|ERA||FIP||xFIP||K/9||BB/9||Whiff Rate||GB Rate|
At the end of the year, Hanson experienced a sharp drop in his strikeout rate; he remained effective due to improved control. Taking a closer look at his pitches gives us a slightly better idea of what changed for Hanson last year. His repertoire consists of a fastball, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. I'm calling his fastball a four-seamer for now, but there are probably some two-seamers as well. Hanson threw a fastball or a slider last year nearly 85% of the time, so I'll focus primarily on those two of Hanson's offerings. Splitting up Hanson's whiff rate by the two pitches gives us a bit more insight as to what happened:
|FF Whiff Rate||SL Whiff Rate|
While the slider became more effective from the start of the season, the fastball's whiff rate was half as high in August and September as it was in April and May. So right there, you have some explanation for the decrease in strikeouts - Hanson became unable to rely on his fastball for garnering swings and misses. But why? A possible explanation is that Hanson lost velocity as the season went on:
The error bars represent one standard deviation.
I saw no detectable difference in pitch location (fastballs higher in the zone tend to be harder to hit) or movement, so I think it's quite possible that the loss of velocity caused more contact. One last think I'd like to see is whether or not Hanson's pitch selection with two strikes changed as it became harder for him to put hitters away with fastballs. There was a very slight change:
|Month||FF% with 2 strikes|
Basically, I can draw one conclusion from the data: a sharp increase in fastball contact, probably at least in part caused by decreased velocity, made it harder for Hanson to put hitters away, leading to more balls in play.