Foulke tales

Keith Foulke returns to the major leagues this year after a one-year retirement. After battling knee injuries in 2005 and 2006, Foulke retired just prior to the 2007 season. He has rejoined the Oakland Athletics for 2008 and is expected to fill a key role in their bullpen.

We have PITCHf/x data for his appearance against the Giants today, and I thought it would be interesting to see how hard he was throwing and what his pitch selection was.

Foulke worked a scoreless eighth inning, and 15 of the 20 pitches he threw were recorded by the PITCHf/x system. Of those, he threw 13 total fastballs by my count. A couple of the fastballs had movement that looked like they might have been sinkers. His fastball was hitting 83-85 mph, which isn’t very encouraging from a relief pitcher who doesn’t particularly have nasty movement. He threw one change-up (72 mph) and one slider (81 mph).

On a somewhat-related note, the real-time pitch classification system deployed by MLB with Gameday this year is a nice addition, but it does not appear to be very accurate on non-obvious pitches. It had a horrible time with Foulke today, calling half of his fastballs change-ups and his one change-up a curveball(!).

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