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This was posted by Tom Meagher over at Dodger Thoughts. Essentially, Penny’s fastball has been hard hit so far this year. Something interesting to keep in mind — though I haven’t in the past, I wonder a lot more this year about Russell Martin’s game-calling. Does Martin have access to data of this sort? And with Kuroda getting hammered today (Martin caught him), shouldn’t it be even more of an issue? Given that Kuroda has had limited success so far with Danny Ardoin catching him, is it fair to say Ardoin is making use of data such as this with Kuroda? Do the Dodgers even provide this sort of data to their pitchers and catchers?

I remember there was a discussion on Penny’s pitches in a recent DT thread, and Josh Kalk has just released the 2008 version of his pitch f/x tool (http://tinyurl.com/4ul6sr). So I checked Penny’s numbers. The average NL pitcher this season has 3.79 pitches per batter faced, with 18.7% of pitches batted, 43.4% of pitches strikes (non-batted), and 37.9% of pitches balls. Penny overall has had 1453 pitches, 1293 of which were tracked. Penny’s pitches have been 19.1% batted, 43.3% strikes, and 37.6% balls.On batted balls, the league has a .347 wOBA against with .207 singles per batted ball and a .187 ISO; Penny’s batted balls have had a .351 wOBA, .255 singles/batted ball, and a .137 ISO.

Of the charted pitches, Penny has 67% fastballs, 17% curves, and 16% change-ups.
FB: 37.6% balls, 19.1% batted, .376 battedballwOBA, .259 1b/batted, .162 ISO
CV: 40.6% balls, 16.6% batted, .344 battedballwOBA, .306 1b/batted, .056 ISO
CH: 37.5% balls, 22.6% batted, .267 battedballwOBA, .191 1b/batted, .106 ISO

So the fastball has been hit hard when put into play and the changeup has been pretty effective in generating outs. The Enders hypothesis seems to hold – hitters are either sitting on the fastball or getting very lucky on it (actually, some combination thereof).

Here are the uncharted pitches (11% of his total):
33.8% balls, 18.1% batted, .358 battedballwOBA, .276 1b/batted, .138 ISO

While the fastball has been hit hard, Penny has still been only one run below average on batted balls. What is really concerning is that he’s thrown basically a league average split of balls/strikes/batted balls, but has a szERA (strike zone ERA, an ERA estimator using only K, BB, and BFP, although Tango seems to have renamed it kwERA (for K and Walks)) of 4.97 against the league’s 4.39. Maybe he just hasn’t had the right sequencing, or maybe he just doesn’t have the right stuff to put hitters away.

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