No predictive value here, but I think it would be fun to take an early look at what our pitchers did the first time through the rotation. I’m using he Pitch F/x data from Brooks Baseball with some of my own calculations. Those that are familiar with the site will recognize the format here so I won’t spend a ton of time explaining. Let’s start by looking at what they threw and how effective it was to lefties, righties and both:
In the top left we have the number of each type of pitches thrown to both types of batters and the total. Fastballs include two-seamers, four-seamers, sinkers, cutter, and this time only I’m including splitters in with fastballs instead of the second type of pitch, change ups. The third type are breaking balls composed of curves, sliders, and knuckle curves. I do not include intentional balls nor pitchouts.
In the bottom left the raw number of pitches is expressed as a percentage. Note that the total columns show the platoon split faced. As an example, Alex Cobb faced 51% lefties while Moore only threw 9% of his pitches to lefties. You can see how each of our pitchers approached a batter. For instance, among starters, Alex Cobb threw the most breaking balls to lefties while Matt Moore didn’t throw a single one. In fact, Moore only threw fastballs to lefties. Cobb and Odorizzi were the only starters to throw change ups to lefties, with Odo throwing his new pitch almost a third of the time. Look through and find your own interesting things, but how about Cobb only throwing 42% of his pitches as fastballs. Odo was in a similar boat, but the other end of the spectrum shows Price, Archer and Moore throwing over 70% fastballs.
Moving to the top right we find the total number of runs either earned or given away for each pitch to each type of batter. Starting on the right with the totals we can see the relatively poor performance from Cobb and Moore. Cobb struggled mightily with lefties and uncharacteristically we can see that his very good change was a big reason why, though the breaking ball wasn’t doing him any favors. The curve was strong to righties, but they had success on the fastball. For Moore, his problem related to all those righties and the face that his curve was garbage and his fastball wasn’t a whole lot better. Odorizzi garnered the most runs saved based off the back of his change to lefties and fastball to righties.
In the bottom right we have the total runs adjusted per 100 pitches to attempt to put all these things on an even keel. It breaks down when only a handful of pitches have been thrown, but this is less of an issue over an entire season so we’ll spend more time with that later in the year. For now, let’s move over to a couple of other things I like to quantify:
You may want to refer to the earlier chart for the raw number of pitches thrown in each scenario, but for this chart we’ll focus on the pitches thrown in the called zone, on the left, and the pitches that were swung upon, on the right. It’s impressive that Archer and Odorizzi were able to throw their breaking balls in the zone to lefties more than 60% of the time and Cobb threw his change up in the zone almost 80 of the time. Overall, Odo threw nearly 60% of his pitches to lefties in the strike zone while he’s chased by Cobb (53%), Archer/Cobb (45%) and Moore (40%). Against righties we see a different story with Price leading the way at 63% strikes and followed by Archer (54%) then Odo (54%), Moore (48%) and weirdly Cobb at 42%.
Lastly we can flip over to the % of pitches that drew swings. Overall, we can see that Cobb only had 37% of his pitches get swung upon while Odo did him one better at only 36%. The other side sees Price leading the way with 49%, nearly half of his pitches, were swung at with Archer at 43% and Moore at 40%. There’s a lot to glean here so I’ll leave it to the reader to tell a tale or two, but I wanted to share this to give an indication of what we saw on the field. I hope to continue to bring this as much as I can as it should make a nice comparison start to start.