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February 7, 2014

Painting the Black

Slow Jams

by R.J. Anderson


On Thursday, Robert Arthur provided a statistical look at how pitchers without velocity succeed. Arthur concluded that arsenal depth—although less predictive of success than velocity—was the key. It's an intuitive takeaway, yet an important one. The league has seen an influx in velocity in recent seasons (with more firepower on the way). Consider this nugget: the starting pitcher with the 50th-fastest average heater in 2009 checked in at 91.5 mph; in 2013, that spot belonged to a pitcher whose fastball averaged 92.2 mph. Pitchers as a population appear to be gaining velocity.

When everyone in a room is wearing white, those wearing red attract curiosity. Same with pitching. When everyone is touching 95 mph, those who max out around 90 mph are worth examining. We know what the numbers say about their success, so let's look at which other attributes allow these pitchers to succeed.

Location
A few years ago, Josh Paul did an interview with David Laurila in which he said any pitch in a good location is a good pitch. Though Paul's comment sounds like a cliche, there is truth to it. Pitcher-batter matchups are dictated by the pitches' location above all else. There are exceptions, however those tend to involve bad-ball hitters or, more commonly, bad-ball swingers. Location is important for all pitchers, but vital for those without the raw stuff to miss barrels over the plate.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Atlanta... (02/07)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Painting the Black: Bl... (01/29)
Next Column >>
Painting the Black: Ca... (02/19)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: Bush Lea... (02/07)

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