December 12, 2013
And here's the full roster.
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Pitching .
11/14/2013: Let’s discuss the THT Annualby Dave Studeman
12/11/2013: Alone on the pedestal, Part 2by Jason Linden
12/11/2013: The Applegate factorby Shane Tourtellotte
12/10/2013: All about the latest Bill James Handbookby Dave Studeman
12/10/2013: Though night may fall, play ball!by Frank Jackson
12/10/2013: Roy Halladay retiresby Jeff Moore
12/09/2013: Leverage Index by inningby Dave Studeman
12/09/2013: How far are the Mariners from relevancy?by Brad Johnson
12/09/2013: Prince Halby Chris Jaffe
12/09/2013: Three underrated acquisitionsby Pat Andriola
12/06/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: Ed Charles and 42by Bruce Markusen
12/06/2013: The Athletics get busyby Brad Johnson
12/06/2013: Getting to know Ryan Haniganby Chad Dotson
12/04/2013: Cataloging the non-tendered playersby Brad Johnson
12/04/2013: Alone on the pedestalby Jason Linden
12/03/2013: Mascot fight!by Greg Simons
12/03/2013: Why is a sinker “heavy?”by David Kagan
12/03/2013: The role of fall leaguesby Jeff Moore
12/02/2013: Nationals make great deal for Fisterby Matt Filippi
12/02/2013: The Twins go holiday shopping, but to what end?by Brad Johnson
12/02/2013: The end of the benchby Chris Jaffe
11/29/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Danny Waltonby Bruce Markusen
11/29/2013: The best rookies of the ‘30sby Chad Dotson
11/27/2013: Towards an award prediction systemby Shane Tourtellotte
11/26/2013: MLB’s coffers are overflowingby Greg Simons
11/26/2013: The role of prospects in tradesby Jeff Moore
11/25/2013: Stepping up to the plateby Frank Jackson
11/25/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about player birthdaysby Chris Jaffe
11/22/2013: The end of the road for Chris Carpenterby Chad Dotson
11/21/2013: All the news that’s fit to inventby Azure Texan
11/20/2013: Marcus Stroman, the mythbusting machineby Kyle Boddy
11/20/2013: Welcome to the birthplace of… someone elseby Jason Linden
11/19/2013: 2013 THT awards reviewby Greg Simons
11/18/2013: THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographsby Dave Studeman
11/18/2013: Atlanta gets burned againby Frank Jackson
11/18/2013: The 2014 Hall of Fame VC ballotby Chris Jaffe
11/18/2013: Must See MLB.TV 2013by Dave Studeman
11/15/2013: The best rookies of the ‘40sby Chad Dotson
11/15/2013: Card Corner: Wayne Granger: 1973 Toppsby Bruce Markusen
11/14/2013: 10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski tradeby Chris Jaffe
11/14/2013: The Screwball: The face of championship baseballby Azure Texan
11/14/2013: Player-A-Day: Casey Fienby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecumby Brad Johnson
11/13/2013: Pitcher performance after batting successby Shane Tourtellotte
11/13/2013: 25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letterby Chris Jaffe
11/13/2013: Houston hoodoo ‘62by Frank Jackson
11/12/2013: It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014by Dave Studeman
11/12/2013: Player-A-Day: Joe Mauerby Brad Johnson
11/11/2013: Fastball velocity by game stateby Jon Roegele
11/11/2013: The rise of the middle-aged managerby Chris Jaffe
11/08/2013: Player-A-Day: Josmil Pintoby Brad Johnson
11/08/2013: Hall monitor: The case for Andruw Jonesby Chad Dotson
11/07/2013: Big leaguers, bit partsby Azure Texan
11/07/2013: Player-A-Day: Nathan Eovaldiby Brad Johnson
11/06/2013: If he’d only gotten another shotby Jason Linden
11/06/2013: Player-A-Day: David DeJesusby Brad Johnson
11/05/2013: Player-A-Day: David Ortizby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Dariel Abreuby Brad Johnson
11/04/2013: The Boston (Braves) Marathon of 1928by Frank Jackson
11/04/2013: 10 things I didn’t know about birthdays in 2013by Chris Jaffe
11/01/2013: Taking the close pitch with two strikesby James Gentile
11/01/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Don Baylorby Bruce Markusen
11/01/2013: The best rookies of the ‘50sby Chad Dotson
10/31/2013: The Screwball: Celebrate good times, come on!by Azure Texan
10/31/2013: Player-A-Day: Leonys Martinby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Player-A-Day: Jon Lesterby Brad Johnson
