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July 12, 2012

Baseball Prospectus News

Introducing the BP Pitcher Profiles

by Dan Brooks and Harry Pavlidis

Last weekend we posted “Hitter Profiles,” which let you look at PITCHf/x data for each hitter in MLB filtered by a bunch of different attributes. Today, we’re posting their companion piece, “Pitcher Profiles.” You can search for pitchers here. As we did for the Hitter Profiles, we’ll be adding a dropdown link to the search interface from the “Statistics” tab on the nav bar at the top of the page.

We think these profiles will revolutionize the way people look at PITCHf/x data. Location is perhaps the most important attribute of a pitch, and the Pitcher Profiles allow you to examine the results of pitches across multiple spatial locations. PITCHf/x data has been available for five years, but we haven’t been able to examine it this way, at least publicly. (There are scouting services that provide this kind of data.) It was the first thing that a scout I talked to asked for.

To help remind you of what each pitcher throws, we’ve posted the basic PITCHf/x data above the profile chart. Because this table is currently hosted within our player cards at Brooks Baseball, it might take a second longer to load than the profile below (though this issue will be remedied very shortly). As before, all of this pitch data is pulled directly from the Pitch Info LLC database, so you can be confident in the quality of the custom pitch classifications.

You should also know that the outside-the-zone locations are more or less “to scale” with the rest of the plot and do not extend to infinity (or the ground). So, the absolute numbers of pitches will be different between the two tables, especially for pitch types that are often buried in the dirt (these buried pitches are not included in our profile). We thought this was the best trade-off, because it presents the most relevant data: what happens in and around the strike zone (this is also true of our hitter cards). Also, because different batters are different heights, the vertical zone locations are generated using ex-BPer Mike Fast’s formula for batter height.

We think there are plenty of fun and informative things to look at with this new tool. For example, look at where two sinkerballers locate to LHH by comparing Justin Masterson’s pitch frequency to Derek Lowe’s pitch frequency, and then switch over to TAv to see their results at those locations. Look at the results on Jon Lester’s cutter when he leaves it out over the plate and when he’s trying to bust RHH inside. Look at how often Jonathan Papelbon elevates his fastball. And see how much power hitters generate when Justin Verlander grooves a pitch:

Your feedback on the Hitter Profiles was extremely helpful. Because of your comments, we increased the number of sortable statistics to 19 and added several multi-sort options for pitch groupings, first/second half, etc. Please provide feedback for the Pitcher Profiles, and we’ll try to incorporate as many of your changes as possible.

Dan Brooks is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Dan's other articles. You can contact Dan by clicking here
Harry Pavlidis is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Harry's other articles. You can contact Harry by clicking here

24 comments have been left for this article.

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