Thursday, September 16, 2010
Well That was Exhilarating
Maybe not quite exhilarating, but it was certainly something. Working quickly, Kyle Drabek at least made some friends in the press box. Though he was thoroughly "outpitched" by Brad Bergesen and got hit pretty hard (it seemed), there is a lot to be excited about when number 4 takes the hill.
Enough exposition; make with the colored dots, monkey! (click to enlarge)
Before I get started, I should note that these are the pitch f/x designations. During the broadcast (h/t Mop Up Duty) the pitch described below as a slider was outed as a cutter. You could then assume what I have labelled as a cutter is a four-seam fastball, making the final fastball a two-seamer. Let's just work with what we've got, yeah?
I'll be honest, I'm quite surprised the difference between the curve and "slider" is so pronounced. The curve is thrown hard and breaks dramatically, while the slutter breaks enough to confuse everybody (myself included.) The little-used change up is a "work in progress" as described by Bruce Walton.
If my willy nilly circles are to be believed, it looks like Drabek goes to his fastballs a lot. And so he should, if he's rushing two different-style fastballs up there at the same speed. Most Drabek scouting reports tout his "late life" and some of the chatter on Twitter confirmed this. The Pitch F/X algorithm didn't view the pitch as a two seam fastball but it takes time to get a grasp on pitchers.
How about a look at the strike zone? Swinging strikes make the grass grow.
Again, these are the automatically generated pitch types. What you can see is that Drabek does have the ability to throw that nasty curve for strikes. Always a good thing, especially when you're throwing a pitch nobody really has a hope against. The slutter gets tonnes of whiffs too. Never a bad thing, two bat missing pitches.
Good to see that the bulk of the offspeed stuff is down in the zone. Drabek did a great job getting the Orioles to keep the ball on the ground (11 grounders on the night) though they certainly found their share of holes (9 hits on 18 balls in play.)
Overall, a pretty successful nights work. Maybe the Orioles took advantage of the first-time starter wanting to get ahead by swinging early in the count, but the skills are clearly there. I don't think many of us could ask for much more.
Data via Brooks Baseball, image from TV Addict.