10/30/2013: Forecasting the major 2013 awardsby Shane Tourtellotte
10/30/2013: The effect of seeing pitchesby Jon Roegele
10/29/2013: Putting the knock on pitching changesby Joe Distelheim
10/29/2013: Player-A-Day: Ryan Howardby Brad Johnson
10/29/2013: Losing momentum in the sixth gameby Dave Studeman
10/29/2013: Previewing the fall Stars gameby Jeff Moore
10/28/2013: Player-A-Day: Travis Woodby Brad Johnson
10/28/2013: Marquis Grissom: Mr. October Jr.by Frank Jackson
10/25/2013: The blackballing of Dick Dietzby Bruce Markusen
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Xander Bogaertsby Brad Johnson
10/24/2013: The Screwball: Put it in neutral?by Azure Texan
10/24/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘00sby Richard Barbieri
10/24/2013: Player-A-Day: Michael Wachaby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: Earn money watching baseballby Dave Studeman
10/23/2013: Player-A-Day: Jose Iglesiasby Brad Johnson
10/23/2013: 20th anniversary: The Joe Carter gameby Chris Jaffe
10/23/2013: Giants take a risk with Lincecum’s two-year dealby Matt Filippi
10/23/2013: BOB: Nolan Ryan retires…for nowby Brian Borawski
10/22/2013: Where does David Price fit?by Jeff Moore
10/22/2013: Survey says?!?!?by Greg Simons
10/22/2013: ALCS post-mortem: The Fielder playby Shane Tourtellotte
10/21/2013: The best rivalries of 2013by Chris Jaffe
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October 29, 2013
Putting the knock on pitching changesThe overriding picture in my head from this year's postseason is of Jim Leyland, hunched in his Tigers jacket in his last days as a manager, wearily walking his 68-year-old body out to a mound in Detroit or Oakland or Boston. He takes the ball from a pitcher a third his age and gives the kid a perfunctory pat.
Several minutes, several TV commercials and a batter or two later, the scene repeats.
Such is the case in Boston the night of Oct. 13, eighth inning, Tigers ahead 5-1. With left-handed hitter Jacoby Ellsbury coming up, Leyland brings in lefty Drew Smyly to replace reliever Jose Veras. Smyly walks Ellsbury, loading the bases. Out comes Leyland again. How's that Sunday night football doing? Switch back. Al Albuquerque is the new pitcher; he strikes out Shane Victorino, then gives up a hit to Dustin Pedroia, loading the bases. Leyland enters from from stage right, Joaquin Benoit from the bullpen. We'll be back.
And we are, just in time to see David Ortiz grandly slam Benoit, the Tigers, and Leyland's moves.
It feels like it's happened a lot in October baseball, 2013. The manager makes a pitching change, and it explodes. Has it really been that bad? The examples abound:
—Leyland brings in Rick Porcello, relieving Albuquerque, in the ninth inning of Game Two of the ALDS. The first batter he faces is Stephen Vogt. The last batter he faces is Stephen Vogt, who singles in the winning run for Oakland.
—Same series, other team: Oakland manager Bob Melvin replaces Ryan Cook with Brett Anderson, eighth inning, Game Five. Anderson walks Alex Avila, wild pitches in a run, gives up a two-run double to Omar Infante. Ball game.
—Tigers again, this time against Boston. Smyly comes out, Veras comes in to pitch to Victorino with the bases full. Home run, series to the Red Sox in six.
—Let's go to the other league. It's the 13th inning of the NLCS opener, and finally a crucial enough time in a tie game for Dodgers manager Don Mattingly to go to his closer. With two on, one out, Kenley Jansen, the 13th pitcher of the night, relieves Chris Withrow. Carlos Beltran ends the almost-five-hour game with a single and the game-winning RBI.
—And then there was the third game of the World Series Saturday night. Five times Mike Matheny or John Farrell walked out to replace the man on the mound. The first batters the five new pitchers faced went single, single, double, RBI-producing out, double.
I know we tend to remember those dramatic displays of unfortunate pitching changes more than routine displays of competence, so I perused this year's postseason play-by-plays. I was looking at pitchers inserted mid-inning, presumably because the manager felt the new guy had a better shot at the next batter than the incumbent.
