Todd's Takes: Arsenals and Angles

Todd's Takes: Arsenals and Angles

This article is part of our Todd's Takes series.

Guess Again

First off, I'm behind schedule with this series, but I promise to catch up over the last month and into October. Remember, the regular season ends on Wednesday, October 5, as it was extended to fit in the week lost to the lockout. Wow, that seems so long ago.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I was listening to the radio pregame show for the Pirates and Red Sox. It was the Pittsburgh station, so they were interviewing skipper Derek Shelton about how the team would approach Boston starter Josh Winckowski. The interviewer pointed out Winckowski is essentially a two-pitch guy, and the Pirates hitters have had very little, if any exposure to the righty.

I've always thought the best approach against two-pitch guys is sitting on one pitch or the other, since you'll no doubt get at least one chance to hack away per plate appearance.

To put things in perspective, my experience as a guess hitter was guessing I should waddle back to the bench after the ump rang me up again.

To my surprise, Shelton offered an unexpected response, but one in retrospect makes a ton of sense. He pointed out there isn't much of a delta between Winckowski's pitches, so instead of guessing the type, his batters were instructed to focus on a zone. The premise is with a small difference in velocity between pitches, the hitter could adjust, so if they were narrowed in on one zone, they could get a good rip,

Guess Again

First off, I'm behind schedule with this series, but I promise to catch up over the last month and into October. Remember, the regular season ends on Wednesday, October 5, as it was extended to fit in the week lost to the lockout. Wow, that seems so long ago.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I was listening to the radio pregame show for the Pirates and Red Sox. It was the Pittsburgh station, so they were interviewing skipper Derek Shelton about how the team would approach Boston starter Josh Winckowski. The interviewer pointed out Winckowski is essentially a two-pitch guy, and the Pirates hitters have had very little, if any exposure to the righty.

I've always thought the best approach against two-pitch guys is sitting on one pitch or the other, since you'll no doubt get at least one chance to hack away per plate appearance.

To put things in perspective, my experience as a guess hitter was guessing I should waddle back to the bench after the ump rang me up again.

To my surprise, Shelton offered an unexpected response, but one in retrospect makes a ton of sense. He pointed out there isn't much of a delta between Winckowski's pitches, so instead of guessing the type, his batters were instructed to focus on a zone. The premise is with a small difference in velocity between pitches, the hitter could adjust, so if they were narrowed in on one zone, they could get a good rip, regardless of the type of pitch.

This got me thinking as the notion begs a bevy of studies. 

  • What are the most common tandems for two-pitch guys?
  • What is the delta between pitches for two-pitch guys?
  • Do they move the ball around more to compensate for the smaller arsenal?
  • In general, are two-pitch starters less effective than those with at least three offerings?

Most of the time, when I head down a rabbit hole of this nature, more ideas manifest, as I'm sure they will again.

Trust me, I'm not complaining, I love doing what I do, but one of the pitfalls is aiming to get my first set of projections ready by November 1, pretty much simultaneous with the NFBC opening up drafting season. I do the best I can, but there is a bunch of research I want to do to refine regressions and the like, and I can't do it in time for a November 1 rollout. The studies mentioned above are now added to the list. I'm up front about how projections will be refined over the course of the offseason as I complete some studies, especially with regards to pitching. Though, with the potential of the shift legislation and some humidor investigation, batters' numbers will be tweaked as well.

I began to pull some data for the two-pitch research and thought I'd share. Right now, it'll just be presented without much commentary. The tables can be sorted, and you can paste them into Excel if you want to do some of your own analysis.

Here is the pitch mix for all hurlers who have started at least five games so far this season. There are some openers which should be pruned for crunching the data, but I left them in for now. Please note, sinkers are classified as two-seam fastballs.

