A Baseball Weblog

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hellickson stuff preview

Tonight, Jeremy Hellickson will take on the Yankees, who are enduring something of a mini-slump before the break.  Hellickson is a rookie with a great minor league track record and a good ERA this year despite unspectacular peripherals.  You could call him a three-pitch pitcher, but more accurately, he throws six.  I have five ID'd: a four-seam fastball, a straight change, a curve, and some rare sinkers and cutters.  His fastballs are extremely difficult to distinguish; there are probably some inaccuracies surrounding the splits I made between four-seam/sinker/cutter.  He's predominately four-seamers, though.  The other gray area is around his curveball, which is slurvey and often ranges in movement and velocity.  Hellickson has said that he throws a harder version of the curve with two strikes; for now, I'm lumping all of breaking pitches into a curve group.

Onto the details of his stuff ...

mph#LHB%RHB%Swing Whiff Zone Ball Called GB%



He's an extreme fly-ball guy.  Some changeups are very good at getting ground balls; Hellickson's is not.  It's slow and doesn't sink a whole lot, which leads to plenty of missed bats but not many ground balls.  The change is certainly his best pitch, regardless, as he can throw it for strikes and pick up whiffs.  Hellickson is very comfortable using the change against right-handed batters.  The slurve has a nice swing-and-miss rate, but it's thrown for a ball quite a bit.  His fastball doesn't look too impressive; it's probably best used to get over the plate early in the count to set up the changeup, but it is worse than average in zone rate and balls per pitch.

Hellickson's K/BB ratio is down to 1.7 after being consistently above 3 in the minor leagues.  He's having trouble locating his fastball, and it's leading to way too many free passes (3.4 per 9 this year, with an unspectacular strikeout rate of 5.9).  His changeup does look very good, though.

Here is a link to a 2010 article about Hellickson's repertoire. 

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