Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Status of Blog

I have not been able to keep up linking my posts and have taken on writing at Driveline Mechanics also. To see my current work, go either:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Update of Posts - 5/22

I looked at players ont he KC A's and Royals at:


Average and replacement level HOFers using WAR:


Is Farnsworth's nibbling leading to better results:


Outfield UZR Aging Patterns


Recent entries to the 300 win Club


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Joined Beyond the Boxscore

I have joined the group over at Beyond the Boxscore and plan on posting most of my new work there. If any article gets published, I will go ahead and link them here. For now I have two new pieces

A Look a Joakim Soria is the same Pitcher this compared to last.

The All Jeff Team

Analysis of the FSU college baseball team

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pitching Mound Construction Leading to Higher Scoring at Texas?

Gil Meche, before his last start in Kansas City, was asked about his last start at Texas and here is his response:

"The reason I was stiff," Meche said, "is the mound (in Texas) was so flat. From the first pitch in warm-ups, I knew I was going to have to battle.

"With a flat mound, I don’t know if it’s the way my hips move or the way I stride out, but it affects something. That’s why I like steep mounds. I feel like I can generate more power instead of having my leg land too early and me having to generate power with my arm. That’s the only problem I had. That’s why I threw so many off-speed pitches."

This got me thinking about some work I did previously on individual park factors where I noted Rangers Ballpark in Arlington's official park factor was ~1.05, but it was predicted to be ~1.01. It has been stated that the stadium funnels the air to flow to center field was causing this discrepancy, but there seem to be another factor.

I decided to see if there was any truth to what Gil was talking about. For a initial look to see if there is anything to the accusation, I examined the average and maximum speeds of the opposing starting pitcher's four seem fastball that have pitched so far at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 2009. I limited the comparison games to those that happened as close possible to the start at Arlington, in case there was an injury to the pitcher. Also, I wanted to take the Texas pitcher's out of the study because they will be used to the supposedly smaller mound (I will look at Texas's pitchers as I get the time to see how they actually compare). There have been 9 pitchers so far that meet this criteria and here are their numbers:

Game before Texas
Game at Texas
Game after Texas
Start before Texas
Start after Texas
Date Team Starting Pitcher Average Speed Max Speed Average Speed Max Speed Average Speed Max Speed Difference in Average Speed Difference in Max Speed Difference in Average Speed Difference in Max Speed
Mon, Apr 6 Cleveland Lee -- -- 89.74 91.6 90.65 92.5 -- -- 0.91 0.9
Wed, Apr 8 Cleveland F Carmona -- -- 92.01 94.1 91.35 93.9 -- -- -0.66 -0.2
Thu, Apr 9 Cleveland C Pavano -- -- 87.73 89 90.34 93.2 -- -- 2.61 4.2
Mon, Apr 13 Baltimore K Uehara 87.83 89.4 85.78 87.8 87.88 89.4 2.05 1.6 2.1 1.6
Tue, Apr 14 Baltimore A Simon 92.97 95.3 89.93 91.8 -- -- 3.04 3.5 -- --
Wed, Apr 15 Baltimore M Hendrickson 87.16 88.7 86.24 88.7 86.54 88.1 0.92 0 0.3 -0.6
Fri, Apr 17 Kansas City Meche 91.32 94.6 89.79 92.4 91.96 94 1.53 2.2 2.17 1.6
Sat, Apr 18 Kansas City Greinke 92.93 95.6 92 94.7 94.17 97 0.93 0.9 2.17 2.3
Sun, Apr 19 Kansas City Davies 92.12 94.2 90.62 92.3 90.9 92.9 1.5 1.9 0.28 0.6

Average Values = 90.72 92.97 89.26 91.35 90.45 92.64 1.66 1.68 1.28 1.36

Just using this small sample size, it can be seen that there seem to be a little truth to ability of pitchers to throw their fastest stuff at Texas. Fausto Carmona is the only pitcher that has thrown faster in a start before or after going Texas compared to the start at Texas. In the other 14 cases the pitcher through slower in Texas by ~1.5 mph.

These numbers have peaked my interest enough that I will continue to update the preceding data as the season continues, expanding it to the Texas pitchers and look back at 2007 and 2008 data with pitch F/X to see if the smaller mound is linked to higher than expected scoring at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Ron Mahay - Analysis Before and After his Trip to the DL

In 2008 left hander Ron Mahay, just off signing a 2 year, 8 million dollar deal with the Royals, seemed to cruising through the season and helping the Royals solidify their bullpen. On August 15, he had an ERA of 2.91 and help make the pen at Kansas City one of the leagues strongest by joining Ramon Ramirez, Leo Nunez and Joakim Soria. On August 22, Ron was retroactively placed on the 15 DL and since that point, his results have not been the same. Ron was place on the disabled list for “plantar fasciitis in his left foot”. Plantar fasciitis is condition in the foot caused by excessive to the supports to the arches of your feet. Pain is felt in the heel of his plant foot.

