The Cleveland Indians signed Masahide Kobayashi from the Chiba Lotte Marines over the winter to join their bullpen. The PITCHf/x system was turned on in Atlanta tonight, and Kobayashi pitched the 7th inning in a rain-shortened game. The Braves scored five runs against Kobayashi on five hits, one walk, and three errors, and it would appear that the weather was affecting the results. Nonetheless, I wanted to give a short report on Kobayashi’s pitch repertoire in the game since is he new to Major League Baseball this year.
Kobayashi threw 35 pitches, 23 of them for strikes. Nineteen of his pitches were recorded by PITCHf/x. Of those pitches, 14 were fastballs. The system recorded his fastball as running 87-89 mph, but based on the velocities recorded for Jake Westbrook, Jorge Julio, and Jensen Lewis, I’m guessing the system was recording velocities that were 2-4 mph too slow. So Kobayashi has about a 91-mph fastball with a little bit of cutting action to it. I didn’t see any sign of a two-seam fastball. Of the 19 recorded pitches, he threw 4 sliders, clocked at 83, meaning an actual velocity around 86 mph. His slider is pretty tight–not a lot of spin movement. And he threw one change-up/splitter, actual velocity around 85. The scouting reports say his off-speed pitch is a splitter, but I can’t confirm that with only one data point.