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WaPo: Spin Rates and Buy In


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https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/10/15/magic-dust-spin-rates-buy-in-how-astros-make-good-pitchers-even-better/?utm_term=.c7147bbd04a0

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“it’s the preparation of the [Astros’] analytics department. They tell us what works and what’s not going to work — the percentages, how to set up your mix of pitches, how to attack hitters.”

That may only be part of it, and the Astros will only go so far in explaining the rest, but as a starting point, that will suffice. Pressly’s curveball happens to be the kind of weapon of which an analytics-minded team such as the Astros dreams. According to Statcast, its average spin rate of 3,225 rpm ranked second in baseball this season.

... Pressly was using it relatively sparingly, throwing it just 24.5 percent of all his pitches and leaning heavily on his fastball (48.5 percent). With the Astros, Pressly has dialed up his curve percentage to 37.4 and reduced his fastball usage to 34.6. He has made other changes, as well, since coming to Houston — throwing more sliders in two-strike counts, for example, and elevating his fastball more often — but the drastic change in his overall repertoire is what stands out.

 

“Every team has an analytics department, and this is no knock on the Twins, but seeing the time [the Astros] put in and the scouting reports you’re given, it’s like, ‘Whoa.’ It’s a different level,” Pressly said. “You kind of see, ‘Wow, if I just pitch a little more to this percentage instead of that percentage I can have some better results.’ When I came over here, they were like, ‘Look, your curveball is your best pitch. Everyone tells you your best pitch should be your fastball. But with the amount of spin you have on the ball, you need to throw that more, and it will set up your fastball even more.’ ”

 

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You can go down the line. Nearly every significant pitcher the Astros have acquired in that span has gotten demonstrably and significantly better:

  • Justin Verlander (trade, August 2017). In Detroit: 3.39 ERA, 1.162 WHIP, 8.5 K/9 IP. In Houston: 2.32 ERA, 0.867 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 IP.
  • Gerrit Cole (trade, January 2018). In Pittsburgh: 3.50 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 8.4 K/9 IP. In Houston: 2.88 ERA, 1.033 WHIP, 12.4 K/9 IP.
  • Osuna (trade, July 2018). In Toronto: 2.87 ERA, 0.919 WHIP, 10.2 K/9 IP. In Houston: 1.99 ERA, 0.882 WHIP, 7.5 K/9 IP.
  • Charlie Morton (signed November 2016). With three previous teams: 4.54 ERA, 1.441 WHIP, 6.3 K/9 IP. In Houston: 3.36 ERA, 1.176 WHIP, 10.4 K/9 IP.

I hope the Orioles can get results like these.

I understand the desire for spin rate and the thought process behind it.  But it's not a secret, it's not like this is an under appreciated asset.  However, I am glad that the Orioles are trending this way (at least I assume they are).

I'd like to know, more than anything, how analytics can help guys with command issues.  How can they make improvements?  I look at a guy like Yefry Ramirez who has decent stuff but just can't locate it.  I think there have been way too many pitchers that have come up through our ranks who have decent (not dominant) stuff can't locate.  Aside from spin rate, I am more interested to see what Silas (Sig and Elias) can do to help these guys out.

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1 minute ago, Moose Milligan said:

I hope the Orioles can get results like these.

I understand the desire for spin rate and the thought process behind it.  But it's not a secret, it's not like this is an under appreciated asset.  However, I am glad that the Orioles are trending this way (at least I assume they are).

I'd like to know, more than anything, how analytics can help guys with command issues.  How can they make improvements?  I look at a guy like Yefry Ramirez who has decent stuff but just can't locate it.  I think there have been way too many pitchers that have come up through our ranks who have decent (not dominant) stuff can't locate.  Aside from spin rate, I am more interested to see what Silas (Sig and Elias) can do to help these guys out.

I dunno dawg.

But I mean, I'm game to try and make it a thing if you are.

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16 minutes ago, interloper said:

After the last regime's adherence to the fastball, I for one, am looking forward to our new breaking ball overlords. 

Dylan Bundy might throw that slider/cutter like 45% of the time in 2019. 

It’s by far his most effective pitch, but I do worry about the cumulative effect on his arm of throwing it too often.   

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5 minutes ago, Frobby said:

It’s by far his most effective pitch, but I do worry about the cumulative effect on his arm of throwing it too often.   

Same, but everything about him is worrying haha. The best thing is if he can find a little more movement on the fastball somehow. Or a little more velocity. 

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1 hour ago, interloper said:

After the last regime's adherence to the fastball, I for one, am looking forward to our new breaking ball overlords. 

Dylan Bundy might throw that slider/cutter like 45% of the time in 2019. 

 

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33 minutes ago, interloper said:

Apr_06_2017_00_26_11.gif

That is nasty. I seriously wonder if Dylan Bundy might not become the ace he was supposed to be... this season. No joke. It feels to me like we've messed with every pitcher's mechanics for years, without having the right information. Now, it's possible Elias can make some changes like these and suddenly, boom. We have our ace... the ace that we were supposed to have originally. 

Interestingly, the Astros' instructions didn't say anything about the pitcher's mechanics, just his pitch selection. I'm sure they work on mechanics, too. But this was a simple pitch-selection issue and it made a huge difference. 

This also makes me wonder about the Kevin Gausman trade again, and what we might have just given up (in potential trade value, or just performance on the field next year). 

I'm starting to think it was no coincidence that our "marginal" players kept finding major success the moment they left this organization. 

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4 hours ago, Moose Milligan said:

I hope the Orioles can get results like these.

I understand the desire for spin rate and the thought process behind it.  But it's not a secret, it's not like this is an under appreciated asset.  However, I am glad that the Orioles are trending this way (at least I assume they are).

I'd like to know, more than anything, how analytics can help guys with command issues.  How can they make improvements?  I look at a guy like Yefry Ramirez who has decent stuff but just can't locate it.  I think there have been way too many pitchers that have come up through our ranks who have decent (not dominant) stuff can't locate.  Aside from spin rate, I am more interested to see what Silas (Sig and Elias) can do to help these guys out.

Gotta help those guys change/simplify their approach to help them unlock their potential.

One thing I hope the O's change is lifting organizational philosophies like making everyone pitch from the same damn side of the rubber. Figure out what works for each individual and let them be themselves. 

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4 hours ago, Frobby said:

It’s by far his most effective pitch, but I do worry about the cumulative effect on his arm of throwing it too often.   

That's stinkin' thinkin'. Seriously tho, that's DD and crew thinking the 2 seamer caused harm. But did they have any quantitative evidence of that? Or was it just anecdotal?

Plus, if it's his best pitch it is what it is. :noidea:

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26 minutes ago, scOtt said:

That's stinkin' thinkin'. Seriously tho, that's DD and crew thinking the 2 seamer caused harm. But did they have any quantitative evidence of that? Or was it just anecdotal?

Plus, if it's his best pitch it is what it is. :noidea:

Dan should have been worried about the damage it did to his pitchers' ERA!

It wasn't the 2 seam FB Dan and Co had issues with, it was the Cutter.

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16 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

Dan should have been worried about the damage it did to his pitchers' ERA!

It wasn't the 2 seam FB Dan and Co had issues with, it was the Cutter.

I’m actually glad our whole regime (GM, manager, pitching coach) is gone with respect to the pitchers.    Wasdin, who they did retain (though in a different capacity) seems to be pretty knowledgeable.   I think there is potential to improve the staff significantly with better coaching and yes, analytic information.     

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