A Baseball Weblog

Monday, May 23, 2011

Villanueva opens the series for the Jays

Carlos Villanueva will make his first start since 2009 and his first of his Blue Jays career later today.  I took a look at Villanueva's stuff last December, so I'm not going to do a full f/x profile today.  Just a refresher.  Or, more accurately, a refresher with updates.

  • Villanueva won't blow you away with velocity, as he'll average 89 or so with a very straight four-seam fastball.  
  • To compensate for his unspectacular fastball, he'll throw around 65% (or there abouts) offspeed pitches.  His non-fastball arsenal includes a low 80s slider and changeup, and two kinds of curves.  There might be two different kinds of changeups in there, one that looks like a four-seamer and one that looks like a two-seamer.
  • His curve is usually in the low or mid 70s, but he's also increased usage of an eephus that is usually in the 60s but dropped down to the mid 50s upon occasion.  I count only six from 2010, or less than 1% of his total pitch mix, but I see eight already this year (around 2%).  
  • The slider looks like Villanueva's best pitch.  Last year it garnered 44.1% whiffs on swings, and somehow it's at the exact same number this year through 34 swings. 

He's definitely a "crafty" finesse pitcher, but the quality of his off-speed stuff allow him to get a lot of strikeouts (just over 8 K/9 for his career, and a career-best 11.8 out of the 'pen last year).  It should be a fun matchup tonight against the brilliant Bartolo Colon

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