The Life of Brian’s Fastball Part 2

Illustrated edition.

Yesterday I talked about San Francisco’s closer Brian Wilson and his breakthrough season. I mostly attributed his recent success to an increase in horizontal movement on his fastball. Since I don’t have my own Pitch F/x database and am to lazy to learn MySQL, I asked our own Dave Allen if he could give me a hand with some Pitch F/x graphs. Dave was suffering with some internet issues and wasn’t able to oblige me until the post had already published, but I thought it would be a shame to not put the graphs to good use. They really bring out the dramatic change in the movement of Wilson’s fastball, and more.

pit_08

pit_09

Wilson’s 2008 fastball had the speed of a normal 4-seam fastball, but almost cutter-like movement. This year’s edition is much more 4-seamer’ish. What also stands out his his breaking pitches are a little ‘sharper’, for a lack of a better term.

According to the Pitch F/x data available here at FanGraphs, Wilson’s slider had five and a half inches of horizontal movement last season, and .8 inches of vertical movement. This year’s slider averages 3 inches of horizontal movement and 1.2 inches of vertical movement. I take it that Dave has his own smarter pitch categorization system that differs from straight Pitch F/x, which is why you see more cutters than sliders in Wilson’s 2009 graph.

Whether you want to classify the pitch as a hard slider, cutter or ‘slutter’ or what have you, it’s plain to see Wilson is a bit of a different animal this season.

Thank you Dave.



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Erik Manning is the founder of Future Redbirds and covers the Cardinals for Heater Magazine. You can get more of his analysis and rantings in bite-sized bits by following him on twitter.


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Tyler
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Tyler
6 years 10 months ago

“Slutter?” That’s really where you want to go with that? lol

Still, it’s a nice little graph and it’s interesting to see. What happens if it doesn’t bear out over the first couple months of next season? Do you write it off as an anomaly, that maybe he was doing something with his mechanics unconsciously that changed that?

Matt B.
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

Slutter! Why didn’t I think of that? Good read, cool graph.

Matt B.
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

p.s. Looking at the ads on this site, are we all considered to be that big of nerds?

Big Oil
Guest
Big Oil
6 years 10 months ago

I’ve been thinking the same thing too. Wouldn’t the fact that we like an outdoor sport (and presumably enjoy attending said sport) factor in at all?

Ezra
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Ezra
6 years 10 months ago

The LeRoy Smith motivation ads are worth checking out, and I never click ads. Here’s a shortcut to the best part.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmKjM3ToOOg

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

Wilson throws a cutter. Or at least he thinks he is. He learned the cutter from Mariano Rivera when the Yankee closer demonstrated how he holds the ball in a TV interview. But I guess until Rivera looks at how he does it, and gives him a tip or two, it will just be a nice knockoff.

He has been agitating to throw it almost all the time, but has been rebuffed thus far.

Nick
Guest
6 years 10 months ago

I’m not sure that him gaining movement on the fastball automatically makes it a better pitch. His fastball movement right now is about average, however, it was more cutter like last year (like you said). It seems that a cutter is better than an average fastball in terms of movement.

floorpromotion
Guest
6 years 8 months ago

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