FanPost

Pitch fx for pitchers and batters

Pretty cool blog that I stumbled accross sometime ago: from small ball to the long ball.  It has pitch f/x data and batter data for this season and the last.  The batter data is easier to understand and I'm going to explain the pitch f/x below, and if it's too confusing, take a break and have some fun with the batter data.

Check out Campillo's data.

I'll try to explain the movement for those of you unfamiliar pitch f/x. 

First, when you look at a graph, imagine the view the catch or umpire has.  It's right behind the plate so a negative x is moving in on righties and positive x is moving away from righties.  Negative z is down and positive z is up.

Let's look at the fastball:

MPH: 86.44

Movement in x: -4.22

Movement in z: 11.23

This is the pitch relative to a pitch thrown without spin, so because of the spin, the fastball lands higher and more inside to righties than a pitch without spin.  This probably won't mean much to you if you've never seen it before so here's some links to average major league stuff:

Fastball, Sinker, Cutter

Curve, Change, Slider

The average major league fastball is 91.84 MPH with a -5.456 Horizontal Movement and 9.783 Vertical movement.  So Campillo's fastball is horribly slow, but it has a bit more rise and has less movement in on righties and away form lefties.

Well what gives him his effectiveness then? Take a look at his offspeed stuff.

Here's the Rev's stuff:

 

  MPH Horizontal Vertical
Fastball 86.44 -4.22 11.23
Curve 70.91 2.28 -7.1
Slider 81.43 0.79 4.85
Change 75.41 -9.48 8.79

This is league average:

Type       Speed (mph)  Hor. movement (in.)  Vert. movement (in.)
Curve 77.3 4.7 -4.4
Slider 83.3 2.3 2.5
Change 82.5 -6.5 5.8

Curve is about 6.4 MPH slower than average with 2.7 inches more drop and moves about 2.4 more inside to righties.  Slider is 2MPH slower with about an inch and a half more inside with about 2.3 inches more drop.  His Change is 7 MPH slower and moves about 3 inches higher and 3 inches more inside on righties.

So basically his fastball has more "rise," his curve has more drop, the slider is pretty much league average, and his changeup cuts pretty hard inside on righties.

Check out the speed difference between his fastball/curve and fastball/change.  About 15 MPH in difference for the curve and 11 for the change, which are both better than league average.

The uniqueness of Campillo's changeup is one reason he's so effective.  The difference recorded in vertical movement for the change and fastball aren't a lot for basically every pitcher.  Campillo's is league average, but we all know the difference between a good change and fastball isn't just 3 inches.  A good changeup needs good speed difference from the fastball, and which makes the pitch take a longer time to get to the plate, allowing gravity to drop it off the table.

Pitch f/x's vertical movement is simply comparing Campillo's 86 MPH FB to a 86 MPH pitch thrown with no spin and his 75 MPH change compared to a 75 MPH pitch with no spin.  The drop caused by the 11 MPH difference isn't accounted for in pitch f/x.

So the speed difference between Campillo's fastball/change gives the change more time drop.  Add this in with the 3 inches that it cuts in on righties compared to the league average change and you can see that this is a devastating pitch.  I think Chipper called it the Invisiball or something like that.

To sum it up, Campillo has crappy raw velocity, but the difference in velocity between his pitches is good and his change and curve have pretty ridiculous movement.  Throw in the pinpoint control and now you know he's the real deal.

Hopefully you have a basic understanding of pitch fx right now.  Click around and take a look.  One quick warning though.  Some of the pitch classifications are wrong, but most are correct.  Rich Harden, for example, is a 2 pitch pitcher.  Those sliders it lists are his changeup.  Papelbon is listed with a change, but I believe he throws a splitter.  Charlie Morton has 2 different blots of changeups, but the one on the right side is probably sliders.  Anyway, just click around a bit.  Compare Chucky James to Johan Santana.  Check out the drop on Zito's curve.  Joakim Soria has a lot of nice pitches too.  It's fun stuff.

Here's the batter data again.

Just check out the number of swinging strikes Francoeur has on pitches out of the strike zone (red traingles) compared to someone with plate discipline, like Blanco.  Yes, that's a lot of swinging strikes on fastballs a foot above the strike zone for Frenchy.  Heck, look at the "In Play Out" for pitches a foot under the strike zone too.  Gees Frenchy is all over the place.  And another random tidbit: Chipper is batting .447 and slugging .771 against sliders.

Originally I just planned on writing a short thing about the data, but it blossomed into this wall of text.  Pitch f/x is fun.  Try it!

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Talking Chop.

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