Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Movement in the Futures Game

After looking at velocity and the locations of pitches in the Futures game somewhat extensively, I wanted to look at the movement of pitches at the game, looking at which pitchers got the best movement on their pitches and compare the pitchers' movement data on their fastballs.

First, let's look at the individual pitches with the most movement (instead of average, which we will take a look at in a minute). Rather than putting them in a boring chart or something, I just used a strikeout graph to look at where the pitches were located.

Here are the best Horizontal Movement Pitches, sorted by pitch type:

Enny Romero shows up twice, with an arm side and low change, and a fastball way glove side. Miguel Almonte, who can't command the curve yet, got the best curveball movement horizontally despite missing the strike zone, and somehow Montero got the best slider movement despite keeping the ball up and arm side.

Here were the Best Vertical Movement Pitches in the game:

Not surprisingly, all of them are pretty low, with Rafael De Paula showing up for both his fastball and changeup, both pitches he threw glove side and low. Rienzo's slider was located in a normal spot, while Reifenhauser got his curve low and away.

Before actually looking at the movement data itself (by numbers instead of rankings), we have to adjust for the park, as movement is affected heavily (at least in measurement if not by reality) by which park the game is at. So I created really simple park factors for Citi Field by looking at the movement data split by home and road for the 5 Mets pitchers with the most 4-seam fastballs in 2013 (I just looked at 4-seamers to remove the pitch selection bias)

So using those factors, here is the average fastball movement for each pitcher, along with the closest comparison in movement via Brooks Baseball

 Almonte's comparison to Erasmo is interesting because his best secondary pitch is a changeup, just like Erasmo (and they both have low release points). Riefenhauser obviously doesn't throw extremely hard like others in the Futures game, but he gets movement like Jose Quintana, who has been successful despite an average at best fastball. I also found the Biddle/Skaggs comparison interesting because they both seem to rely heavily on the curveball, without real overpowering fastballs.

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