Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013 AFL Pitch F/X Data: Location

There were approximately 8856 pitches by 110 pitchers correctly and fully tracked by Pitch F/X in the Arizona Fall League  in 2013. On the blog, I would like to look at all the pitches as a whole, along with some individual hitters and pitchers. This is the first post in the hopeful series. First, I wanted to look at how pitches were located by individual pitchers. So the following picture (click to enlarge) is the average location of all the pitches thrown by each pitcher. The entire graph is the strikezone:

I thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the more extreme pitchers. Cam Bedrosian and Omar Duran were the most extreme high ball pitchers. Duran is a 23 year old lefty reliever in the A's organization with extremely high strikeout rates in the lower levels. He has also been extremely hard to hit home runs off of. Bedrosian was a 1st round pick by the Angels in 2010, but statistically, he has really struggled with walks, despite an okay strikeout rate and a low home run rate. John Stilson was an extreme low ball pitcher in the AFL, and he has been mostly successful in the Blue Jays' system out of Texas A&M since being drafted in 2012 as both a starter and a reliever. Yankees left-hander Fred Lewis was also an extreme low ball pitcher in the AFL and the 26 year old former 47th rounder has had low home run rates along with good strikeout rates in the minors.

Lefty Jarret Martin was an extreme arm side pitcher in the AFL, and he has really struggled with walks in his career, currently with the Dodgers after being drafted twice by the Orioles. Chris Bassitt, a 6-5 24 year old with the White Sox, was an extreme arm side pitcher as a right-hander. He is coming off a strong season where he pitched well in his first taste of AA. Two pitchers that stand out as being pitchers that throw the ball slightly below the middle of the strike zone on average, along with pitching both sides of the plate equally, are Vidal Nuno and Chad Rogers. Nuno is a control specialist that had some success with the Yankees this year while Rogers is a former 28th round pick in 2010 by the Reds. The undersized right-hander was a full time starter in the upper minors for the Reds in 2013 and had a solid year, despite not having flashy peripherals.

Since we are talking about mostly young pitchers trying to refine their stuff and command and make it to the Majors, I thought it might be at least interesting to look at the wildest pitches thrown in the AFL out of the ones tracked by Pitch F/X. I broke the wildest pitches into two graphs, fastballs versus non-fastballs (using MLBAM tags). Then for each graph, I looked at the pitch furthest to the left, the right, and highest and lowest. Here are the "wildest" (not counting intentional balls) fastballs, labelled with actual MLBAM tag:

It is no surprise that Omar Duran had the highest thrown fastball because of what we saw with the first graph. Angel Baez is a 22 year old Royals right-hander that really struggled with command in 8 A+ starts this year. He does have some strikeout potential, but has really failed to put a lot of innings together. Couch is a 24 year old right-hander in the Red Sox system that is actually a control specialist, with not a lot of walks in his career, but not a high strikeout rate either. Ferrara is a left-handed pitcher that really struggled with walks and homers in his first full year in AA.

How about non fastballs?

Simon actually had the two wildest curves to the left. The Phillies' reliever's problem was walks in AA in 2013, it was a lack of strikeouts. Cravy, showing up twice with two different pitches in the graph, was dominant as a reliever in A+ for the Brewers, and if there is a problem, it is strikeouts, not walks. Ramirez, with the Red Sox A+ and AA, was also very good, with no such question about strikeouts for the former 4th round pick.

In general, here were the average pitch locations, regardless of handedness, of each pitch type in the AFL in Pitch F/X games in 2013:

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