Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.
Table: League’s Top Changeups by Pitch-Type Runs, 2012
As Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com was first to report on Wednesday, the Seattle Mariners have traded left-hander Jason Vargas (829.2 career IP, 5.9 WAR, 8.4 RA9-Wins) to the Angels for first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales (1762 career PA, 6.0 WAR). As Jeff Sullivan noted not long after that, the trade mostly benefits both teams. “The Angels,” writes Sullivan, “had too many bats and too few starting pitchers, so they traded a bat for a starting pitcher. The Mariners wanted a bat more than they wanted to keep one of their starting pitchers.”
Morales’s best tool is his power, represented most succinctly by his .210 career ISO. Vargas’s best tool is his changeup. Nor is Vargas’s changeup his best pitch, it’s also one of the best pitches in the league.
Consider, by way of illustration, the following table — of the league’s 10-best changeups in 2012 by linear-weight runs relative to average. Horizontal movement is represented (in inches, where a positive number represents a pitch breaking towards a right-handed batter) by X-Mov; vertical movement (in inches, where a positive number represents “rise” relative to a ball unaffected by drag) by Y-Mov. R/100 is runs above average per 100 thrown.
|Chris Sale||White Sox||192.0||20.9%||83.6||11.6||1.0||1.9||11.6|
What we discover here is that, had Fernando Rodney not entirely remade himself, Jason Vargas would have been King of the Changeups in 2012 — i.e. a title the author just invented right this second. What we also discover is that Vargas’s changeup is rather important to his survival as a major-league pitcher: since 2007, it’s the only pitch of his to have recorded a positive pitch-type run total relative to league average.
Action Footage: Three of Jason Vargas’s Changeups
“What does Jason Vargas’s changeup even look like?” someone has probably wondered somewhere at some point. Below is, in fact, what three of Vargas’s changeups (all swinging strikes) looked like this past May against the Red Sox — which team’s excellent center-field camera represents the best in front of which Vargas pitched this season.
Here’s a 1-0 pitch to Kelly Shoppach in the second inning:
Here’s a 1-2 pitch, for a strikeout, to Will Middlebrooks in the third:
And here’s another pitch to Middlebrooks, on an 0-1 counts in the fifth:
Credit to Brooks Baseball for pitch data.
SCOUT Leaderboards: Mexican Pacific League
Below are the current SCOUT leaderboards for the Mexican Pacific League. (Ages as of July 1st, 2012. Players listed with most recent team. Click here for more on what is SCOUT.)
SCOUT Leaderboard: Mexican Pacific League Hitters
Below is the current SCOUT batting leaderboard for the Mexican Pacific League. SCOUT+ is calculated using regressed home-run, walk, and strikeout rates, where 100 is average and above 100 is above average.
SCOUT Leaderboard: Mexican Pacific League Pitchers
Below is the current SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the Mexican Pacific League. SCOUT- is calculated using regressed strikeout and walk rates where 100 is average and below 100 is above average.
|Adrian C. Ramirez||MEX||24||33||31.2||132||27.5%||8.7%||72|
SCOUT Leaderboard: Mexican Pacific League Pitchers (Starters)
Here is the SCOUT pitching leaderboard for the Mexican Pacific League, but only populated with pitchers who’ve made at least half of their appearances as starts.
|Marco Duarte||Red Sox||25||12||11||56.2||253||23.4%||9.2%||85|