PitcherGS4Seam%2Seam%Cutter%Slider%Curve%Change%Split%
Jordan Lyles2733.1%17.1%2.2%23.4%12.6%11.7% 
Miles Mikolas2725.6%22.9% 26.7%20.2%4.6% 
Logan Webb272.8%32.0% 32.5% 32.7% 
Gerrit Cole2752.0% 7.7%21.7%9.8%8.7% 
Jameson Taillon2635.3%11.1%12.4%18.0%14.3%9.0% 
Corbin Burnes260.2%7.2%56.0%8.7%18.8%9.2% 
Marco Gonzales2636.7% 18.0% 13.9%31.5% 
Jose Berrios2629.6%24.7%  32.2%13.6% 
Madison Bumgarner2632.1%0.2%37.8%0.2%18.3%11.4% 
Adam Wainwright269.9%28.2%25.7% 30.3%5.9% 
Jose Quintana2636.4%16.1%  27.1%20.4% 
Merrill Kelly2629.8%17.8%17.0%0.2%13.5%21.7% 
Martin Perez267.9%35.1%24.6%1.2%4.0%27.2% 
Robbie Ray2639.3%19.9% 38.2%2.2%0.4% 
Nick Pivetta2649.8%  20.6%27.3%2.3% 
Aaron Nola2633.8%18.7%5.2% 26.7%15.6% 
Carlos Rodon2660.7%  31.7%5.8%1.8% 
Alex Wood26 45.5% 36.0% 18.5% 
Pablo Lopez2638.1%8.3%10.8% 7.3%35.5% 
Sandy Alcantara2625.2%24.8% 22.8%0.4%26.8% 
Dylan Cease2639.6%1.2% 42.3%14.0%2.9% 
Jordan Montgomery2613.3%37.0%5.2% 21.3%23.2% 
Patrick Corbin2620.5%40.5% 30.9%<0.1%8.0% 
Logan Gilbert2654.1%0.4% 22.8%14.3%8.3% 
Max Fried2532.5%13.0% 20.0%21.3%13.3% 
Zac Gallen2547.6%<0.1%14.7%1.2%20.0%16.4% 
Corey Kluber251.1%26.8%33.7% 27.3%11.2% 
Kyle Gibson2513.0%27.9%21.3%20.2%7.0%10.6% 
Kevin Gausman2549.0%  13.2% 2.0%35.8%
Kyle Freeland2523.3%22.1% 21.9%18.2%14.5% 
Cal Quantrill253.3%45.0%36.3% 3.6%11.8% 
Julio Urias2547.3%1.9%  32.6%18.2% 
Dane Dunning250.1%40.5%10.6%28.5% 20.3% 
Kyle Wright2521.0%22.5% 7.0%34.2%15.3% 
Alek Manoah2536.9%23.8% 28.2% 11.1% 
German Marquez2530.4%23.7% 21.1%21.7%3.1% 
Charlie Morton2533.5%10.1%10.3% 37.9%8.1% 
Framber Valdez254.1%49.7%9.2% 27.7%9.2% 
Jose Urquidy2453.2% 5.8%11.8%13.4%15.9% 
Lucas Giolito2447.4%  24.7%3.0%25.0% 
Frankie Montas2427.5%22.9%9.6%14.7%  25.3%
Yu Darvish2423.2%9.9%35.6%18.8%4.8% 7.7%
Justin Verlander2451.0%  28.1%18.7%2.2% 
Joe Musgrove2424.2%6.9%18.0%25.2%19.7%6.0% 
Cole Irvin2438.1%21.5% 2.6%19.3%18.5% 
Sean Manaea24 61.0% 13.8%0.6%24.6% 
Dakota Hudson2419.5%35.9% 27.0%13.4%4.2% 
Eric Lauer2443.5% 19.0%17.5%16.9%3.1% 
Justin Steele2456.8%7.6% 31.0%2.8%1.8% 
JT Brubaker246.4%40.4% 31.4%16.4%5.4% 
Shane Bieber2434.2% 13.2%31.9%17.9%2.8% 
Triston McKenzie2456.6%  21.2%22.2%  
Shane McClanahan2435.2%  15.2%24.3%25.2% 
Chris Bassitt2414.8%32.2%16.1%18.2%12.4%6.2% 
Zack Wheeler2341.4%16.9% 27.9%12.0%1.9% 
Michael Kopech2361.8%  26.7%10.4%1.2% 
Carlos Carrasco2335.2%11.5% 25.8%4.3%23.2% 
Chris Archer2335.8%  44.2%5.3%14.7% 
Dylan Bundy2340.3%8.5% 23.4%9.0%18.8% 
Mitch Keller2333.4%22.0% 21.9%14.6%8.1% 
Drew Rasmussen2337.2%1.4%32.3%24.5%4.6%  
Zach Plesac2342.4%0.2% 24.5%10.4%22.5% 
Josiah Gray2342.3%1.1% 28.8%25.0%2.8% 
Taijuan Walker2329.8%10.3%7.3%17.2%7.5% 27.9%
Ranger Suarez2318.6%42.4%6.6%4.5%6.6%21.3% 
Luis Garcia2342.9%0.2%30.5%7.6%9.1%9.7% 
Tyler Anderson2338.2%7.1%20.7%0.1%1.4%32.4% 
Tony Gonsolin2339.0%  21.4%11.9% 27.6%
Nestor Cortes2342.8%3.0%31.7%18.1%0.1%4.1% 
Brad Keller2235.1%23.9% 36.2% 4.9% 
Kris Bubic2251.5%   20.6%28.0% 