After looking at Ron's numbers it seems like injury happened ~5 starts earlier. Here are Ron's stats for the 5 appearances before he went on the DL, the 11 appearances before those 5 and the 11 appearances he has had since coming off the DL.

Games Before DL Stint ERA FIP WHIP KK/9
6 to 16 before 0.73 2.07 0.97 9.44
5 before 31.3 21.03 4.35 7.83
11 after 12.68 6.86 2.96 11.41

Ron was rolling right along until his foot began to bother him an then his numbers just started going through the roof. After the surgery his numbers came down a little, but they still haven't been very good. The interesting stat is that he has been able to strikeout more batters since he came off the DL.

I wanted to see how the injury effects his pitch speed and movement. Looking at the same three time periods using Pitch F/X data, some some interesting results materialize on his 3 main pitches: Change up (CH), Slider (SL) and Fastball (FF)

Type of Pitch Games Before DL Stint Start Speed End Speed Break Angle Break Length
CH 6 to 16 before 83.97 77.58 -29.21 6.64
CH 5 before 82.52 76.52 -28.16 7.02
CH 11 after 83.7 77.42 -27.33 7.04

SL 6 to 16 before 82.83 76.81 -3.74 7.47
SL 5 before 81.33 75.66 -1.4 8.04
SL 11 after 81.94 76.31 9.81 4.2

FF 6 to 16 before 90.58 83.1 -39.23 3.93
FF 5 before 90.62 83.27 -36.01 3.82
FF 11 after 90.07 82.57 -32.95 4.07

Lets look at the changes to each pitch type:

  • Change-up – Right before going on the DL, his change-up dropped by ~1.5 mph and had more of break (mainly do to more time to break before crossing the plate). Since the injury, he has not gotten all his speed back on his change to pre injury level

  • Slider – Like the change-up, his slider lost significant velocity before going on the DL and he has gained some, but not all of it back. More significantly, since going on the DL, his slider has just half the break while having a different break angle.

  • Fastball (4 finger) – It lost some velocity since he came off the DL, but it hasn't changed too much otherwise.

As a whole each pitch is just not as sharp as it was before he was hurt. Let's see what the results were for when each type of pitch was hit into play.

Change ups



Games Before DL Stint Out Safe % outs Out Safe % outs Out Safe % outs
6 to 16 before 4 3 0.57 15 5 0.75 6 0 1
5 before 1 1 0.5 4 6 0.4 3 0 1
11 after 3 3 0.5 8 11 0.42 1 3 0.25

The loss in overall speed (and slider break distance) has led to more balls hit into play to be hits, especially for his fastball and slider. Though this is a small sample size, but he just not being very effective. In Ron's last two appearance, Trey Hillman him in the eight inning and Ron has allowed the tying or go ahead run to score. Ron just not the same pitcher he was in the first 2/3s of 2008, but Trey keeps using him as if he was the same pitcher.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Using Pitch F/X to Determine an Umpire's Strike Zone

With Pitch F/X there has been quite a bit of work on looking at different pitchers. I decided to extend the work I did on umpire scoring and link that information to pitch F/X. I used the standard strike zone of -1, 1 for the width of home plate and then adjusted the batter's height to the vertical standard of 1.5 to 3.5. Here is a spreadsheet with the percentage of pitches that each umpire called strikes and ball and and how they compare to the standard strike zone (-1,1 to 1.5,3.5). I drew the cutoff line to include umpires with more than 1456 called balls and strikes (The bottom 11 umpires called 918 or less strikes).

Then, I ask for some help in determine what percent of pitches in a zone should constitute the area that balls and strikes are normally called by the umpire. I decided to take their advice and use the value of 90%. I increased or decreased the standard strike zone in equal increments until 90% of the pitches were strikes or balls. Here is the dimensions of the strike zone (along with the percentages of correct calls with the normal zone). I added these two differences together to get the amount these areas overlap (inconsistency of the umpire).

Average value for: Value
% of strikes called strikes 78.8%
% of balls called balls 85.4%
% correct 83.2%
Adjustment for Strikes (90% zone) 0.15
Adjustment of Called Balls (90% zone) 0.09
Combined Adjustment Distance 0.24

Here is an image of the normal strike zone (black) along with the actual zone where strikes are called strikes (inside the red square) and the zone when balls are called balls(area outside the yellow box) 90% of the time.


After that, I went ahead and determined the zone for each individual umpire (on previously link spreadsheet).

Finally for a few of umpires, I have looked to find find how their strike zone compared to a centered zone. Basically, do they call the a little lower or outside. I having a tough time find a good to determine this zone, but am making progress, I will update these values as I figure them out and will let everyone know when the values are complete.

I went ahead and linked the previous data I had on umpire effects to the Pitch F/X, but I am wanting to do the R/G, K/G, etc for the same seasons I did the pitch F/X analysis. I want to include park factors and finally get an umpire factor for each umpire that can be applied to each pitcher to see how much the home plate umpire effected their season. As always thanks for your time and and I am open to comments and suggestions.