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May 17, 2013

Raising Aces

Stuffing the Ballot, First Quarter

by Doug Thorburn


Though I spend the vast majority of my time at Raising Aces immersed in the analysis of pitching mechanics, the best part of the game is the filthy stuff produced by the mechanical process. One of my favorite features at BP is Sam Miller's “The Best Pitches Thrown This Week,” in which the audience is inundated with GIFs of the nastiest projectiles caught on camera. Inspired by Sam's work, in conjunction with our human compulsion toward dicing the season into manageable chunks of information for the sake of over-analysis, I decided to conjure up a collection of the best stuff from the first quartile of the 2013 season.

The categories were chosen to reflect the elements of a well-rounded repertoire, with the data split into fastballs, breaking balls, and off-speed pitches. In appreciation of the qualitative value of elite pitching, both subjective and objective elements were considered when constructing the following lists, yet the end results were too close to call. I plead the audience to help me fill the gaps by voting for their favorite candidate in each pitch-type category and submitting votes in the comments section. [Stats through games of 5/15]

The Heat

(minimum 200 fastballs)

Matt Harvey

Pitch Count

Avg Velo

Whiff/Sw %

Call St %

Opp AVG

Opp SLG

442

95.8 mph

31.2%

20.8%

.225

.338

Harvey's average fastball velocity ranks second in the majors (behind Stephen Strasburg's 96.4-mph average), and his mechanical efficiency supports a deep release point that allows the raw velocity to play up beyond the radar gun. Harvey has been a revelation thus far in 2013, and the fastball has been the key to the sophomore's success, as reflected by a 31.2 percent rate of swings that come up empty. That figure ranks second in the majors at the 200-pitch threshold, and Harvey leads the majors if the bar is raised to 250. Harvey's knack for generating late swings has formed the foundation of his Cy Young platform.

Andrew Cashner

Pitch Count

Avg Velo

Whiff/Sw %

Call St %

Opp AVG

Opp SLG

365

95.9 mph

31.1%

21.4%

.230

.351

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Related Content:  Pitching,  Scouting,  Mechanics,  Pitches

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (05/17)
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Premium Article Raising Aces: Extendin... (05/10)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: This Jus... (05/22)
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Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (05/18)

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