Tyler Mahle2251.6% 12.8%11.6%  24.0%
Shohei Ohtani2232.5%0.6%7.2%35.9%10.1% 13.7%
James Kaprielian2254.1%1.4% 21.5%14.0%9.0% 
Patrick Sandoval2223.7%15.1% 27.2%9.5%24.5% 
Ian Anderson2247.9%<0.1%  18.7%33.4% 
Zach Thompson2216.6%21.3%34.4% 18.1%9.6% 
Joe Ryan2260.4%  21.2%6.0%12.4% 
Zack Greinke2138.1%2.9%13.0%10.5%19.7%15.9% 
Zach Davies21 52.9%6.7%1.1%5.6%33.7% 
Alex Cobb210.1%43.3%  13.5% 43.1%
Erick Fedde210.1%39.0%27.2% 30.2%3.5% 
Chris Flexen2140.2% 33.0%7.3%4.1%15.4% 
Daniel Lynch2144.0%2.5% 32.0%4.4%17.1% 
Paul Blackburn2111.2%34.3%19.5%4.2%18.0%12.7% 
Tarik Skubal2126.6%21.1% 30.9%6.4%14.9% 
Chad Kuhl212.9%41.7% 35.8%11.8%7.7% 
Hunter Greene2052.6%  42.3% 5.2% 
Sonny Gray2027.5%27.0%8.4%12.6%24.0%0.6% 
Brandon Woodruff2038.9%22.2% 9.7%13.4%15.9% 
Yusei Kikuchi2052.2% 6.5%26.4% 14.9% 
Glenn Otto2021.8%27.4% 25.7%14.9%10.2% 
Tyler Wells2041.8%  26.3%13.3%18.6% 
Reid Detmers2043.3%2.0% 23.6%19.1%12.0% 
Noah Syndergaard2016.9%29.8% 21.9%10.6%20.8% 
Cristian Javier2060.7%  26.5%8.2%4.5% 
Trevor Rogers2052.0%  18.6% 29.3% 
Jon Gray1949.1%  36.5%4.2%10.3% 
Antonio Senzatela1954.0%5.0% 27.0%6.5%7.6% 
Brady Singer190.6%53.6% 37.4% 8.5% 
George Kirby1946.6%9.1%15.6%5.3%14.5%8.9% 
Rich Hill1936.8%0.4%9.7%10.5%38.8%3.8% 
Max Scherzer1945.4% 9.9%23.1%8.9%12.7% 
Luis Castillo1931.5%23.9% 20.3% 24.3% 
Marcus Stroman1910.6%39.4%11.9%25.5%0.2% 12.3%
Johnny Cueto1816.1%26.8%16.1%18.9%0.2%21.9% 
Nathan Eovaldi1837.9% 8.9%13.3%18.9% 21.0%
Ross Stripling1836.4%6.8% 22.9%9.0%24.9% 
Drew Smyly18 34.4%22.5% 42.7%0.4% 
Blake Snell1855.4%  22.5%16.8%5.3% 
Spenser Watkins1838.9% 27.4%18.2%10.2%5.3% 
Jeffrey Springs1836.1%4.9% 26.9% 32.0% 
Jake Odorizzi1752.6% 19.7%8.1%4.4% 15.2%
Michael Wacha1733.7%13.3%16.0% 7.6%29.4% 
Aaron Ashby173.7%32.1% 28.6%13.6%22.0% 
Keegan Thompson1746.4%7.0%20.7%5.5%15.1%5.2% 
Adrian Houser1615.8%49.1% 13.4%11.6%10.2% 
Mike Minor1641.9%0.3% 23.7%10.4%23.8% 
Kyle Hendricks1626.6%30.9%  11.9%30.7% 
Aaron Civale169.1%22.1%33.3%4.1%27.1% 4.3%
Austin Gomber1643.0%  23.8%16.6%16.6% 
David Peterson1638.1%11.6% 29.6%4.5%16.2% 
Graham Ashcraft16 19.8%51.0%28.4% 0.8% 
Kyle Bradish1650.8%  28.1%11.2%9.9% 
Bryse Wilson1621.7%34.4% 18.2%12.5%13.2% 
Spencer Strider1666.0%  27.6% 6.3% 
Mike Clevinger1636.6%12.6%14.9%21.9%2.4%11.5% 
Luis Severino1646.3%1.0%8.1%21.2% 23.3% 
Clayton Kershaw1538.2%0.6% 44.4%16.1%0.9% 
Dean Kremer1539.2%4.2%31.5% 11.2%14.1% 
Lance Lynn1543.9%15.2%23.0%5.6%7.7%4.7% 
Jose Suarez1534.0%8.7% 16.8%15.1%25.4% 
Jonathan Heasley1546.1%3.3% 12.4%17.1%21.1% 
Mitch White1545.7%7.4% 26.3%17.9%2.7% 
Beau Brieske1546.2%7.1% 20.7%3.8%22.1% 
Paolo Espino1448.4%  19.3%26.6%5.8% 
Joan Adon1465.4%4.0% 0.7%23.2%6.8% 
Jakob Junis140.3%33.1%3.8%47.3% 15.6% 
Freddy Peralta1455.0%  19.0%14.9%11.1% 
Ryan Feltner1340.8%15.8% 27.0%10.6%6.0% 
Michael Lorenzen1321.1%27.4%13.0%19.3%0.2%19.1% 
Braxton Garrett1326.3%21.1% 32.7%9.9%10.1% 
Nick Lodolo130.1%58.1%  28.6%13.3% 
Bruce Zimmermann1330.9%8.4% 18.4%12.7%29.7% 