The fact is, the success-to-failure ratio of relievers in those circumstances has come down on the side of failure this fall. Starting with the Tampa Bay-Texas play-in game for the last Wild Card, pitchers coming in during an inning have allowed 27 hits (nine for extra bases) in 93 at-bats—a .290 average. Hitters have touched them for an on-base percentage of .336.
On the other hand, they've struck out 27 of the 106 first batters they've faced and induced five double plays.
(I have no idea how pitchers called on mid-inning do over a whole season, but for purposes of comparison, the major-league-wide batting average this year was .253, and the OBP was .318.)
As for the two teams still alive:
The Red Sox have changed horses midstream 28 times in the postseason and put out the next batter 18 times. Their relievers are just 50-50 in such situations in the World Series.
The Cardinals? Over the whole postseason, they've given up seven first-batter hits and a walk in 21 plate appearances. In the Series, Matheny has called for help in the midst of an inning eight times. The result: three batters retired, two singles, a walk and two homers.
Sometimes, when you go to the fireman, you're playing with fire.
Posted by: Joe Distelheim
October 12, 2013
Randy Choate and the one-pitch outingIn the seventh inning of last night's thrilling 13-inning contest, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tapped veteran southpaw Randy Choate to face Carl Crawford in a relatively high leverage situation (1.53 LI). Choate, now 37 years old, has been the quintessential example of a high leverage LOOGY for as far back as many of us can remember. So facing one batter and then heading to the bench has not been an unusual occurrence in his career.
But Crawford offered at the first pitch Choate gave him, and immediately popped out to third, resulting in the strange and amusing demonstration of a one-pitch outing.
Since 2002, for which FanGraphs has pitch-by-pitch data, Choate ranks second among all regular-season one-pitch appearances:
Recent one-pitch outings leaders
Although, as Christopher Kamka noted in a tweet last night, since 2000 Choate and Lopez are actually tied at 21 one-pitch games. If we combine the FanGraphs 2013 data, with the historical data of Retrosheet, we can see that Chaote and Lopez rank fourth all-time (rather, since 1988) and Jesse Orosco tops them all with 28:
One-pitch outings leaders since 1988
All left-handers, no surprise.
A disproportionate number of Javier Lopez's one-pitch appearances come from the 2013 season, in which he had five. Only three pitchers have had more than five one-pitch games in a single season: Joe Beimel and Dennys Reyes in 2008 and Trevor Miller in 2009.
One final note, speaking of Miller: the different sources of data will not always jibe with some of these plate appearances. Miller's outing on July 8, 2003 is one such example. Baseball-Reference has Miller with an eight-pitch outing that night, but FanGraphs lists this game as one of his one-and-done performances. The majority of the time there are no discrepancies, but on occasion this can interfere with our rankings.
Posted by: James Gentile
October 10, 2013
Brent Strom hired as Astros’ pitching coachBrent Strom, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals, has been hired as the Houston Astros big league pitching coach. I first heard the story through the SB Nation blog The Crawfish Boxes, where there's a great bunch of comments about the hiring.
A poster questioned whether Strom was a good pitching coach (in an inquisitive—not derisive—tone), and I responded with:
First and foremost, he is open-minded and seeks knowledge from tons and tons of domains. He is not “above” anyone—he has attended many pitching seminars run by people who were previously unknown (Ron Wolforth, Paul Nyman, etc) and now routinely speaks and assists at these camps/seminars, passing on his vast knowledge. Aside from playing professional baseball (a credential that I don’t put a lot of weight on), he is a crazy student of the game and one who highly values work ethic, experimentation, and pushing the envelope.
Here are Strom and I sharing a stage at the Ultimate Pitchers' Bootcamp in 2012 in Houston.
Trevor Bauer, Fred Corral, Kyle Boddy, Doug White, Ken Knutson, Brent Strom, Ron Wolforth (rear), Eric Binder
I stand by what I said over at The Crawfish Boxes—Strom is an outstanding hire, one who has a lot of knowledge but also a tireless approach to understanding the game. The results he's had in St. Louis (alongside the partnership with former co-workers in Jeff Luhnow and Sig Mejdal) should give any Astros fan increased hope and optimism for the future.
