April 24, 2009
A Quick PitchF/X Look at Derek Holland's MLB Debut
By my count (which involved recategorizing two of 42 pitches), Derek Holland threw 37 fastballs, four sliders, and one changeup. Here's their speeds:
Yes, Holland can bring the heat. What I found interesting is that, beginning with the last pitch of the 7th inning, he didn't throw quite so hard. Whether due to early adrenaline or a late focus on command versus speed or just happenstance, the difference is real. Of his first 17 fastballs, all but three reached 95 or better. Of his last 20, all but three were below 95.
First 17 FBs
Last 20 FBs
The preceding chart is from the point of view of the catcher. Also, I've flipped the horizontal readings on lefthanded batters such that outside pitches are always to the right, inside to the left. The smaller box is the official strike zone (averaged for the varying heights of the opposing batters), and the larger one is 2.8 inches wider, the approximately width of the baseball. Splitting the wider zone into thirds, here's where Holland's pitches crossed the plate:
|Horizontal Location||# of Pitches|
|Vertical Location||# of Pitches|
Holland almost never pitched inside, regardless of the batter's handedness, and usually worked high in the strike zone. That many high pitches isn't favorable, unless, of course, the pitcher can hit 95 with movement and mix in a slider.
The plate ump was occasionally generous, once granting a strike on a pitch four inches outside the most liberal interpretation of the strike zone:
And, here's the location of Holland's slider that Aaron Hill waved at helplessly:
Posted by Lucas at April 24, 2009 12:19 AM