CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

Articles Tagged Pitching 

Search BP Articles

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives

09-18

comment icon

5

Pebble Hunting: Why Koji Uehara?
by
Sam Miller

07-12

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: How the Mighty Have Fallen
by
Doug Thorburn

07-10

comment icon

9

TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 8: Delgado v. Teheran
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

07-08

comment icon

1

Painting the Black: The Outside Man
by
R.J. Anderson

07-05

comment icon

6

Overthinking It: Getting to Know the New Insane Strikeout Rate Relievers
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-03

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot: Reliever Edition
by
Doug Thorburn

06-28

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: A Look at Rooks Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler
by
Doug Thorburn

06-26

comment icon

10

Overthinking It: The Rays' Changeup Revolution
by
Ben Lindbergh

06-24

comment icon

0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 230: Deceptive Strikeout-to-Walk Ratios/Picking the Perfect Run Environment
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

06-14

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: In Need of Repair: Posture
by
Doug Thorburn

06-07

comment icon

6

Raising Aces: Changing Gears
by
Doug Thorburn

05-31

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Splitting the Platoon: Lefty-philic Pitchers
by
Doug Thorburn

05-30

comment icon

2

TINSTAAPP: Episode 5: Miller vs. Kershaw
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

05-30

comment icon

6

The Call-Up: Michael Wacha
by
Jason Cole and Bret Sayre

05-30

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Kevin Gausman, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

05-24

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Splitting the Platoon: Lefty-Phobic Pitchers
by
Doug Thorburn

05-23

comment icon

0

TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 4: Verlander v. Darvish
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

05-23

comment icon

5

Overthinking It: The Incredible New Neal Cotts
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-22

comment icon

13

Raising Aces: This Justin
by
Doug Thorburn

05-21

comment icon

0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 207: Reevaluating Patrick Corbin/Baseball and Redheads
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

05-17

comment icon

12

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot, First Quarter
by
Doug Thorburn

05-15

comment icon

0

TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 3: Hamels v. Corbin
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

05-14

comment icon

3

Skewed Left: Replacement Rangers
by
Zachary Levine

05-10

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Extending the Process
by
Doug Thorburn

05-07

comment icon

0

TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 2: Bailey v. Lynn
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

05-07

comment icon

0

TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 1 (Pilot): Lincecum v. Cashner
by
Paul Sporer

05-03

comment icon

29

Raising Aces: Time to Unwind
by
Doug Thorburn

04-30

comment icon

20

Raising Aces: There's Something About Farrell
by
Doug Thorburn

04-26

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Throwdown: Mat Latos vs. Jeff Samardzija
by
Doug Thorburn

04-24

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Now Pitching, Bryce Harper
by
Doug Thorburn

04-23

comment icon

4

Fantasy Beat: Hisashi Iwakuma and Better Stats
by
Paul Sporer

04-19

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: Trending: National Grade
by
Doug Thorburn

04-12

comment icon

9

Raising Aces: Jose Fernandez, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

04-09

comment icon

0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 177: How Much Does Velocity Loss Matter?/The Astros' Runaway Strikeout Rate
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

04-05

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Four of a Kind: Setting the Tone
by
Doug Thorburn

04-04

comment icon

6

BP Unfiltered: Raising Aces: Da Pitching Code
by
Doug Thorburn

04-01

comment icon

1

BP Unfiltered: The Velocity Gainers and Losers of Spring 2013
by
Harry Pavlidis

03-29

comment icon

13

Raising Aces: Against the Grain
by
Doug Thorburn

03-29

comment icon

10

Pebble Hunting: The Most Interesting Major Leaguer You Probably Haven't Heard Of
by
Sam Miller

03-25

comment icon

34

Baseball Therapy: Could the All-Bullpen Approach Actually Work?
by
Russell A. Carleton

03-22

comment icon

16

Raising Aces: Pulling the Pin
by
Doug Thorburn

03-22

comment icon

48

Overthinking It: Ranking Rivera
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-21

comment icon

0

The BP Wayback Machine: Q&A: Rick Porcello
by
David Laurila

03-18

comment icon

14

Baseball Therapy: You Gotta Keep 'Em Separated
by
Russell A. Carleton

03-15

comment icon

6

The BP Wayback Machine: Do Spring Speeds Matter?
by
Mike Fast

03-15

comment icon

15

Raising Aces: Trending: Over the Top
by
Doug Thorburn

03-08

comment icon

22

Raising Aces: Under the Gun
by
Doug Thorburn

03-01

comment icon

3

Pitcher Profile: New Arms of the Week, First Edition
by
Harry Pavlidis

03-01

comment icon

25

Raising Aces: Over the Radar
by
Doug Thorburn

02-21

comment icon

14

BP Unfiltered: Home Run Rates and Elbow Injuries UPDATED
by
Corey Dawkins, Ben Lindbergh, Harry Pavlidis and Doug Thorburn

<< Previous Tag Entries No More Tag Entries

What makes Koji Uehara amazing enough to retire 37 consecutive batters?