With Strom reuniting with the usual suspects—along with former colleagues Craig Bjornson and Doug White—I would be absolutely thrilled if I was an Astros fan, knowing that the development of the young pitching talent in the organization is under the command of one incredibly hard-working, intelligent, and open-minded man.
Posted by: Kyle Boddy
August 09, 2013
Kevin Brown. Randy Johnson. Curt Schilling….. and now Dan HarenTurns out the seventh time is the charm.
Friday night, Nationals pitcher Dan Haren took the hill for the seventh time in his career against the Phillies. Unlike the first six times, this time Haren came away with the win, in a 9-2 triumph for Washington.
This proved to be a historical win for Haren because—as noted in advance here at THT—he’d already beaten the other 29 teams. This win gives Haren a victory against his 30th/final franchise.
Haren got to his 28th team back in 2009. At the time, he needed just the White Sox and Phillies. He got the ChiSox in April 2011, and has been needing just the Phillies ever since.
He is the 13th pitcher to join the club.Preceding him in the club are some of the best pitchers of the last 20 years, men like Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Then again, also beating him to the club are a bunch of random journeymen like Woody Williams, Terry Mulholland, and my personal favorite, Vicente Padilla.
Rounding out the club are Al Leiter, Jamie Moyer, Barry Zito, Javier Vazquez, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett.
And now, Dan Haren.
Here is when the guys joined the club:
April 27, 2002: Al Leiter
March 31, 2004: Kevin Brown
July 3, 2004: Terry Mulholland
Sept. 10, 2004: Curt Schilling
Sept. 26, 2006: Woody Williams
May 26, 2008: Jamie Moyer
April 19, 2009: Randy Johnson
June 12, 2010: Barry Zito
July 21, 2010: Javier Vazquez
Aug. 10, 2010: Vicente Padilla
May 10, 2010: Derrek Lowe
July 21, 2012: A.J. Burnett
Aug. 9, 2013: Dan Haren
Posted by: Chris Jaffe
July 19, 2013
The next Miracle MetMatt Harvey. His name has the ring of an ace. His presence on the mound is imposing at worst and terrifying at best. His tobacco-packed lip, bloodied nose and lightning fastball hearken back to a less delicate generation of pitchers.
Word is that the 24-year-old right-hander will be kept to an innings limit for the second half of his first full season in the Show, skipping some of his scheduled starts for the New York Mets, who are out of the playoff picture from every angle but the mathematical. Much as the world wants to see him pitch, you would struggle to find a Mets fan willing to risk such a promising young arm on anything less than a playoff push.
And for good reason. The Mets have won two World Series titles, 1969 and 1986. In both of those years their success followed strong young pitching. With Harvey and Zack Wheeler already major league ready and [pitchers like Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero climbing the prospect ladder, the Amazin's and their fans look forward to have a future of solid pitching depth.
Harvey is the closest thing to a sure bet among them. On the surface he is a power pitcher with finesse ability. He throws (and controls) four plus pitches at high velocity. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds he’s built for the high-stress innings of a workhorse.
After his stellar first half and his performance starting the All-Star Game, it’s worth a look at how his numbers at age 24 stack up against some Mets greats of yesteryear at the same age. For the purpose of this article, I’ve dubbed a pitcher’s first full season in which he ended the year at age 24 his “Harvey year.”
Why not start with the Ryan Express? Mostly a reliever for the Miracle Mets of ’69, Nolan Ryan surpassed 150 innings in a season for the first time in his Harvey year of 1971. Pitching for an average team, he went 10-14 in 26 starts. He managed a good (though not Ryan-esque) K/9 of 8.11 and posted one of the lowest home run rates per nine innings of his career at .47. Metrically, however, the 1971 campaign was dismal for Ryan. He set career-worst full season marks in BB/9 (6.87), K/BB (1.18), strikeout rate (19.4 percent), WHIP (1.59), ERA+ (86), and FIP (3.92). My goodness.
Following that season he was traded to the California Angels, for whom he blossomed into one of the all-time greats, harnessing his triple-digit fastball and leading the league in strikeouts for 1972 at age 25.
When Jerry Koosman was 25 the Mets won their first World Series. The year before that, his Harvey year, was his first full season. This may sound familiar: In 1968 Koosman was a National League All-Star on a team that missed the postseason. He went 19-12 with a 2.08 ERA during the Year of the Pitcher, striking out 178 and walking 69 in 263.2 innings. Koosman posted a good ERA+ of 145 and WAR of 4.3, and would best his 2.70 FIP only with a 2.67 mark in ’69. His WHIP was the second lowest of his career at 1.10. Excellent numbers for a 24-year-old rookie. Remind you of anyone?
