Thursday, April 10, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka: Start Two

Masahiro Tanaka followed up his solid debut with the New York Yankees with a strong second start, throwing seven innings and striking out ten, walking just one, and giving up three runs to the Baltimore Orioles. There was a key difference in the start; he didn't get grounders.

Like last time, let's look at the home run at-bat first:

The whole graph is the strike zone, and the splitter (notice how MLBAM has fixed the tags by calling it a splitter instead of a changeup) is what was hit for a home run. The slider was actually called a ball despite being in the traditional strike zone, though clearly no one wants to throw a slider there. Now, let's look at how he pitched the same batter (Jonathan Schoop later in the game (both at-bats), with the results as the labels this time.

You can see that Tanaka was able to lower his pitches the next two times he faced him, though he worked both sides of the plate. While we are on the subject of location, here is where he located his pitches on average (using MLBAM tags).

The MLBAM tags have changed all of his 2-seamers and cutters to sinkers, which I don't think is right, though he kept it arm side like a 2-seamer. His slider control was horrible, as he couldn't even get it glove side enough to be in the strike zone on average. His curve also stayed high and arm side, though his fastball was glove side and in a decent spot. His splitter remained low, with the home run a big exception. When looking at his pitch selection via the spin and speed chart, we see that he really didn't use the slider much, perhaps because he was struggling so much to locate it:

Here is what Masahiro Tanaka's release points looked like from a relatively normal view:

Just for curiousity's sake, I wanted to look at a closer view of the release points labelled with the MLBAM tags:

Going back to location, I wanted to look at all of his pitches, labelled with the results:

For a cleaner look, here are the average locations of the results:

Tanaka also pitched extremely away from left-handers, but kept the ball away from right-handers as well, as this average location graph shows:

Lastly, let's look at how Tanaka pitched by count:

It seems that you can see a general trend of him staying extremely arm side with no strikes in the count, and going glove side with two strikes.

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