On Tuesday, Koji Uehara allowed a baserunner. Before that, he had retired 37 batters in a row, setting a Boston record and getting within a good week of the all-time record, 45, by Mark Buehrle. Before that, he was still one of the stories of the season, a flash closer who had gone from low-leverage innings in Texas to Boston's ninth inning within a year. And before that, he was one of the most interesting pitchers in baseball, going months at a time without issuing a walk and producing historically great FIPs and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio ever.

What you probably know about Uehara is that he has excellent fastball command and a dynamite splitter. In any game he pitches, an announcer will mention his dynamite fastball command and excellent splitter. But how excellent is that fastball command? How dynamite is that splitter? And how, really, can that be enough to turn an 89-mph reliever into the American League's Craig Kimbrel?

Read the full article...

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

July 12, 2013 7:06 am

Raising Aces: How the Mighty Have Fallen

5

Doug Thorburn

Can mechanics help explain why Shelby Miller and Hisashi Iwakuma haven't maintained their early-season performance?

A couple of pitchers enjoyed breakout performances during the first two months of the season, only to wake up from the dream once the calendar flipped to June. Our inner statistician can easily wave these trends aside as the inevitable magnetism of regression to the mean, but I’ve found that reality often follows a more intricate path, with much to be learned through the analysis of outlier performances and small sample size.

Let's examine a couple of players who have fallen off from their early-season dominance in search of explanations that go beyond luck. In these cases, the “before” and “after” stats are split based on the arbitrary calendar date of June 1st.

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Former teammates become foes in a tremendous battle of rising young arms in this week's GotW.

NOTE: If you downloaded TINSTAAPP Ep 8 on Monday or Tuesday, the file was messed up and it's now fixed.

Read the full article...

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

July 8, 2013 6:27 am

Painting the Black: The Outside Man

1

R.J. Anderson

Max Scherzer violates a central tenet of pitching, with great success.

Perhaps no piece of conventional pitching wisdom is as logical as the need to pitch inside. The act of pitching inside should, in theory, yield a number of benefits, ranging from less predictability to increased effectiveness on outside pitches. Pitching inside is also one of those things where each preceding generation did it better (anecdotally, at least) and more often than the current generation does. Still, nearly every revered pitcher will lecture about the importance of pitching inside. Consider Sandy Koufax, who, according to the aptly named book Koufax, once said, "Show me a guy who can't pitch inside and I'll show you a loser."

True as that may be in most cases, there is a pitcher in Detroit named Max Scherzer who might improve his record to 14-0 tonight, and in the process show that inside pitching is less important than it seems.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

Ten relievers who've racked up the strikeouts in the majors for the first time this season.

Here’s a stat about strikeouts: The percentage of 50-plus-inning relievers who struck out a batter per inning in 1990 was lower than the percentage who struck out 12 per nine innings in 2012. Remember the Reds’ “Nasty Boys” bullpen of Rob Dibble, Randy Myers, and Norm Charlton? They were three of only eight relievers with a K/9 of at least 9.0 in 1990. Relative to average, Dibble’s 12.5 K/9 that season was more impressive than, say, Aroldis Chapman’s league-leading 15.1 in 2013. But 15.1 is such an astounding number that it commands the attention anyway. Strikeout rates are rising too fast for the baselines in our brains to keep up.

Every season, a new crop of relievers arrives and astonishes us with their strikeout prowess. Some are promising rookie relief prospects who throw a million miles per hour and were expected to miss many bats. Others are rookies who’ve exceeded expectations, and still others are veterans whose latent strikeout powers were never suspected before they surfaced this season.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

July 3, 2013 5:22 am

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot: Reliever Edition

5

Doug Thorburn

The nastiest fastballs and sliders seen out of the bullpen this season.

The halfway mark of the season is a natural point to stop and reflect on the remarkable performances of the baseball calendar to date. We reviewed the best stuff among starting pitchers at the quarter-season mark, so let's now turn our attention to the guys who come out of the bullpen.

