Pitch Mix Changes: Duffy, Bundy, Gibson, & Fried

Hey everyone! Before we get started on pitch mix changes I figured I would introduce myself since this is my first article on Fangraphs. When I learned I would be writing for Fangraphs it felt like I had just won the lotto. As people would say these days, my mind was blown. For those who don’t know me, you can mainly see my work on my own blog and I am extremely active on twitter. I have an obsession with pitching, am a Mets fan (unfortunately), and my favorite pitcher in today’s game is, of course, Jacob deGrom. The baseball community is the best in the world and I couldn’t be more excited for this new adventure!

In this shortened season we sadly won’t be able to rely on a ton of metrics when analyzing pitchers. The sample size just won’t be big enough, but one factor that could be telling is pitch mix. We have seen numerous pitchers suddenly lean on different pitches, creating a significant difference in their performance (looking at you Patrick Corbin). Below are four pitchers who appear to be changing things up for the 2020 season. The question is, what does this mean for their future?

Danny Duffy

Danny Duffy
Pitch Type 2019 Usage 2020 Usage Difference
Fourseam 44.8% 40.5% -4.3%
Slider 26.4% 14.8% -11.6%
Changeup 11.6% 15.4% 3.8%
Curveball 9.0% 13.6% 4.6%
Sinker 8.2% 15.7% 7.5%

Danny Duffy came into 2020 with the mindset of keeping a pitch mix change he made towards the end of last season. In July and September (hurt in August) of 2019, Duffy started to get comfortable with his changeup. Most notably in September, he threw his changeup over 20% of the time, the first time he did that all season. In that month he threw for 30.1 innings while producing an impressive 2.37 ERA and 3.61 FIP.

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Hitter FB% Decliners — 8/11/20

Yesterday, I identified and discussed the hitters who have increased their FB% by at least 10% compared to last season. That’s a good thing for the hitters’ home run potential, assuming all their other metrics remain stable. Today, we’ll look at the decliners, those hitters whose FB% marks have fallen the most versus last season. While this might raise their BABIP expectations, it’s bad news for their home run potential, unless their FB% reverts back to previous levels.

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The Daily Overlay: Bad Porcello

We have a 12 game slate on DraftKings for Tuesday! Don’t forget to check your lineups before lock. Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: August 11, 2020

The 2020 version of Bullpen Report includes six different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

  1. Notable Workloads: Primary closers or valuable members of a closer committee who have been deemed unavailable or likely unavailable for the current day due to recent workload.
  2. Injury News 
  3. Outlier Saves: Explanation for a non-closer earning a save during the previous day.
  4. Committee Clarity: Notes on a closer committee that clarify a pitcher’s standing in the group.
  5. Losing A Grip: Struggling closers who could be on the hot seat.
  6. Reliever On The Rise: Non-closer who is quickly moving up the depth chart based on potential and recent performance.

The “RosterResource” link will take you to the corresponding team’s RosterResource depth chart, which will give you a better picture of the full bullpen and results of the previous six days (pitch count, save, hold, win, loss, blown save.)

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Mining the News (8/10/20)

American League

Angels

• A simplified swing may have rejuvenated Max Stassi’s career.

“I feel a lot better after my hip surgery I had in the fall,” Stassi said. “My routine is totally different. Mindset, gameplan, everything is a lot better. Obviously, a lot more confidence.”

Stassi had previous experience with assistant hitting coach John Mallee from their time together with the Astros and said he worked hard with fellow hitting coaches Jeremy Reed and Paul Sorrento to simplify his swing.

“The short version would be I’m hunched over a little more over the plate,” Stassi said. “Kind of a posture thing, so I’m able to get into my back hip and keep my posture level, versus getting too uphill. My lead arm is now down, so I can work directly towards the ball. And then, I’m just trying to rotate as much as I can.”

The big improvement so far with Stassi is his contact rate jumping from 68% to 75%. The improvement has helped halve his strikeout rate from 33% to 16% and improve everything else. For his career, he has a .640 OPS but it is up to 1.096 this season.
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Randy Dobnak, Probable Great American Hero

It’s easy to dismiss Randy Dobnak, to turn him into a punchline. When 99.99% of baseball fans were introduced to Dobby last fall, they learned two things:

  1. When he wasn’t pitching, he worked part-time as a ride-share driver to help pay the bills (an altogether separate indictment of MLB and its broad moral shortcomings), and
  2. He has a handlebar mustache.

That’s just enough, but also plenty, to undercut a grown man’s legitimacy. It’s this very illegitimizing, I hypothesize, that has allowed Dobnak to fly under fantasy radars, even as he demonstrates nonzero aptitude on the mound.

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Hitter FB% Surgers — 8/10/20

Besides earning more playing time, there are only three skills-based methods to hitting more home runs — striking out less frequently, which means more balls put into play, hitting more fly balls, which means more chances for a batted ball to jump over the wall, and hitting a higher rate of those fly balls over the wall, which is represented by HR/FB rate. Of the three, the middle skill of hitting more fly balls is possibly the ideal skill you want to see from your early season home run surge. That’s because batted ball type distribution is more of an approach or decision by the hitter rather than an actual improvement in talent. We need a much larger sample to determine if talent has changed, but a hitter could seemingly wake up one day and decide he wants to uppercut the ball more in an effort to hit for more power. You can’t decide to strike out less or hit more fly balls over the well, though I’m sure all hitters wish they could!

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The Daily Overlay: Back From The IL

We have a 9 game slate on DraftKings for Monday! Don’t forget to check your lineups before lock.

 

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Roto Riteup: August 10, 2020

2020 in a nutshell:

 

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Bullpen Report: August 10, 2020

The 2020 version of Bullpen Report includes six different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

  1. Notable Workloads: Primary closers or valuable members of a closer committee who have been deemed unavailable or likely unavailable for the current day due to recent workload.
  2. Injury News 
  3. Outlier Saves: Explanation for a non-closer earning a save during the previous day.
  4. Committee Clarity: Notes on a closer committee that clarify a pitcher’s standing in the group.
  5. Losing A Grip: Struggling closers who could be on the hot seat.
  6. Reliever On The Rise: Non-closer who is quickly moving up the depth chart based on potential and recent performance.

The “RosterResource” link will take you to the corresponding team’s RosterResource depth chart, which will give you a better picture of the full bullpen and results of the previous six days (pitch count, save, hold, win, loss, blown save.)

Read the rest of this entry »