Zach Eflin1316.7%38.4%14.6%3.8%19.7%6.8% 
Taylor Hearn1342.9%16.7%3.6%26.0% 10.8% 
MacKenzie Gore1361.1%  15.3%17.9%5.7% 
Dallas Keuchel135.8%43.6%15.3%8.5% 26.7% 
Josh Winckowski1312.4%40.2%8.9%29.5% 8.9% 
Adam Oller1234.9%100.0%21.9%9.3%10.8%13.1% 
Adrian Sampson1234.3%29.1%4.9%17.0% 14.7% 
Austin Voth1241.0% 23.0%4.0%30.7%1.3% 
Walker Buehler1234.2%4.7%24.8%11.7%16.8%7.8% 
Alex Faedo1251.8%  35.0% 13.2% 
Devin Smeltzer1239.7%1.1% 9.0%23.9%26.3% 
Jesus Luzardo1221.9%23.0%  32.1%23.0% 
Roansy Contreras1251.1%  32.3%13.4%3.2% 
Kutter Crawford1236.0% 33.9%6.3%17.6%6.2% 
Drew Hutchison1240.2%12.3% 35.9% 11.5% 
Jose Urena118.4%53.3% 22.0% 16.3% 
Tyler Alexander1122.5%19.5%27.4%11.6% 19.0% 
Michael Pineda1060.5%  20.3% 19.2% 
Andrew Heaney1063.5%  33.2% 3.3% 
Steven Matz10 49.0% 2.9%19.3%28.8% 
Nick Martinez1028.8%16.8%15.0% 15.5%23.9% 
Andre Pallante1047.9%12.6% 22.7%16.8%  
Aaron Sanchez1019.5%40.4%  28.2%11.8% 
Eduardo Rodriguez1041.0%14.1%23.3%4.8% 16.7% 
Zach Logue1049.3% 21.4% 15.2%14.0% 
Humberto Castellanos98.6%33.0% 27.3%20.0%11.1% 
Anibal Sanchez919.4%20.3%22.0%6.5%6.5%25.4% 
Elieser Hernandez940.4%8.4% 37.3% 13.9% 
Tylor Megill955.5% 2.7%19.0%2.9%19.9% 
Garrett Whitlock94.0%56.3% 19.4% 20.3% 
Konnor Pilkington962.4%  7.2%6.5%23.9% 
Trevor Williams950.6%11.7% 10.3%12.2%15.1% 
Ryan Yarbrough9 14.9%35.1% 25.4%24.5% 
Bailey Falter918.8%40.8% 20.4%13.8%6.1% 
Jordan Hicks80.8%64.0% 30.0% 5.3% 
Vince Velasquez841.7%12.2% 18.9%18.3%9.0% 
Jason Alexander84.8%55.7% 24.4% 15.2% 
Spencer Howard851.5% 33.1% 11.5%4.0% 
Vladimir Gutierrez850.1%  20.7%13.4%15.9% 
Edward Cabrera820.6%11.1% 15.8%18.3%34.3% 
Domingo German828.2%12.4%  35.6%23.8% 
Daulton Jefferies811.5%35.9%19.5% 13.4%19.7% 
Matt Manning848.6%10.2% 23.5%12.0%5.7% 
Garrett Hill836.8%20.8% 19.0%11.3%12.1% 
Rony Garcia843.3%15.0%  29.9%11.8% 
Chase Silseth740.1%6.2% 21.6%4.8% 27.3%
Tyler Gilbert722.4%18.3%35.2% 10.5% 13.6%
Carlos Hernandez744.4%0.6% 17.6%25.7% 11.7%
Daniel Castano711.9%6.6%42.0%27.6% 11.9% 
Bailey Ober750.8%  23.0%11.0%15.2% 
Jalen Beeks749.5% 1.5%  49.0% 
Tucker Davidson740.1%5.6% 38.5%10.9%4.9% 
Ryan Pepiot756.7%  18.3% 25.0% 
Tommy Henry656.3%0.4% 19.2%15.1%9.1% 
JP Sears664.5%  22.5% 13.1% 
Hyun Jin Ryu641.8% 13.4% 21.0%23.8% 
Jacob deGrom646.7%  44.2%3.5%5.6% 
Shane Baz640.1%  37.2%14.4%8.3% 
Matthew Liberatore629.6%26.0% 12.5%22.1%9.8% 
Sam Long646.7%1.5%  23.1%28.7% 
Josh Winder644.3%  29.8%13.3%12.6% 
Adrian Martinez6 52.8% 18.2% 28.9% 
Matt Bush550.9% 16.4% 32.7%  
Anthony DeSclafani513.4%24.6% 38.6%13.1%10.3% 
Tyler Beede510.6%26.9% 17.0%19.2%26.3% 
Matt Wisler58.3%  91.7%   
Justin Dunn547.9%  21.9%23.2%7.0% 
Jared Koenig512.1%36.3%16.7% 21.4%13.5% 
Elvin Rodriguez552.0%1.3% 26.1%6.6%14.0% 
Davis Martin545.8%  31.5%7.5%15.2% 
Chris Paddack551.8%  3.8%18.0%26.4% 
Matt Swarmer542.6%  54.7% 2.7% 
Matt Brash543.0%  33.2%22.0%1.8% 
Bryce Elder5 34.1%21.0%28.9%0.2%15.8% 
Brayan Bello520.2%35.3% 17.2% 27.3% 

