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January 3, 2011
Phillies Pitcher Release Points
In November, we published an article about using PITCHf/x data to track pitcher fastball release points over time. The article included several examples of pitchers who had interesting changes in their release points or were especially consistent or inconsistent in their release points from game to game.
This post presents similar data for the pitchers on the roster of one particular team, in this case, the Philadelphia Phillies, along with some brief commentary.
For an explanation of the methodology, please refer to the original article linked above. Mostly this is a data dump. I'd be curious to get feedback on whether people find this information interesting or if they would prefer that I spend my time on something with more narrative and analysis.
Roy Halladay has had a very consistent fastball release point from game to game, although he did raise his arm angle a little bit toward the end of 2008 and dropped it back down slightly in the middle of 2010.
It looks like Cliff Lee moved over toward third base on the pitching rubber in his last start of 2009; otherwise, his release point has been very consistent.
You can see here that Roy Oswalt is shorter than Halladay and Lee, resulting in a lower release point, and he also stands over toward the first-base edge of the pitching rubber. He shifted even farther toward first base for the 2010 season.
Joe Blanton appears to have gradually raised his arm angle and moved toward third base on the rubber. His game-to-game consistency has been good.
Jamie Moyer may never pitch for the Phillies again, but it's interesting to see that he was making adjustments even in his 24th season in the majors. He dropped his arm angle quite dramatically to begin the 2010 season. His game-to-game consistency was about average.
Brad Lidge had poor fastball release point consistency. He also raised his arm angle dramatically to begin 2010, but he dropped it back toward his previous arm angle by midseason.
Ryan Madson raised his arm angle somewhat when he returned from his broken toe in July 2010. His game-to-game release consistency was about average.
This method does not work well for Jose Contreras, but here is his data in this format, anyway, for what it's worth. Contreras purposefully changes his arm angle, dropping down against right-handed batters. Thus, his average release point for a given game is mainly dependent on the mix of lefty and righty batters that he faced.
Danys Baez has had average release point consistency on his fastball.
J.C. Romero has had poor release point consistency on his fastball.