact, this doesn’t appear to be the case — or, at least not in the sample at which I looked. According to the relevant custom leaderboard, there appear to be 63 pitchers who both (a) faced at least 50 batters and (b) threw a four-seamer, cutter, and either two-seamer or sinker at least 5% of the time each. The average xFIP- for this group is 101. The average BABIP is .287 — rather close to the 2011 league-average BABIP of .291. Indeed, the existence of a three-fastball arsenal doesn’t appear to create any sort of specific advantage for pitchers in and of itself.

In any case, here’s the aforementioned table. Note that Spread represents the degree to which a pitcher throws his three fastballs with equivalent frequency (where a lower Spread represents greater similarity). So, for example, the average frequency with which Carlos Zambrano throws each of his three fastballs is 24.3%. His four-seamer is 2.7% lower than that average; his cutter is 1.8% lower than that average; and his sinker is 4.6% above that average. The average of the absolute values of those three figures (-2.7%, -1.8%, and 4.6%) is 3.0%.

Name IP TBF xFIP- FA% FC% FT/SI% Spread
Jesse Litsch 75.0 317 90 19.4% 19.4% 17.8% 0.7%
Carlos Zambrano 145.2 634 113 21.6% 22.5% 28.9% 3.0%
Jake Peavy 111.2 470 87 26.0% 17.0% 20.1% 3.3%
C.J. Wilson 223.1 915 84 23.7% 16.0% 23.6% 3.4%
Brett Myers 216.0 917 97 16.2% 22.6% 11.4% 3.9%
Chad Billingsley 188.0 829 107 32.4% 25.7% 19.2% 4.4%
Roy Halladay 233.2 933 70 26.6% 24.9% 15.6% 4.5%
Jason Vargas 201.0 857 110 24.2% 13.7% 25.4% 4.9%
Shaun Marcum 200.2 823 101 23.4% 19.9% 9.9% 5.2%
Daisuke Matsuzaka 37.1 167 142 20.2% 13.6% 29.1% 5.4%
Kyle Farnsworth 57.2 231 80 24.9% 15.5% 31.8% 5.7%
John Danks 170.1 728 94 33.0% 25.6% 16.0% 5.9%
Jeremy Guthrie 208.0 889 110 28.7% 11.5% 22.1% 6.2%
Jon Lester 191.2 799 90 35.3% 25.1% 16.7% 6.4%
Mark Buehrle 205.1 858 102 31.7% 13.4% 20.2% 6.6%
Carlos Fisher 24.0 110 123 22.6% 34.8% 16.9% 6.7%
Alfredo Aceves 114.0 474 118 21.4% 20.5% 36.2% 6.8%
Cliff Lee 232.2 920 69 17.7% 22.8% 35.9% 7.0%
Kyle Drabek 78.2 365 126 35.5% 16.1% 29.4% 7.3%
Wandy Rodriguez 191.0 808 97 27.6% 6.0% 18.1% 7.5%
Luke Hochevar 198.0 835 100 33.6% 15.4% 17.6% 7.6%
Louis Coleman 59.2 244 101 28.0% 7.2% 13.9% 7.8%
Chris Narveson 161.2 699 106 23.6% 5.7% 22.7% 7.8%
Kevin Correia 154.0 660 114 30.4% 8.4% 17.1% 7.8%
Ryan Franklin 27.2 133 114 29.8% 25.4% 9.9% 7.9%
Josh Beckett 193.0 767 89 35.2% 20.1% 14.1% 8.0%
Jered Weaver 235.2 926 94 30.5% 6.0% 19.1% 8.4%
Alfredo Simon 115.2 499 104 18.3% 7.3% 33.0% 9.0%
Kevin Millwood 54.1 222 92 35.2% 16.9% 12.9% 9.0%
Logan Ondrusek 61.1 268 117 33.6% 27.6% 10.1% 9.1%
Casey Janssen 55.2 223 75 37.2% 30.4% 13.0% 9.2%
Miguel Batista 60.0 262 134 16.9% 36.6% 39.1% 9.3%
Scott Feldman 32.0 129 92 8.1% 25.4% 33.1% 9.4%
Dontrelle Willis 75.2 334 106 33.6% 6.9% 17.7% 9.5%
Mike Leake 167.2 693 95 7.7% 31.7% 26.8% 9.6%
Jamey Wright 68.1 286 100 14.7% 13.4% 35.9% 9.7%
Anibal Sanchez 196.1 830 84 30.0% 6.0% 9.6% 9.9%
D.J. Carrasco 49.1 225 124 10.1% 35.2% 15.3% 10.0%
Jaime Garcia 194.2 826 86 23.4% 6.7% 35.3% 10.1%
Jonathon Niese 157.1 694 85 40.2% 17.0% 17.0% 10.3%
Doug Davis 45.2 224 125 23.9% 39.5% 8.6% 10.3%
Josh Tomlin 165.1 662 100 33.3% 30.8% 8.6% 10.4%
Fr. Rodriguez 13.2 59 120 47.0% 33.8% 16.4% 10.7%
Matt Harrison 185.2 772 95 31.6% 8.0% 33.0% 10.8%
Gavin Floyd 193.2 798 92 38.7% 27.5% 7.9% 11.2%
Dustin Moseley 120.0 504 110 8.7% 20.7% 40.1% 11.3%
Travis Wood 106.0 463 120 41.8% 19.4% 13.0% 11.4%
Vinnie Pestano 62.0 250 69 44.4% 10.3% 24.3% 12.0%
Tommy Hunter 84.2 367 106 44.0% 28.2% 8.6% 12.2%
Joe Blanton 41.1 180 82 7.5% 10.2% 37.8% 12.9%
Clay Buchholz 82.2 353 106 41.8% 13.1% 9.8% 13.5%
A.J. Burnett 190.1 837 95 39.9% 6.9% 10.6% 13.8%
Dan Haren 238.1 953 82 13.7% 48.0% 19.3% 14.0%
Vance Worley 131.2 553 95 44.3% 10.1% 9.8% 15.3%
Liam Hendriks 23.1 100 91 43.6% 11.7% 5.3% 15.6%
Blake Beavan 97.0 405 110 46.2% 9.6% 9.8% 16.2%
Jason Motte 68.0 268 88 56.7% 18.9% 19.8% 16.6%
Nick Blackburn 148.1 670 107 8.4% 15.5% 49.7% 16.8%
Adam Wilk 13.1 57 101 44.6% 5.0% 7.0% 17.2%
Jeff Samardzija 88.0 380 111 50.9% 13.8% 6.9% 18.0%
Tom Milone 26.0 110 119 53.6% 5.7% 13.5% 19.6%
Duane Below 29.0 127 118 51.5% 7.6% 6.8% 19.7%
John Ely 12.2 56 102 55.5% 10.9% 8.7% 20.3%

Crowdsourcing Broadcasters: San Diego Radio
Recently, we released the results of our television broadcaster rankings — itself the product of reader crowdsourcing that started in late November. Now, FanGraphs is asking readers to rate the radio broadcast teams for all 30 major-league clubs (Click here for more on this project.)

Rate other teams: Washington / Toronto / Texas / Tampa Bay / Seattle / San Francisco.


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