Since Winckowski was the impetus, I checked him out to discover he throws five pitches, but uses his sinker and slider 70 percent of the time.

Here is a table showing the average velocity for each pitch. The last column is the delta between the fastest and slowest for each hurler.

Pitcher4Seam2SeamCutterSliderCurveChangeSplitDelta
Jordan Lyles91.890.983.98079.186.3 12.7
Miles Mikolas93.592.9 87.875.982.6 17.6
Logan Webb92.591.8 82.4 86.4 10.1
Gerrit Cole97.8 92.188.682.889.7 15
Jameson Taillon94.194.290.786.18187.7 13.2
Corbin Burnes95.996.39587.981.790.2 14.6
Marco Gonzales88.3 86 76.479.4 11.9
Jose Berrios93.993.8  82.884.6 11.1
Madison Bumgarner91.391.287.583.378.685.4 12.7
Adam Wainwright88.288.884.4 72.782.4 16.1
Jose Quintana91.191.4  78.586.4 12.9
Merrill Kelly92.692.69185.582.288.6 10.4
Martin Perez92.792.789.884.578.784.3 14
Robbie Ray93.493.5 87.179.786.3 13.8
Nick Pivetta93.4  85.777.287.1 16.2
Aaron Nola92.792.186.9 78.586 14.2
Carlos Rodon95.7  85.38084.9 15.7
Alex Wood 92.4 84.5 85.7 7.9
Pablo Lopez93.293.188.6 80.787.3 12.5
Sandy Alcantara97.997.7 89.886.291.8 11.7
Dylan Cease96.996.5 87.28177.7 19.2
Jordan Montgomery92.89388.4 80.282.2 12.8
Patrick Corbin9292.8 81.874.282.3 18.6
Logan Gilbert9694.4 87.280.986.2 15.1
Max Fried94.193.6 87.374.386.6 19.8
Zac Gallen94.194.789.986.881.286.3 13.5
Corey Kluber88.888.886.3 80.782.9 8.1
Kyle Gibson91.991.489.183.37984.4 12.9
Kevin Gausman94.9  84.1 84.485.110.8
Kyle Freeland90.389.6 85.580.884.7 9.5
Cal Quantrill93.493.588.3 82.385.3 11.2
Julio Urias93.293.8  8186.3 12.8
Dane Dunning86.989.486.878.5 83.9 10.9
Kyle Wright95.294.4 9084.588 10.7
Alek Manoah9493.3 81.5 86.7 12.5
German Marquez95.695.2 87.586.787.6 8.9
Charlie Morton9594.788.4 81.187.1 13.9
Framber Valdez949483.3 79.288.9 14.8
Jose Urquidy93.6 87.479.87886.1 15.6
Lucas Giolito92.9  84.579.481.4 13.5
Frankie Montas96.295.789.587.1  86.49.8
Yu Darvish95.294.886.682.573.2 89.322
Justin Verlander95  87.47986.2 16
Joe Musgrove92.992.3908381.486.2 11.5
Cole Irvin90.790.4 8777.483.1 13.3
Sean Manaea 91 81.476.984.8 14.1
Dakota Hudson91.491.9 87.980.486.5 11.5
Eric Lauer93.3 89.987.178.287.1 15.1
Justin Steele92.291.6 82.178.187.5 14.1
JT Brubaker92.893.2 86.880.187.2 13.1
Shane Bieber91.2 86.884.98286.4 9.2
Triston McKenzie92.4  87.479.5  12.9
Shane McClanahan96.7  8981.887.6 14.9
Chris Bassitt93.292.88978.771.685.5 21.6
Zack Wheeler95.995.4 90.681.289.5 14.7
Michael Kopech94.9  84.378.485.2 16.5
Carlos Carrasco93.491.9 8581.287.6 12.2
Chris Archer93.1  88.881.887 11.3
Dylan Bundy89.189.7 79.17281.1 17.7
Mitch Keller95.694.5 84.778.791.3 16.9
Drew Rasmussen95.594.790.684.679.6  15.9
Zach Plesac9289.4 85.479.385.8 12.7
Josiah Gray94.394.7 85.682.688.1 12.1
Taijuan Walker93.79388.684.974.8 88.818.9
Ranger Suarez93.292.689.682.276.985.2 16.3
Luis Garcia9490.685.479.977.384.9 16.7
Tyler Anderson90.688.985.580.37379 17.6
Tony Gonsolin93.1  87.580.7 83.412.4
Nestor Cortes91.890.986.877.272.782.8 19.1
Brad Keller94.393.2 86.7 89.8 7.6
Kris Bubic91.7   79.180.5 12.6
Tyler Mahle93.3 85.683.9  85.49.4
Shohei Ohtani97.297.690.385.378.1 89.419.5
James Kaprielian93.993.7 85.279.484.9 14.5
Patrick Sandoval92.993.5 86.37983.7 14.5
Ian Anderson9493.5  81.788.2 12.3
Zach Thompson92.392.286.6 77.185.8 15.2
Joe Ryan91.9  82.17484.2 17.9
Zack Greinke89.289.48682.27286.6 17.4
Zach Davies 89.487.67674.679.5 14.8
Alex Cobb9594.8  83.9 89.711.1
Erick Fedde93.192.688.9 78.385.7 14.8
Chris Flexen91.7 87.48174.881 16.9
Daniel Lynch94.193.7 85.980.684.8 13.5
Paul Blackburn91.591.787.179.178.886 12.9
Tarik Skubal94.194.8 89.376.983.6 17.9
Chad Kuhl92.792.7 86.579.387.9 13.4
Hunter Greene98.7  88 89.7 10.7
Sonny Gray92.292.183.481.678.886.8 13.4
Brandon Woodruff96.295.7 88.38486.1 12.2
Yusei Kikuchi94.8 91.186.6 87 8.2
Glenn Otto92.392.3 8181.288.1 11.3
Tyler Wells93.6  87.677.986.8 15.7
Reid Detmers93.293.8 85.37384.2 20.8
Noah Syndergaard94.193.7 84.576.388.5 17.8
Cristian Javier94  8076.685.4 17.4
Trevor Rogers94.6  80.6 85.6 14
Jon Gray96  85.277.988.8 18.1
Antonio Senzatela94.292.8 86.178.287 16
Brady Singer92.793.8 85.5 87 8.3
George Kirby95.595.188.385.380.885.9 14.7
Rich Hill88.586.184.469.371.782.3 19.2
Max Scherzer93.9 89.284.97584.1 18.9
Luis Castillo9796.8 86.6 88.4 10.4
Marcus Stroman92.49289.284.681.3 87.111.1
