Darvish will make pitch classification fun

Your definition of fun may vary. But Yu Darvish and his eight-pitch mix are going to make life interesting for catchers, hitters and even PITCHf/x analysts. Here’s a picture from his Cactus League debut. The pitch in red was a strike three splitter to end an inning. The axes show movement during the flight to home plate from the catcher’s perspective.


There’s an 86 mph cutter that’s got less drop and more hook than the other, faster, cutters. What’s up with that? Looks like two change-ups on the left side of the change-up and splitter group. And you can clearly see the slow curveball.

This was a situation where game video and post-game interviews helped out. Dan Brooks looked at my original rough classifications and suggested some improvements. You can see those on Darvish’s player card. The charts include his World Baseball Classic appearances, but you can filter the tables by year. We plan on providing yearly movement graphs in our next update to the site.

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  1. Harry Pavlidis said...

    the y-axis is actual vertical movement, so a 0 would be a pitch that left the pitcher’s hand and flew straight as an arrow without departing from it’s original trajectory (no such pitch exists since no one can spin the ball enough to overcome gravity, the best four-seamers still have a few inches of drop on the way to the plate).

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