Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vazquez's Pitch Selection

One of the things we touched upon towards the end of our post about Javier Vazquez's clutch ability was his pitch selection in 2009. Here is what Tyler Kepner said shortly after the trade was completed:
Scouts believe Vazquez’s changeup improved a lot with Atlanta last season, giving him a second swing-and-miss pitch to go with his curveball.
A quick look at the Pitch Type data at FanGraphs shows that his fastball, slider and change were all significantly better in terms of run value while his slider was about the same.

Today, SG at over at the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog took a look at his pitch selection over the last three years in terms of quantity, run value, velocity, strike percentage, and break. For the first time in his career in 2009, Vazquez threw fewer than 50% fastballs while using each off-speed pitch slightly more than in 2008. Last year he also threw significantly more sliders and curveballs than in 2007.

How much of his standout 2009 campaign you want to attribute to this is up to you, but it looks like mixing in more of his off-speed stuff was beneficial. Anecdotally and with small sample size caveats, his leverage numbers were the same as usual - worse as it increased.

There's a lot of data over there, so be sure to check it out and peruse the comments for some other cracks at explaining what's going on.


  1. Giants are out of the playoffs, and we're talking about our 4th starter's third pitch... I need baseball to start immediately.

  2. Anon - Your point is well taken, but I think Vazquez is the most interesting pitcher on the staff coming into this season. We know (at least we think we know) what to expect from Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte and frankly I'm sick of talking about Hughes and Chamberlain.

  3. Damian (previously "Anonymous")1/15/10, 10:23 AM

    Oh I appreciate all the posts FackYouk has done since 27... something has to tide us over until real baseball is played. Keep up the good work!