Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Inevitable Heat Maps Post
Heat maps! As I am not talented enough to create them using R or any such graphing software, I'll take advantage of Fangraphs latest attempt to get you fired - heat maps.
Heat maps are great way to visualize the relative effectiveness of pitches by location. The awesome dudes at The Process Report use heat maps to show how the Danks Theory worked to foil Shaun Marcum's dastardly change up.
Might clever meddlers like Joe Maddon apply similar witchcraft to neutralize this year's Opening Day starter1 Ricky Romero? Let's look at the usage of Ricky's change up in 2010. The maps are from the perspective of the catcher, with the colours ranging from blue to red. Blue being less frequent, the stronger the colour the more frequent a pitch went to that location. Got it? Got it.
Hrrm. Don't be too surprised if you see Manny get a day off against Romero should the Jays new ace come up against the Rays in 2011. Romero does not show extreme splits between left and right but eliminating his best pitch is a good way to tip the scales.
The transformation of Brandon Morrow upon arrival was more than adjusting his arm angle and attempting to set his head straight. The Jays also expanded Morrow's arsenal by demanding the hard-throwing right-hander use his change up against lefties and increase the use of his curveballs from "none" to "some."
Wow, what a weapon! If Brandon Morrow — he of the high 90s fastball and moderately unfair slider — can work a decent change up over the outside corner to left-handed pitching?? Well, you might just have something there.
Finally and most predictably, here's a look at Marc Rzepczynski from deep inside the tank currently serving as my full time residence.
Based on Rzepczynski's unsightly splits in 2010, I say do less of that. Whatever it is. Please head over to Fangraphs yourself and fart around with this excellent new tool.
1 - Book it. I'm way out there the limb with this bold prediction, I know.