Monday, April 27, 2009

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.

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