Johnny Cueto91.691.48783.772.382.6 19.3
Nathan Eovaldi95.9 90.986.278.4 87.917.5
Ross Stripling91.889.5 8775.982.4 15.9
Drew Smyly 92.688.5 78.682.6 14
Blake Snell95.7  88.881.286.9 14.5
Spenser Watkins91.4 87.278.676.986.1 14.5
Jeffrey Springs91.691.1 85.3 81.1 10.5
Jake Odorizzi92.2 87.782.871.9 85.320.3
Michael Wacha93.292.889 74.984.8 18.3
Aaron Ashby95.495.7 83.579.589.2 16.2
Keegan Thompson93.392.889.983.881.286.2 12.1
Adrian Houser94.693.9 84.881.185.6 13.5
Mike Minor90.489.8 85.479.184.2 11.3
Kyle Hendricks86.986.5  72.779.9 14.2
Aaron Civale90.791.286.380.475.7 85.515.5
Austin Gomber91  84.175.682.2 15.4
David Peterson93.693.2 84.377.985.8 15.7
Graham Ashcraft 9797.285.7 89.8 11.5
Kyle Bradish94.8  86.682.889.8 12
Bryse Wilson92.992.3 83.377.386.1 15.6
Spencer Strider98.1  86.5 88.9 11.6
Mike Clevinger93.793.187.279.876.586.5 17.2
Luis Severino96.195.490.485.1 88.9 11
Clayton Kershaw90.790.8 86.673.283.8 17.6
Dean Kremer93.492.187.6 76.183.9 17.3
Lance Lynn9391.68986.782.485.8 10.6
Jose Suarez92.691.5 80.677.982.4 14.7
Jonathan Heasley93.893.8 86.579.185.4 14.7
Mitch White93.894.3 85.680.387.5 14
Beau Brieske94.393.6 86.278.182 16.2
Paolo Espino88.3  77.771.383.5 17
Joan Adon9595 86.279.787.4 15.3
Jakob Junis86.191.885.482.9 84.4 8.9
Freddy Peralta92.5  80.375.885.7 16.7
Ryan Feltner94.593.3 83.977.583.7 17
Michael Lorenzen94.793.990.583.281.386.4 13.4
Braxton Garrett91.490.9 84.278.986 12.5
Nick Lodolo91.994.3  81.888.2 12.5
Bruce Zimmermann90.690.6 858184.6 9.6
Zach Eflin93.192.689.985.578.287 14.9
Taylor Hearn94.493.588.683.9 87.5 10.5
MacKenzie Gore94.7  87.480.884.8 13.9
Dallas Keuchel8887.285.277 79.2 11
Josh Winckowski93.593.988.484.8 89.6 9.1
Adam Oller93.293.489.484.380.386.4 13.1
Adrian Sampson92.692.284.983.2 85.5 9.4
Austin Voth93.6 89.584.377.687.1 16
Walker Buehler95.294.991.583.579.290.5 16
Alex Faedo92.7  85 86.2 7.7
Devin Smeltzer89.588.4 84.875.682.1 13.9
Jesus Luzardo96.695.6  83.686.9 13
Roansy Contreras95.8  84.67989.9 16.8
Kutter Crawford94.1 88.785.179.786.3 14.4
Drew Hutchison92.592.8 85.9 86.5 6.9
Jose Urena96.395.8 87.3 90.5 9
Tyler Alexander89.989.885.478.1 82.6 11.8
Michael Pineda89.8  80.5 85.3 9.3
Andrew Heaney92.7  82.9 85.3 9.8
Steven Matz 94.5 89.677.885.1 16.7
Nick Martinez92.992.887.5 81.479.4 13.5
Andre Pallante95.394.8 87.377  18.3
Aaron Sanchez92.492.2  79.187.8 13.3
Eduardo Rodriguez91.791.988.582.7 85.1 9.2
Zach Logue90.1 85.9 77.581.9 12.6
Humberto Castellanos89.490.4 86.376.584 13.9
Anibal Sanchez9089.387.583.275.580.6 14.5
Elieser Hernandez91.392 79.6 83.9 12.4
Tylor Megill95.7 87.685.380.489.1 15.3
Garrett Whitlock94.995.1 83.2 84.5 11.9
Konnor Pilkington92.1  8276.184.4 16
Trevor Williams90.888.7 82.878.684.1 12.2
Ryan Yarbrough 86.582.8 71.478.7 15.1
Bailey Falter91.791 83.676.683.1 15.1
Jordan Hicks98.799 84 92 15
Vince Velasquez93.491.8 84.581.788.2 11.7
Jason Alexander93.392.6 80.9 81.7 12.4
Spencer Howard94.2 84.4 74.979.5 19.3
Vladimir Gutierrez92.8  82.478.482.9 14.4
Edward Cabrera96.295.8 86.683.492.7 12.8
Domingo German92.992.9  81.286 11.7
Daulton Jefferies92.392.589.5 80.186 12.4
Matt Manning93.693 8479.686.7 14
Garrett Hill91.291.3 8276.981.7 14.4
Rony Garcia92.792.3  79.987.3 12.8
Chase Silseth95.494.3 83.778.9 86.316.5
Tyler Gilbert89.589.786.2 76.3 81.713.4
Carlos Hernandez95.294.1 84.580.9 8414.3
Daniel Castano91.889.486.481 83.9 10.8
Bailey Ober91.6  8376.384.2 15.3
Jalen Beeks95.3 88.4  90.2 6.9
Tucker Davidson93.193.1 86.578.585.7 14.6
Ryan Pepiot94.1  86.9 86.7 7.4
Tommy Henry91.690.8 85.880.484.6 11.2
JP Sears93.4  79.6 83 13.8
Hyun Jin Ryu89.3 86 71.979.6 17.4
Jacob deGrom99.3  9383.492.8 15.9
Shane Baz96  87.782.388.5 13.7
Matthew Liberatore9392.7 85.873.985.1 19.1
Sam Long94.893  76.784.4 18.1
Josh Winder94.1  84.380.788.6 13.4
Adrian Martinez 93.7 81.6 83.4 12.1
Matt Bush97.1 92.7 81.4  15.7
Anthony DeSclafani92.792.5 87.480.987.9 11.8
Tyler Beede95.695.2 88.679.384.8 16.3
Matt Wisler89.8  80   9.8
Justin Dunn92.1  83.279.787.9 12.4
Jared Koenig89.188.783.1 77.582.7 11.6
Elvin Rodriguez92.992.7 8377.986.5 15
Davis Martin93.9  84.479.185.7 14.8
Chris Paddack93  83.57682.5 17
Matt Swarmer90.5  81.8 85.7 8.7
Matt Brash95.9  84.383.285.5 12.7
Bryce Elder 91.389.982.678.686.2 12.7
Brayan Bello9796.4 85.7 88.1 11.3

