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Overall Pitch Data

This is the final part of my pitch-ranking data. Let’s start with the top 25 overall pitches, starters and relievers combined.

Top Pitches:

Position Pitch Player Sw+Whf% Sw+Whf% Z xwOBA xwOBA Z Z Total
SP 4-Seam Chris Sale 85.89 3.08 0.24 2.86 5.94
SP Curveball Corey Kluber 109.61 3.16 0.12 2.26 5.42
SP Changeup Stephen Strasburg 104.30 2.31 0.15 2.76 5.07
SP 4-Seam Jacob deGrom 83.06 2.68 0.27 2.13 4.81
SP Slider Carlos Carrasco 108.62 2.51 0.15 2.06 4.56
RP 4-Seam Craig Kimbrel 94.74 2.34 0.23 1.80 4.15
RP 4-Seam Sean Doolittle 90.81 1.91 0.22 2.02 3.93
SP Slider Max Scherzer 104.66 2.10 0.17 1.79 3.89
RP 4-Seam Chad Green 85.35 1.30 0.20 2.57 3.87
SP Cutter James Paxton 89.03 1.81 0.20 2.03 3.84
SP Changeup Luis Castillo 97.25 1.46 0.18 2.27 3.73
SP Sinker Trevor Williams 68.72 1.87 0.30 1.73 3.61
SP 2-Seam Sonny Gray 72.12 2.18 0.30 1.39 3.57
RP Slider Roberto Osuna 108.02 1.97 0.16 1.52 3.49
SP 4-Seam Jose Berrios 74.74 1.51 0.27 1.97 3.48
SP 2-Seam Jaime Garcia 67.96 1.49 0.28 1.97 3.46
RP Slider Arodys Vizcaino 105.81 1.78 0.16 1.54 3.32
SP Cutter Corey Kluber 97.90 2.82 0.28 0.48 3.30
SP Slider Sonny Gray 97.27 1.35 0.16 1.87 3.22
RP Cutter Jacob Barnes 104.09 1.99 0.22 1.21 3.20
SP 2-Seam David Price 72.83 2.29 0.32 0.86 3.15
SP 4-Seam Jimmy Nelson 76.65 1.78 0.30 1.34 3.12
SP Changeup Danny Salazar 102.60 2.11 0.23 1.01 3.12
SP Cutter Tyler Chatwood 84.08 1.25 0.21 1.81 3.06
RP Slider Raisel Iglesias 98.47 1.13 0.14 1.93 3.06

We have two pitchers that show up twice — Corey Kluber and Sonny Gray. Kluber has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball in 2017, so that is unsurprising. However, Gray as his only two-pitch counterpart is unexpected. Gray is by no means a poor pitcher, but not the same level as Kluber. Jaime Garcia and Tyler Chatwood are the only guys on this list who jump out as poor pitchers, in 2017 at least. Luis Castillo and Jacob Barnes are probably the only guys on this list who are completely unfamiliar for most. Castillo’s future looks bright, where Barnes looks less significant.

I’m sure some have been wondering: What are the worst pitches?

Applying some context, these are certainly not the worst pitches in the game. Just the worst thrown consistently. Every pitch had to reach a minimum number of times thrown to reach this list. These are not the absolute worst pitches in the game, but make no mistake, they are still truly awful. The bottom ten of over 700 pitches. Anyway, here are the ten worst that I measured:

Position Pitch Player xwOBA xwOBA Z Sw+Whf% Sw+Whf% Z Z Total
RP 4-Seam Justin Grimm 0.457 -3.16 55.67 -1.98 -5.14
SP Slider Kevin Gausman 0.428 -3.23 68.95 -1.52 -4.75
SP Changeup Mike Leake 0.344 -1.47 61.34 -2.87 -4.33
RP Curveball Dellin Betances 0.405 -2.99 66.16 -1.33 -4.32
RP 4-Seam Warwick Saupold 0.397 -1.85 53.32 -2.24 -4.09
RP Slider Jason Grilli 0.355 -2.19 67.13 -1.65 -3.83
SP Curveball Jordan Zimmermann 0.401 -2.64 60.79 -1.19 -3.83
SP Slider Johnny Cueto 0.337 -1.49 61.61 -2.27 -3.76
SP 2-Seam Paul Blackburn 0.402 -1.21 44.28 -2.43 -3.64
RP 4-Seam Mike Montgomery 0.36 -1.04 50.43 -2.56 -3.60

Two names jump out immediately in that list. Dellin Betances and Johnny Cueto. However, considering the widely-known struggles of those two, it’s not nearly as shocking as it might have been last year. Justin Grimm has been downright atrocious, so it’s fitting to see him there. The same goes for Jason Grilli. And Jordan Zimmermann. Kevin Gausman was awful, but has turned it around. Mike Leake has done the exact opposite of that. This is the first time I have seen Warwick Saupold and Paul Blackburn on a list of any kind, good or bad. Blackburn has actually been solid in a small sample for the A’s in his rookie year. Montgomery has continued to provide quality long-relief innings and spot starts for the Cubs.

This was just my first trial run playing around with pitch values. I will continue to work towards a better formula and continue to post in the future. I will post the Excel file with all the pitches and data I used for calculations. Feel free to add, but please don’t change or delete any of the original information.

Pitch Data Excel File