Last week, Jeff Sullivan presented Ryan Zimmerman’s Miguel Cabrera-esque success against inside pitches. Ryan Zimmerman doesn’t mind fastballs in general. According to his Brooks Player Card, he is a career .295 and .310 hitter against Fourseams and Sinkers/Two-seamers respectively. BABIP, .ISO, HR/FB+LD, Whiff/Swings — any way you look at it — Ryan Zimmerman is at his best versus fastballs.
So on April 8th, Ryan Zimmerman did this:
When reviewing deGrom’s first start, I called this a mistake. I did not mean that deGrom made a location mistake. It was pinpoint to where Travis d’Arnaud set up. The call for that location was the mistake. Zimmerman looked as though he was waiting for anything straight inside, and on a 1-1 count, he received just that and pounced.
Again, Zimmerman “looked as though he was waiting” for a fastball. He saw nine pitches from deGrom and swung four times. He saw seven strikes total. The four pitches he swung at were the most distinguishable pitches from deGrom’s mean release point consistency that Zimmerman saw. His homer was off the 14th most distinguishable pitch from deGrom that game.
deGrom was remarkably consistent in release point last year. He was 7th overall using 70IP as a qualifier with a mean in-game release point consistency RMSE of 1.21 (the lower the better). Sleeper turning stud, Shane Greene finished just under him: The Importance of Release Point Consistency (FG+ Required).
In deGrom’s first start of 2015, he was even more consistent: RMSE = 1.15.
I said it in my last post, and I will say it again: Matt Harvey attacks the zone with impact and obvious velocity. deGrom attacks with surprising velocity, command and deceptively consistent release points.
deGrom’s command has been very good so far (top 25 zone%; top 11 f-str% for pitchers over 10 IP). His velocity is on (6th best vFA (pfx)). The Fourseamer isn’t inducing the same swing-and-miss stuff, but it will in conjunction with the Changeup.
The best you can do against him is look for a distinguishable fastball and hope it’s of the sinking kind. So far, that’s what hitters look like they are doing. They are swinging at it 60% of the time as hitters continue focusing down. They have a .500 BA and .286 ISO against his Two-seamers relative to a .125 BA and .083 ISO against his Fourseamers. Ryan Zimmerman is our best example so far.
Hopefully, deGrom will pump up a few more Harvey-high Fastballs and outperform his 2014.
Daniel Schwartz contributes for RotoGraphs when he's not selling industry leading thermal packaging. You can follow him on twitter @RotoBanter