Relievers’ stuff tends to be even more electric than that of their starting counterparts, given the sprinter-like nature of the job in addition to the fact that a less-varied repertoire is par for the position. With this in mind, we’ll delve into the fastballs and sliders that define the reputations of some of the game's most electric arms. Once again, we kindly ask the readers to add their own opinions to the mix, voting for one hurler from each category to represent the best stuff in baseball for the first half of the 2013 season. Please cast your votes in the comments section. (All stats are through games of July 1.)

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

June 28, 2013 7:10 am

Raising Aces: A Look at Rooks Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler

2

Doug Thorburn

Analyzing the mechanics of two top pitching prospects who've recently arrived in the majors.

Two of the top pitching prospects in the minor leagues made their debuts this month, simultaneously relinquishing their prospect status while announcing their presence to the National League. Let's take a look at the opening acts of Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler, a pair of high-end draft picks who share a number of traits on the mound.

Gerrit Cole
Cole entered the season as the highest-rated pitching prospect in all the land, ranking no. 3 on the Baseball Prospectus top 101 prospects list and trailing only position players Jurickson Profar and Oscar Taveras. The lofty perch was par for the course for the right-hander, who was selected with the top pick in the historic pitcher draft of 2011.


The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

There are certain rules about changeup usage. The Rays, unsurprisingly, aren't beholden to those rules.

“The game evolves constantly,” Tampa Bay Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey tells me on a Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, after wrapping up a bullpen session an hour before first pitch. Evolution in baseball works a lot like it does in real life: traits that confer a competitive advantage tend to be passed on. But before a new approach is adopted around the league, Hickey says, “someone’s going to have to be successful doing it.”

The Rays are often that someone. If the Rays have an identity—aside from their status as a team that doesn’t draw, locked into a lease that never expires—it’s that they do things differently. Driven by their need to make the most of their limited resources and the creativity of their front office and field staff, the Rays under General Manager Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon have authored a long list of innovations. Shifting more aggressively than almost any other team. Giving defensive specialist Jose Molina a starting job for the first time at age 37. Opening an academy in Brazil. Refusing to sign free agent starters (before Roberto Hernandez). And so on.

Read the full article...

Ben and Sam talk about pitchers who are struggling despite lofty strikeout-to-walk ratios, then pick the perfect run environment.

Read the full article...

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

June 14, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: In Need of Repair: Posture

2

Doug Thorburn

Taking a closer look at a few mechanical flaws and explaining how they can be corrected.

Much of the analysis in the Raising Aces series has focused on player evaluation, particularly identifying the mechanical strengths and weaknesses of professional pitchers. Breaking down a pitcher's delivery is an essential task for coaches who wish to get the most out of their hurlers, but having an eye for mechanics is just the starting point for player development. The real work begins after a diagnosis has been made, as a pitching coach is entrusted to train his charges to make the improvements necessary to optimize performance. In acknowledgment of this critical stage of the process, it seems appropriate to switch gears and re-focus our efforts toward the how as opposed to the what by offering some suggestions to address weak links in the kinetic chain.

A few disclaimers before we begin: when dealing with coaching tips in written form, much can be lost in translation between the digital page and the field. The proper application of strategic teaching methods requires recognition of several variables, and as we will see in the following examples, there are multiple ways for mechanics to fall off track. I encourage those who are in a coaching position to take notes, but also to appreciate that the methods herein are neither exhaustive nor necessarily ideal, depending on the specifics of an individual player.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

June 7, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: Changing Gears

6

Doug Thorburn

Cataloguing the different methods pitchers use to generate momentum.

One of the features of TINSTAAPP, the podcast I co-host with Paul Sporer, is what we call “homework,” in which we investigate topics from listener emails through a combination of statistical analysis and video scouting. We also assign homework to one another, and last week's assignment for Paul was of Advanced Placement quality: to study the different “gears” in a pitcher's momentum.

The difficulty factor for evaluating momentum is magnified by the poor viewing angles available on standard television feeds. The center-field camera (or worse, the off-center camera) provides a terrible vantage point for viewing momentum, though it does offer a strategic angle from which to see elements such as dynamic balance and posture at release point. Momentum is best evaluated from a side view, sitting down the first or third baseline, where one can isolate the directional forces that a pitcher puts into his motion.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

How the pitchers who dominate lefties do it.

In last week's edition of Raising Aces, I covered those pitchers who have been especially vulnerable versus left-handed bats, noting the tendency for pitchers with large splits to share a mechanical trend toward a low arm slot. The list was naturally populated with right-handed pitchers, with the notable exception of Ricky Romero, and one would expect to see the reverse trend this week as we examine the other side of the platoon split and study pitchers who are exceptionally tough on left-handed batters.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

<< Previous Tag Entries No More Tag Entries