A Baseball Weblog

Friday, March 11, 2011

Yankees' whiff rates

I was curious to see what the hardest pitches to hit were in 2010, and I posted my findings on Beyond the Box Score a few days ago.  The only Yankee to make the list was CC Sabathia, whose slider had the 16th highest whiff rate in the 250+ swing department.  The tables below show how the Yankees fare in both the 100-249 and 250+ swing categories.  The column furthest to the left is league-wide rank.  The column furthest to the right is whiff rate compared to league average for pitch type, in which average = 100.  406 pitch types qualified for the 250+ bucket; 586 qualified for the 100-249 bucket.  

RankPitcherPitch TypeWhiff RateWhiff+
16CC SabathiaSlider.405129
30A.J. BurnettCurveball.366130
73CC SabathiaChangeup.296103
139David RobertsonFour-seam fastball.207128
164Phil HughesFour-seam fastball.193119
170Phil HughesCutter.18890
194Mariano RiveraCutter.17383
197Javier VazquezFour-seam fastball.172106
251A.J. BurnettTwo-seam fastball.146120
262CC SabathiaFour-seam fastball.14087
266CC SabathiaTwo-seam fastball.139114
281A.J. BurnettFour-seam fastball.13483
287Joba ChamberlainFour-seam fastball.13181
368Javier VazquezTwo-seam fastball.09477
397Andy PettitteFour-seam fastball.07245

100-249 SWINGS
RankPitcherPitch TypeWhiff RateWhiff+
36Andy PettitteSlider.399127
40Joba ChamberlainSlider.394126
62Javier VazquezChangeup.368128
107David RobertsonCurveball.324115
199Javier VazquezCurveball.26293
284Javier VazquezSlider.21669
291Phil HughesCurveball.21376
326Andy PettitteCurveball.19670
385Boone LoganFour-seam fastball.168104
500Sergio MitreTwo-seam fastball.11796
569Ivan NovaFour-seam fastball.07747
573Dustin MoseleyTwo-seam fastball.07360
584Andy PettitteTwo-seam fastball.04537

A few things that caught my eye ...
  • Hitters didn't have too much trouble making contact with Pettitte's fastball, but his breaking pitch was excellent.  Most people call it a cutter, but it had enough movement and velocity difference from his fastball to be a fairly typical slider, so at least for this analysis, that's what I'll call it.    
  • Chamberlain's slider might not be as insane as it used to be, but it's still awesome.  
  • Mariano is definitely declining in the swing-and-miss department, but that's not really his thing anyway.  Consider me unconcerned.
  • Hughes' curveball wasn't the out-pitch we were looking for.  His fastball was only a bit easier to hit, and relative to pitch-type averages, the fastball was a *lot* more impressive.
  • I have to show some respect for Boone Logan and his slider.  Boone's slide-piece doesn't make the cut since it was only swung against 83 times, but on those swings, it garnered a whiff rate of .542.  Very impressive.

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