Thursday, May 8, 2008

Cabrera Shuts Down KC

Lets look at the Pitch/FX data for Daniel Cabrera's excellent start against the Royals.

Daniel wasn't throwing as hard as he has been (more 92-95 than 94-97) and the movement on it is very different. Instead of breaking like a two-seamer - down and in to righties - it broke more like a four-seamer or even a splitter, with the same vertical drop (just a little bit less) but it didn't run in to rights (or away to lefties) as much.

Cabrera seems to have thrown 11 sliders and, discounting 3 he threw as "waste" pitches, 75% (6 out of the remaining 8) were in the strike-zone. Something I just noticed, but may be a potential problem... it appears that when Daniel throws a slider, his release point is higher than when he throws a fastball.

Going back this seems to be a persistent issue. I wonder if it is noticeable to the hitter. In contrast to the fastball, He's actually getting more horizontal movement on the slider, with it breaking away from right-handers an extra couple inches. It has flattened out slightly, but by a smaller amount than the increase in horizontal movement.

Now that SonofSamHorn has righty/lefty breakdowns for their Pitch/FX data, I can look at that too. Daniel threw zero sliders to left-handed batters. And he didn't throw any change-ups in the game at all. It was all fastballs, all night and other than the Alex Gordon double they really couldn't do a thing with them.

Believe it or not, but Cabrera actually should have done better than he did. I count 9 pitches that were in the strike-zone but were called balls. Despite the way it looked on the Gamefeed, only one pitch out of the zone was called a strike for him. (Luke Hochevar, on the other hand, got 5 "balls" called strikes and only one pitch in the zone called a ball.)

Great performance from every angle.

Now that the game is over, MLB has the video up for free. Despite desperately wanting to go to sleep, I'm going to watch the game (the pitching half, at least).

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