Sure enough, Winckowski demonstrates one of to smallest differences, magnified by throwing five pitches. For what it's worth, the Pirates lit him up.

One general observation: I know there's some cause and effect in play, but it's still amazing that only 13 pitchers who have started at least five games throw a splitter at least 10% of the time, considering the splitter is, by the numbers, the most effective MLB pitch.

Stick to Pitch Talk

One of my pet peeves is how verbatim announcers (and thus fans) treat pitches shown on TV, when their perceived movement and location is influenced by the camera angle. This video is fantastic, though the dude's attempts at humor leave much to be desired.

Box Score Blitz, August 31

  • HOU 5, TEX 3: After a short stint as a reliever, Cristian Javier returned to the Astros rotation in Justin Verlander's spot. Javier did his job, keeping Houston in the game before tagging in the bullpen for four scoreless frames. Rafael Montero secured his 10th save, filling in for Ryan Pressly, who is on the IL again. The Astros game plan appeared to be patience against Martin Perez, and it paid off, though he helped with only 18 of 28 first pitches for strikes. David Hensley (filling in for Yordan Alvarez and Aledmys Diaz) had his best game in the majors with three singles and a walk. Hensley will hit low in the order when he plays, but the Astros lineup scores enough so he can be used in daily leagues or as a cost-saver in a DFS stack.
  • MIL 6, PIT 1: Freddy Peralta continued getting the job done despite not racking up strikeouts, punching out only three Pirates in five frames. His velocity is down a couple ticks, though he isn't much of a velocity guy. He gets his whiffs on secondary stuff and appears to be tweaking his pitch mix to determine what works best. Keston Hiura continued a productive stretch as his 2-for-5 effort raised his slash to .281/.343/.688 over his past nine games, but he's fanned at a 34.5 percent clip in that span. Until Hiura can cut down on his strikeouts, his hot streaks such as this one will be balanced by cold spells.
  • SD 5, SF 4: Joe Musgrove tossed his fourth quality start in his last five outings, fanning a season-high 11 while earning his first win since June 16. Josh Hader returned to the closer role, capturing his 30th save. Hader is another reminder that players are human, as he and his wife dealt with a pregnancy scare earlier this season. Who knows how that and becoming a father has affected Hader's mental state this season. Brandon Drury's OPS is only .628 since being acquired by the Padres, but that's still better than Josh Bell's .612 mark. Alex Wood's misfortune continued as his ERA is now 5.10. The southpaw's LOB mark is 63.9 percent, which is the 10th-lowest level among pitchers with at least 130 innings over the last decade.
  • BAL 4, CLE 0: Good defense propelled Jordan Lyles to his 10th win as he only fanned two Guardians in 6.2 frames. However, the big story was Gunnar Henderson clubbing his first career homer and his blonde moss crossing home plate before the rest of his body. Henderson's rise has been meteoric. It will be interesting to see if Baltimore suppresses his at bats to remain below the Rookie of the Year threshold. It may depend on whether they hang around the wild card chase.
  • STL 5, CIN 3 (F/13): Albert Pujols failed to take advantage of facing Mike Minor with an 0-for-5 effort, so he's still six homers shy of the 700 club. Lars Nootbaar didn't start, but still ended up with a combo meal (an homage to my ESPN friends Erik and Tristan) with his 10th homer and fourth steal. Over a 650 plate appearance season, that's 26 dingers and 10 swipes.
  • TB 2, MIA 1 (F/10): Jalen Beeks became the seventh Rays reliever to record more than one save as another pitchers' duel was blemished by a zombie scoring the game winner. Drew Rasmussen's quality start dropped his ERA to 1.84 with a 0.86 WHIP since the break. He's fanned 41 over those 44 stanzas, allowing only two homers in that span. Trevor Rogers posted an encouraging effort in his return, fanning five in six frames. It seemed a longshot a few months ago, but among the struggling Jose Berrios and Lucas Giolito, Rogers may be the most useful of the trio down the stretch.
  • WSH 5, OAK 1: It's Pavlovian: stream pitchers against the Athletics. Anibal Sanchez is the latest beneficiary with seven innings of one-run ball. Joey Meneses had his nine-game hitting streak snapped. Meneses has compiled a .959 OPS since joining the Nationals. A .357 BABIP has helped, but so has a stingy 17.3 percent strikeout rate.