Koosman’s teammate during those years, Tom Seaver, had his Harvey year coincide with a world championship in 1969. It’s hard to criticize a line of 25-7, 2.21 ERA, 165 ERA+, 1.04 WHIP. It’s impossible to downplay 18 complete games in 35 starts (five of them shutouts). But surprisingly, the ’69 campaign was a relative down year for Seaver compared to the seasons that sandwiched it. His sophomore season in 1968 was his breakout, and he posted a WAR of over 9.0 in both ’70 and ’71. In fact, Seaver’s 1969 FIP of 3.11 was his worst between ’68 and ’77, his K/BB was just 2.54 (compared to 4.27 in 1968, 3.41 in 1970, and 4.74 in 1971), and his WAR dropped to 5.2 from 6.6 before rocketing up in 1970.
Certainly these are all fantastic numbers on their own, but even though Seaver won the Cy Young and finished second in the MVP voting, 1969 was not his best statistical year.
Fast forward now to the next World Series championship for the Mets, 1986. I refuse on moral grounds as a Red Sox fan to get into the details, but I will say that a certain Dwight Gooden was just 21 during that season. Having made his debut at 19, and a stellar debut at that, it’s tough to compare Gooden’s Harvey year with Harvey at 24. That year for Gooden was 1989, and he threw just 118.1 innings due to a bum shoulder.
I had a lot of trouble deciding which year of Gooden’s to examine for this article, and for the sake of simple comparison I’ve settled on his rookie season of 1984. Doc exploded onto the scene in ’84, with a ridiculous K/9 of 11.39. He went 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA, a 1.69 FIP, a sparkling 8.3 WAR, and a crazy good .29 HR/9, all despite a .296 BABIP. His WHIP was 1.07, his ERA+ was 137, and the list goes on. That was a sensational rookie season for Doc Gooden, and has been the most common comparison with Matt Harvey in 2013.
Mets fans have waited almost 30 years for another Dwight Gooden, another Seaver or Koosman, a Nolan Ryan they can lock down for more than four major league seasons. Look no further than Matt Harvey. He has thoroughly dominated all forms of competition this year. He’s made 19 starts (my guess is he’ll finish with about 30) and is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA. He has ravaged my favorite stat, strikeout-to-walk ratio, with a 5.25 mark to go along with 10.18 K/9.
A half season is a small sample size, and many of his numbers have been inflated by his last two starts (13 innings, 15 hits, eight earned runs), but even with that inflation these numbers are fantastic: .92 WHIP, 2.17 FIP, 153 ERA+, and already a 4.2 WAR. Through 130 innings his metrics stand up against any of the four guys mentioned above.
What really excites me about Harvey, at the risk of cliché, goes somewhat beyond the statistics. His K/BB demonstrates how confident he is in his stuff and his ability to throw strikes, and he should be. His fastball averages above 95 mph, his slider is almost as fast as the average major league fastball, and his curveball and change-up are plus pitches as well. Robinson Cano in the All-Star Game was just the second batter Harvey has plunked all year.
But articles like this, and comparisons like mine, have put the weight of the whole Mets franchise almost entirely on Harvey’s shoulders. He started the All-Star Game at home in front of the biggest crowd in All-Star Game history, and after his first three pitches resulted in two baserunners he proceeded to strike out the best hitter in the world, induce a weak pop out from the other best hitter in the world, and go on to complete two shutout innings against a positively disgusting lineup.
Perhaps the most reassuring thing about Harvey is that he has a repeatable, clean, efficient delivery. We all saw the ESPN Body Issue; no one is questioning whether that machine can hold up over the course of the season. But Dylan Bundy has good mechanics and a strong body too, and overuse in high school probably doomed him to Tommy John surgery. The Mets are doing the right thing by limiting Harvey’s 2013 innings.
Matt Harvey is a gifted athlete with great mechanics, legendary stuff, and a confident makeup. He’s already put up numbers to rival the great young pitchers of the Mets franchise. Can he spearhead the charge to another ring? We’ll find out. But in the meantime, how exciting is this?
Posted by: Dylan Driscoll
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