Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sortable Starting Pitcher Release Points

In Pitch F/X posts on pitchers, I often try to find comparisons when it comes to release points (especially when looking at prospects' first Pitch F/X game) to give us some bearing on how they are releasing the ball. The problem is, I had to do most of the work on feel and manually as, as far as I know (and nobody I asked knew of one) there is no place where you can sort by release point.

In this post, I am fixing that, sort of. I used Baseball Prospectus' Pitch F/X leaderboards that link to Brooks Baseball and inputted the fastball release points for all 450 pitchers that have thrown at least 500 pitches as a starter in the Pitch F/X era. I used the 4-seam fastball release point, unless the pitcher didn't throw one, and then I used sinker or cutter or whichever came first. Of course, I used career Pitch F/X numbers, and as pitchers do change at times, this data isn't always going to be accurate. If a pitcher lowers his release point, the career number is just going to be an average of the two distinct points, not an actual place the pitcher actually released the ball. Without manually checking per season (or just checking the ones I know have changed off hand), there wasn't a real way to fix this bug. It doesn't affect too many pitchers, but just be aware of it (and be aware that some pitchers have different release points for different pitches, especially curveballs).

The data is in the spreadsheet below, but I put it in graph form as well to give you a more visual look.
To see the interactive chart (where you should be able to hover over each bubble and get the name and data), click the chart 1 button below.

Just the picture version of the chart if you want to save that (or the link if you want to download it):

I'm sure I will get around to do relievers soon (if there is a way I can make this look better, let me know what you think).

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