  • CHC 7, TOR 5: Mitch White posted his second straight subpar effort against a lesser lineup, surrendering six runs to the Cubs in 4.2 innings after the Angels tallied seven in five frames against White in his prior outing. The Cubs spread the wealth, with only Christopher Morel failing to collect a hit. Franmil Reyes cracked his second long ball this week. Alejandro Kirk and Cavan Biggio went deep for the Blue Jays, but the team couldn't take full advantage of the Cubs' weak pitching.
  • NYM 2, LAD 1: Retiring Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman and Will Smith to save a 2-1 game is challenging enough, but to do it following a live trumpet entrance is even more impressive. Edwin Diaz is experiencing one of those years. Jacob deGrom was hoping to get through six innings with 100 pitches, but he needed only 93 to complete seven stanzas. Tyler Anderson also hurled seven frames, but the Mets scratched out a pair of tallies on Starling Marte's 16th homer. It's clear Marte can't run as much as last season (his sprint speed has dropped to 70th percentile), but he's gone deep in two straight games.
  • SEA 5, DET 3: Seattle's lights-out bullpen did it again as Marco Gonzales' six-inning, three-run effort stood up. Paul Sewald managed his 17th save, but it took 24 pitches, so don't be surprised if someone else takes the ninth on Thursday (though the game is in progress as this is being written, so hopefully you already adjusted in daily leagues). It's unclear how much he'll play, but Spencer Torkelson was recalled by the Tigers. After struggling following his demotion, Torkelson posted a .319/.448/.468 for Triple-A Toledo over the second half of August.
  • ATL 3, COL 2: Another solid effort from Kyle Wright, supported by homers from Austin Riley and Ronald Acuna — par for the course. However, after the game, Acuna was asked about his knee, and via an interpreter he replied, "It's terrible. We're just going to play through it until the season's over." I watched the clip, and the quote (hopefully) appears worse than it seems. That said, don't expect many more steals, though the 25 he's garnered are likely more than expected already.
  • BOS 6, MIN 5: Matt Barnes closing out a win salvage one game of a series with the Twins to end August is not what Red Sox nation envisioned. Neither was only 11 homers from J.D. Martinez and 12 from Xander Bogaerts, but after each went deep, that's where they are heading into September. There are whispers Boston may promote Triston Casas, but as of this writing there is no announcement.
  • CHW 4, KC 2: After limiting the Royals to just one run over seven stanzas, Lynn finished September with a 2.45 ERA and 0.85 WHIP for the month, whiffing 42 in 36.2 innings. Elvis Andrus hit his first homer for the White Sox. He's batting leadoff, so he's in play for deeper leagues until Tim Anderson returns in about three weeks. Liam Hendriks registered his 29th save. Last September, Hendriks collected eight saves in 13.2 scoreless innings. Hoping for history to repeat itself is aggressive, but Hendriks looks primed for another solid finish.
  • LAA 3, NYY 2: Sometimes, the box score doesn't tell the whole story. In the sixth inning, David Fletcher hit a sharp grounder down the line. Josh Donaldson snared it, but his throw skipped by the outstretched Anthony Rizzo. It's easy for me to say while watching, but I thought Rizzo should have left the bag to make sure the throw didn't get by him. He opted to stretch, and Fletcher was credited with a hit while reaching second on an error. Mike Trout then grounded to shortstop, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa took his eye off the ball while checking the runner, so Trout reached. In an alternate universe, Rizzo fielded Donaldson's throw, keeping Fletcher at first, then Kiner-Falefa turned Trout's grounder into a twin-killing, so Shohei Ohtani was up with no one on and two outs, meaning his three-run homer would have been merely a solo shot. On the other side, Patrick Sandoval was quite impressive, mixing up pitches and location throughout his seven frames. I know Sandoval has been a fantasy favorite for a couple of years, and while I wasn't a non-believer, his performance against the Pinstripes has me expecting a Top-30 starting pitching rank next season.
  • PHI 18, ARI 2: I can't imagine there's a desire, but I wouldn't complain one iota if they somehow tacked on prohibiting position players from pitching when they legislate the shift. Anyway, lost in the laugher was a solid effort from Bailey Falter, though the righty was lifted with a groin issue with one out in the seventh after throwing only 83 pitches. This was Falter's fourth straight quality start. If the injury isn't serious, Falter is a sneaky asset down the stretch. Oddly, the Phillies scored 18 times without leaving the yard.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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