Pitching to zones, part three: 2011 observations

My last two posts here have been dedicated to the location of pitches to different regions of the strike zone. Today, I’d like to see where some pitchers (minimum 150 pitches) are locating in 2011 (refer back to last week’s post for some league averages). First, a common spot for put-away breaking balls: Low and out of the strike zone.


Rank Pitcher Pitch Type Low OZ%
1 Hiroki Kuroda Splitter 53.6%
2 A.J. Burnett Curveball 51.3%
3 Mat Latos Slider 50.4%
4 Tim Lincecum Changeup 49.7%
5 Matt Garza Slider 46.2%
6 Derek Lowe Changeup 46.1%
7 Josh Johnson Slider 45.1%
8 Chris Narveson Curveball 44.7%
9 Fausto Carmona Changeup 44.6%
10 Yovani Gallardo Curveball 42.1%

Unsurprisingly, everything here is an offspeed or breaking pitch.

Now at the other end of the spectrum, here are the pitches that have been up and out of the strike zone the most:


Rank Pitcher Pitch Type High OZ%
1 Tyler Clippard Fastball 33.3%
2 Anthony Swarzak Fastball 32.3%
3 Ryan Dempster Fastball 31.0%
4 John Lannan Fastball 29.4%
5 Jesse Crain Fastball 28.9%
6 David Hernandez Fastball 28.3%
7 Heath Bell Fastball 28.0%
8 John Lackey Fastball 27.9%
9 Jeff Niemann Fastball 27.8%
10 Jake Arrieta Fastball 27.5%

This group is diverse, as it gets some extremely whiff-heavy fastballs (Clippard’s, Crain’s) and others that induce a lot of contact (Swarzak’s, Lannan’s). Fastballs typically become harder to hit as they are located higher in the zone.

As for side-to-side pitches, I want to do something a little bit different. First, I want to limited this to fastballs (four-seam and two-seam sinkers), since if we included breaking and offspeed pitches, the list would be dominated by changeups away to opposite-handed batters and sliders away to same-handed batters.

With fastballs, there seems to be more variation in where different pitchers throw, though as you’ll see, fastballs (especially four-seamers) are more often outside than inside.

Anyway, as a means of getting general trends, I’m going to lump all the pitches away from “middle” (Out IZ, Out OZ) into one big “out” group and all the pitches in from “middle” (In IZ, In OZ) into an “in” group, and then get the ratio of “out” pitches to “in” pitches.


Rank Pitcher Pitch Type OUT/IN
1 Rafael Betancourt Fastball 132.00
2 Huston Street Sinker 91.00
3 Jesse Crain Fastball 19.67
4 Joel Peralta Fastball 14.00
5 Felix Hernandez Sinker 12.87
6 Mike Gonzalez Fastball 11.71
7 Kevin Gregg Fastball 11.67
8 Jered Weaver Sinker 11.60
9 Kameron Loe Sinker 11.56
10 Heath Bell Fastball 10.60
1x Hiroki Kuroda Fastball 0.21
2x Brett Anderson Sinker 0.32
3x Marc Rzepczynski Sinker 0.49
4x Jonny Venters Sinker 0.52
5x Eric O’Flaherty Fastball 0.61
6x Aaron Harang Fastball 0.63
7x Jon Garland Fastball 0.63
8x Dillon Gee Fastball 0.65
9x Scott Downs Sinker 0.75
10x Brian Duensing Sinker 0.77


Rank Pitcher Pitch Type OUT/IN
1 Bartolo Colon Fastball 30.50
2 Vinnie Pestano Fastball 20.75
3 CC Sabathia Sinker 19.25
4 Livan Hernandez Fastball 18.80
5 Jon Lester Sinker 11.25
6 Jon Garland Fastball 10.00
7 Joaquin Benoit Fastball 9.90
8 Aaron Harang Fastball 9.55
9 Marc Rzepczynski Sinker 8.25
10 Scott Downs Sinker 8.14
1x Josh Rupe Fastball 0.09
2x Jake Arrieta Sinker 0.10
3x Wilton Lopez Sinker 0.10
4x Barry Enright Sinker 0.12
5x Michael Crotta Sinker 0.16
6x Aroldis Chapman Fastball 0.17
7x Jo-Jo Reyes Fastball 0.18
8x Jaime Garcia Fastball 0.18
9x Bronson Arroyo Sinker 0.23
10x Ryan Webb Sinker 0.25

NOTE: Kyle Drabek’s sinker was 4th on my list for out/in to lefties, but I left it out due to a clear misclassification.

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