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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. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

acmcdowell

Unless I'm missing something it seems like the pitcher PitchFX information is actually for them as a hitter.

Jul 11, 2012 12:42 PM
rating: 0
 
acmcdowell

And I am. Don't use the regular search! Be sure to use the link in the first paragraph, unless you really, really want to know how Verlander handles the bat.

Jul 11, 2012 12:44 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

Way to scare the crap out of me! =)

Yes, the Pitcher Profiles will be added to the tab soon.

Jul 11, 2012 13:47 PM
 
BP staff member Josh Shepardson
BP staff

This is excellent, great work guys.

Jul 11, 2012 15:44 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

Ooh, relative colors. +1

Jul 11, 2012 15:51 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Some fun fiddling with Matt Garza.

Over 40% of his opponents at bats which conclude with a pitch up in the zone represent a foul out ("Foul Rate"). (It'd be great to get this compared to the league average).

Over 25% of his pitches beneath the strike zone result in a whiff per "Whiff Rate".

The pitches where, according to ISO, he gets punished on are the middle and down-left section of the strike zone.

He is "BABIP"-luckiest in the top left and top section of the strike zone. He is "BABIP"-unluckiest in the down right section of the strike zone.

And all that with about five minutes of flipping through charts.

Jul 11, 2012 16:00 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

I think OBP would still be a good metric to add in, but I really like what I see so far.

I also like the chart at the top that describes each type of pitch.

Does the zone stuff only have end-of-at-bat data or does it have every single pitch?

Jul 11, 2012 16:05 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

"Whiffs" are just swings and misses (not strikeouts) and "Fouls" are just fouls (not foul outs). Is that confusing?

Jul 11, 2012 16:36 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

So, if I look at Matt Garza and "Foul Rate", I see 43.4% and 226/521 in the center box.

Are we saying that Garza has thrown only 521 pitches in that portion of the strike zone from 2007 to 2012? And that 226 of those pitches were fouled off?

Then, if I swing to "Swing Rate", I see 73.7% and 521/707.

Then, if I switch to "Whiff Rate" I see 8.4% and 44/521.

What's the difference between 707 and 521? Hit balls that weren't foul balls?

Jul 11, 2012 17:56 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Also, shouldn't LD and FB in the GB/FB rates?


Back to Garza's center section:

GB: 80/255
LD: 53/255
FB: 97/255
PU: 25/255

GB/FB: 80/97

Jul 11, 2012 18:01 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

Let's start at frequency:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pitchfx/pitcher_profiles/pitcher_profiles.php?player=490063&month=&year=&throws=&pi_type=&report=count&color=

He's thrown 707 balls in the center.

If we switch to Swing Rate:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pitchfx/pitcher_profiles/pitcher_profiles.php?player=490063&month=&year=&throws=&pi_type=&report=swing&color=

We see that there have been 521 swings on those 707 pitches.

If we switch to foul rate:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pitchfx/pitcher_profiles/pitcher_profiles.php?player=490063&month=&year=&throws=&pi_type=&report=foul&color=

We see that 226 of those 521 swings have been foul balls.

If we switch to whiff rate:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pitchfx/pitcher_profiles/pitcher_profiles.php?player=490063&month=&year=&throws=&pi_type=&report=whiff&color=

We see that 44 of those 521 swings have been swings and misses.

Make sense now? =)

Jul 11, 2012 18:22 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

So then, balls in play would be 521-226-44=251 right?

Might be useful to add "Balls in Play Rate" (Hits+Outs in Play) and a "Hit Rate" (Hits) and "Balls in Play Out Rate" (Outs that aren't strikeouts or foul outs)

Jul 11, 2012 18:29 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

Just added another color style, "Scout Colors". Like or no like?

Jul 11, 2012 16:36 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

What is scout colors? Top third/mid third/bottom third?

Jul 11, 2012 17:52 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

Close. More like "close to top" and "close to bottom".

Jul 11, 2012 18:27 PM
 
Richard Bergstrom

I like the concept and it's a nice way to bullet point high/low frequency. I might've picked purple instead of black as the middle color to make it a bit clearer since that blends red and blue.

Jul 11, 2012 18:30 PM
rating: 0
 
Sean

Very useful to me -- it's more actionable.

Jul 11, 2012 19:03 PM
rating: 0
 
anderson721

RA Dickey. 2012, RHH. It's a thing of beauty.

Jul 11, 2012 17:45 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

I like Dickey's 2012 RHH Foul Rate in the center. 20.5%.

It also has a huge ISO.

Jul 11, 2012 18:33 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Flip through Dickey's frequency since 2008 and watch how his "command" inside the strike zone improves.

Jul 11, 2012 18:40 PM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

This is amazing stuff. The amount of swings Masterson gets out of the strikezone with his sinker is amazing. Is it at all possible to check how that fares against the league average?

Jul 11, 2012 20:24 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dan Brooks
BP staff

League average comps will definitely be coming. =)

Jul 11, 2012 21:02 PM
 
ssiegel

Comparing Fister's 2011 vs 2012, it's quite remarkable. Last year his sinker lived in the middle and low quadrants of the inside zone (to righties) to great effect. This year he is getting mauled in those quadrants. But it looks flukey ... the low quadrant in the zone yields 60% GBs, a .550 BABIP and a .400 tav.

His sinker has lost 1.5 mph this year. Fluke thing or has his sinker suddenly become eminently hittable?

Jul 11, 2012 22:25 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

If I saw something like that, I'd wonder if the Tigers defense might be performing worse in 2012 than in 2011.

Jul 11, 2012 23:21 PM
rating: 1
 
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