Want to know not just what pitches a pitcher throws, but where, when, and in what order he throws them? Now you can.
At Brooks Baseball, we’ve built a repository where you can access almost any information about any pitcher’s pitches and be confident that the pitch types were identified correctly. For example, you can ask how many times batters swung and missed at a Stephen Strasburg changeup, how often batters hit Chris Sale’s slider for a groundball, or what the overall called-strike rate is for Felix Hernandez’s fastball.
But PITCHf/x databasing is still in its infancy. Pitching is not the sum of individual statistics about individual pitches any more than a piece of music is the sum of an individual set of notes. Pitching is a sequence of events—the previous pitch’s execution may be as germane to the outcome of the at-bat as the current pitch’s execution. We often hear about how a pitcher might go up in the zone with a high fastball to raise a batter’s eye level and then down in the zone with a curveball. None of that was captured in the maze of tables and charts already available.
Was Stephen Strasburg's velocity loss during his last start atypical? And if so, should we be worried?
ESPN Stats and Information published an article about Stephen Strasburg’s less-than-successful start on Tuesday that noted, “Strasburg’s velocity declined as his start went on. His heater averaged 96.6 MPH in the first two innings and 94.8 MPH after. “
Clay Buchholz is known for throwing a nasty changeup, but he's added a new off-speed pitch to his arsenal in 2012.
Clay Buchholz has added a splitter this year to go with his well-known (and devastating) changeup. We first noticed this back when he was throwing one or two per game, but now it’s not unusual to see him throw a nice cluster of splitters in each start. A comparison between his pre-splitter and post-splitter pitch graphs is shown below:
Josh Beckett isn't the ace he was in 2007, but what about him has changed over the past five seasons?
In 2007, Josh Beckett finished second in the AL Cy Young voting. He led the league with 20 wins. He was a 4.8 PWARP player, good for third in MLB. He struck out 8.7 batters per nine innings and finished with 194 punchouts.
Fast forward to 2012. Beckett’s win-loss record is 5-9; more importantly, his walk rate is up, and his strikeout rate is down. He’s been worth 0.5 PWARP, good for 174th in baseball.
Yu Darvish is taking a different approach with two strikes than he did toward the start of the season.
One way to look at how a pitcher attacks hitters is to look at what the pitcher throws in two-strike counts. In two-strike counts, pitchers often try to put hitters away with a breaking ball, induce weak contact with a sinker, overpower hitters with an extra-hard fastball, or throw a changeup with a bit of extra screw action.
Sabermetrics, Scouting, and the Science of Baseball, a weekend seminar for the benefit of the Jimmy Fund, puts you up close with some of baseball’s top coaches, statisticians, scouts, doctors, and scientists. The seminar takes place on August 4 and 5, 2012 in Boston, MA, and is limited to 200 of baseball’s best fans.
Our new normalization option lets you compare hitters and pitchers to players of the same handedness.
First, thanks for your enormous level of support and feedback for our new Hitter and Pitcher Profiles. Because of your suggestions, we increased the number of sortable statistics to 19, added several new color schemes, changed some of the layout, and added several new multi-sort options. Your feedback makes building new and great tools easier, so thanks!
We want to announce a new option on our tools and briefly describe how it works. This option is “normalization,” which allows you to compare a pitcher or hitter to other similar pitchers or hitters. It works only for a few of the 19 sorts right now—it will work for all of them eventually—but we think that the most instructive sort is “frequency,” so we’ll describe it using that and let you play around with it. We’ve already done some limited “beta testing” of this new feature via Twitter, and people found it really fun and informative, so we’re excited to announce it on Baseball Prospectus. (As an aside, Harry and I often beta new features late at night on Twitter, so you can come follow us and be part of the creative process if you want.)
A few days after the rollout of the BP Hitter Profiles, we present their companion piece, the Pitcher Profiles.
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.
We roll out a new feature designed to help you dig deeper into how pitchers approach hitters and how hitters respond.
While reading message boards, sabermetric websites, or newspapers, you’ll often come across contentions like, “So and so is a good low-ball hitter.” While listening to the radio, you’ll be told that a player swings and misses a lot at pitches down and in. Or you might wonder: What’s the cause of a hitter’s dramatic change in performance from season to season? Is it something different about his approach? Is he less effective at getting to pitches in certain parts of the strike zone?
We’re here to help you answer those questions. Today, we’re rolling out a “beta” version of our PITCHf/x-driven Hitter Profiles. Essentially, they create sortable hot/cold zones for every hitter in “the PITCHf/x era” (2007-12). You can sort by AVG, SLG, the BP all-in-one offensive statistic TAv, Swings, Whiffs, and various types of balls in play. You can investigate where and how pitchers have attacked a hitter to see if that’s changed. You can sort by month or by year. You can do platoon splits. And you can switch between any of the pitches identified in the custom-classified Pitch Info LLC database that is also featured in our Pitcher Cards.