A Baseball Weblog

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Athletics vs Yankees, game one: Brandon McCarthy

Taking the mound for the Athletics tonight against the Yankees is righty Brandon McCarthy.  You might remember him as a top prospect with the White Sox about seven or eight years ago or so.  Back then he was a power pitcher with a four-seam/curveball combination, but he's completely made himself as a sinker/cutter groundball guy with much better control (career low 3.7% walks per plate appearance, fourth best among pitchers with 100+ innings pitched).  Dave Allen had a good look at McCarthy a few weeks ago, so I'll make this brief.  The charts and metrics that you often see on this site are applied below to McCarthy's pitches.




*non-swing called rate; called strikes divided by called strikes plus balls
The four-seamers are rare, and some may be misclassifications.  The ones I identified were often thrown in two-strike counts.

Strikes with everything but the changeup.  McCarthy's not a bat-misser, but that's just fine.  His sinker looks like a pretty good groundball pitch, as does the curve.  

The next graphs show plate locations split up into 5 by 5 quadrants (OZ = out of zone, IZ = in zone).

The sinker, cutter, and curve stay low, while the four-seamer is elevated.  The cutter stays in on lefties and away from righties, while he's shown a propensity to keep the sinker away from both lefties and righties.  

This post wouldn't be complete without a mention of McCarthy's Twitter feed.  He seems like a really nice and thoughtful guy (with a sense of humor).  He's been kind enough to respond to my questions/comments when they've come up, so I certainly appreciate that.

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