Darvish’s curves

We already know that Yu Darvish makes pitch classification fun. His curveball will be of particular intrigue today. If you average all his hooks together, you’ll get a velocity of around 75 or 76 mph. But, as Harry Pavlidis noted in March, Darvish clearly throws two distinct kinds of curves: If you look through Darvish’s game logs, you’ll typically see a break at around 75 mph that separates the hard curve from the soft curve.

          #    mph              
slow      145  71
hard      149  80

If we break this down a little bit further and look at the strike count in which the pitch was thrown, it’s clear to see that Darvish favors his hard curve when he’s trying to put the hitter away.

          0 strike    1 strike  2 strike
slow      85          52        8        
hard      14          16        119

In other words, 23 percent of his two-strike pitches are hard curves, while two percent of his two-strike pitches are slow curves. Dan Brooks has been doing some posts on Twitter recently about pitchers varying their curveball velocity in two-strike counts from no and one-strike counts, and unsurprisingly, Darvish (with his slow and hard curves lumped together) was near the top of his list.

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