Pedro Meets The Yankees Again

The last time Pedro Martinez faced the New York Yankees in the post-season came back during the 2004 American League Championship Series. Some may recall that series because (a) it launched a million annoying Red Sox fans and (b) Pedro appeared in game seven as a reliever, pitching an inning and giving up a few runs. Five years later, many things have changed. The Yankees’ trophy cases are empty since – Boston’s case is not – and Pedro has only appeared in one playoff game since leaving soon after.

Needless to say, the old rivals will have some catching up to do prior to Pedro’s first start – whether that comes in Game Two or Three is anyone’s guess at the moment. The Yankees side of things seems to be well-covered, so let’s focus on Pedro and what he works with nowadays.


No longer the ethereal and (at times) deadly projectile of times past, Pedro can still get over 90 MPH, just not with any sense of regularity. That doesn’t stop him from using the pitch nearly 60% of the time. The lack of top-end velocity hasn’t stopped batters from swinging and missing 9.3% of the time either. Left-handed batters, of which the Yankees have a few, still went contact-less about 9% of the time. Pedro’s fastballs still flash some decent movement too, just at a reduced pace.


The Isis to the fastball’s Osiris, Pedro’s change is quite the miss. Despite a whiff rate of 18%, it does have a negative run value; however, the figure could be a benefactor of shoddy luck rather than a staple of ineffectiveness because of defensive dependence. The Phillies were one of the three best defensive teams in the National League as told by UZR and their pitchers combined for a .304 regular season BABIP (for reference: Pedro’s regular season BABIP was .315). Looking for the actual hit data against the change-up to corroborate the ‘it’s just luck’ assortment serves no help to Pedro. The pitch was put into play on 41 occasions and 25 turned into outs. That’s a .390 BABIP on 46% groundballs and a wee bit misfortunate. The question becomes whether a pitch can generate that many whiffs and yet still be extremely hittable. Maybe it was location or good guessing by the hitters or maybe it’s just small sample sizes magnifying everything.

Breaking pitches

Pedro’s curveball gets the second most whiffs of his pitches. There’s some debate as to whether he throws a slider or cutter. The pitch goes in the low-80s, so I would call it a slider. It doesn’t induce many empty swings, no matter what you call it.

Print This Post

12 Responses to “Pedro Meets The Yankees Again”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Mr. S says:

    One thing I’m looking forward to:


    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Eric Cioe says:

    Ethereal fastball in 2004? He still was throwing it below 90 then. He’s not one of those guys who had a legendary fastball. I’d be really curious to see how hard he was throwing it in the glory years. Of course, any report you read from back then takes the velocity that he hit once that night and says “he sat there,” just like they do with amateur pitchers scouting reports these days. I’d guess that he never averaged much harder than 94, if that. That was plenty for his purposes, obviously. But he wasn’t one of those pitchers like Johnson, Smoltz, Schilling, Clemens, etc, who had mid 90s heat his whole career. Pedro made his name on two things: his command and his changeup. That’s all it takes to put together a legendary season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Rob in CT says:

      I remember watching Pedro in his prime with the Sox, and I recall a guy with an “electric” fastball. I know you can’t trust stadium radar guns, but the batters told me what I needed to know. Pedro threw smoke. The guns had him sitting in the mid 90s and cranking it up to 97-98 when he needed to. Ok, take a couple of mph off that. Say he sat 93 and hit 95-96 when needed. That would still put him in the elite, wouldn’t it?

      Add in the change and what I thought was a power curve or slurve of some sort, and he was just about unhittable. By 2004, he’d lost a bit of velocity, sure, but no way was he sitting under 90mph.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Tom B says:

        you can absolutely “trust” the guns. The ball looked like “smoke” because it’s this little wiry guy with smooth mechanics that makes the fastball look faster.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Steve says:

    Pedro didn’t have an ethereal fastball? What? You must not have seen him pitch many times. Before he hurt his shoulder, he could sit in the mid-90s. He topped out at 98 or so and it had great life. He had some of the greatest seasons of all time not only because of command and changing speeds but because he had three plus-plus pitches.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Jason J says:

    Pedro’s fastball was sicc in his legendary seasons. As was his curveball and changeup. It was an unreal and unfair combination.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Steve says:

    Clemens didn’t have a high powered fastball for his whole career. By 1995 and 1996, he mostly around 90-93, sometimes topping out at 92. Then lo and behold, he starts hitting the upper nineties again in 1997. I mean, who couldn’t have seen that coming? That kind of velocity jump from a pitcher in his mid-30s happens on the time. Naturally, he was still hitting 99 on the gun during the 2001 World Series.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. I’m just so glad that the Yankees are facing Pedro in the World Series. The rivalry with him is so much fun and at 38 I really don’t fear him anymore.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. 12 pack abs says:

    i love how your blog about it..12 Pack Abs

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Algernon says:

    This is usually a great and nice learn. Your blog is written in such a way it’s so easy to read and understand. I’m a fan of your blog site. Appreciate your sharing these details.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Sometimes seeing another person’s point of light enlighten my very own vision. I’m not going to going to say what everybody else has already stated, however i must say, I cant believe how a lot of this I just wasnt aware of .Thank you for publishing more info to this matter for us.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *