A Baseball Weblog
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
What the Red Sox and Yankees seem most interested in is relief help; the Red Sox have a bullpen ERA/FIP/xFIP triple slash line of 4.45/4.81/4.68, and the Yankees' is 4.03/4.06/4.20. For the Sox, Hideki Okajima in particular has been a disappointment; his combination of increased walks (4.06 BB/9, a career high), decreased strikeouts (6.97 K/9, a career low), and an inability to get big outs (-1.18 WPA) has helped make him a below replacement level reliever so far. As for the Yankees, Damaso Marte's shoulder injury and Joba Chamberlain's habit of giving up a lot of hits have made them investigate the market for bullpen pitchers. The player that both teams are very interested in is Scott Downs. As of Sunday, they were considered by Fox Sports to be the front-runners in acquiring Downs. However, trading for him will certainly be difficult for both teams, as Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has demaded a very strong return package. From the Red Sox, Anthopoulos said that he would trade Downs for no less than either Casey Kelly or Jose Iglesias, who are both currently in Double A (click on the links for minor league stats from Baseball-Reference). As for the Yankees, the Blue Jays seemed to be in fierce pursuit of Chamberlain, and have reportedly given the Yankees the option of substituting Jesus Montero in the deal.
Personally, I have a hard time imagining either team saying yes to the Blue Jays. Kelly and Igleias are considered two of Boston's top prospects, and Montero is viewed the same way in New York. Chamberlain is obviously having his share of struggles this year, but the Yankees seem unwilling to part with a 24 year old who can throw in the upper 90s. Scott Downs is an excellent reliever: he has both strikeout and groundball tendencies while keeping walks to a minimum (he's posted an xFIP under 4 in all of his five previous seasons with the Blue Jays). But combine his age of 34 and his free agency at the end of the season with the fact that relievers are less valuable than starters, and you get a mismatch in terms of what the buyers and sellers want.
Stats are from Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Interestingly, the Rays have now been involved in an astounding four no-hitters over the past two seasons. Last July, they were no-hit in the perfect game by Mark Buehrle; this past May, they were once again on the losing end of a perfect game, this one by Dallas Braden; in June, they were victimized by Edwin Jackson in his no-hitter.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
First, a bit on Mitre’s season thus far. He’s pitched twelve times in 2010, including two starts in May. He’s received good results in his first 25 innings, posting a 2.89 ERA; however, his controllable rates are trending poorly: his strikeouts are about the same as last year, but his groundball rate has dropped considerably and he’s walking one more batter per 9 innings than he was in 2009. This year, the balls in play have turned from hits to outs, and the flyballs he’s given up have turned into homers less frequently than last year. It’s probably not too realistic to expect his ERA to remain under 3 for that long, but surely the Yankees would be just fine with getting a mid 4 ERA out of their sixth starter. Onto the PITCHf/x data!
Though Mitre is a sinkerballer for the vast majority (65.5% sinkers this year, 67.9% last year), he does have a five-pitch arsenal. He also works with a four-seamer, a tight curveball, a changeup, and a slider. This year, there’s been a greater rate of four-seamers and sliders; from what I could see, the slider as it is now was not utilized at all last year. To compare pitch percentages from 2009 to 2010, here are the pitch column charts.
As for Mitre’s groundball rate, which has dropped from .572 last year to .507 this year: it appears that the drop has to do with Mitre’s secondary pitches, since the rate on Mitre’s sinker has remained constant - .586 last year to .591 this year. For what it’s worth, this is significantly above the major league average of ~.52 for sinking/two-seam pitches. Between the small sample we’re working with and the fact that most pitches put in play are going to be on Mitre’s sinker, I’m not too concerned right now about the decrease in ground balls.
Another thing to mention about Mitre is his decreased velocity this year. I assumed that one more year removed from arm surgery, he would be throwing harder than he was last year, but this hasn’t been the case so far:
Pitch 2009 mph 2010 mph SI 90.97 89.38 FF 91.10 89.31 CH 83.51 81.87 CU 78.52 77.81 SL N/A 82.06
Now, it’s not uncommon for pitchers to gain velocity throughout the course of a season, so I don’t know if it’s reasonable to fret about the one and a half mph drop at this point in the season. I could go on about Mitre’s splits (whiff rates, etc.), but I’m not convinced that it would be productive given the relatively limited sample this season - after the sinker, the pitch that’s been swung at most frequently has been the changeup, which has been swung at only 23 times. That’s not really giving us a whole lot to work with.
To conclude - I’m sure many Yankee fans are not too thrilled with seeing Mitre take the ball every fifth day for the next month, given his weak performance last year. And if Mitre falters, it’s certainly not a given that he makes the rest of Pettitte’s starts, particularly since the Yankees have the talented Ivan Nova ready to go at Triple A.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
(sorted by maximum velocity)
|MLB Rank||Pitcher||Max Velocity|
Second, an important note - these numbers are coming directly from the PITCHf/x data and have not been adjusted for ballpark errors. The 100 mph pitches from Tejada and Morrow were recorded at Kauffman Stadium and Progressive Field, respectively; both of those parks at least appear to be running “hot” this year. Any input on this front is always more than welcome.