Pitch F/X Audit: Pittsburgh Pirates

Moving along with our series of years in review, we stop in Pittsburgh, home of fellow StatSpeak writer Brian Cartwright, and of the poor old Pittsburgh Pirates, a team that has seemingly failed at everything they have tried over the last fifteen or so years.  This is the third pitch f/x audit, so I hope the background for these is beginning to get pretty clear.  I am looking at the frequencies in splits for ten prominent pitchers in different situations: vs. LHH/RHH, with runners on vs. bases empty, and splits by inning for the starting pitchers.  Below are the links to the splits:

Pirates Velocity
Pirates Baserunner Split Frequencies
Pirates Batter Handedness Split Frequencies
Pirates Starters Innings Split Frequencies

Overall, the starters used here were Ian Snell, Paul Maholm, Phil Dumatrait, Zach Duke, and Tom Gorzelanny.  The relief corps: John Grabow, Matt Capps, Sean Burnett, Tyler Yates, and Franquelis Osoria.  I apologize if some were missed, but I wanted those with the most playing time.  Yates throws fairly hard, at around 94.5 mph, with Snell next closest at 92 mph, but after that, the velocities and overall frequencies look very, well, average.  Nobody throws particularly hard and nobody has any type of specialty pitch, so it is no wonder why this pitching staff is subpar.

Looking at splits via batter handedness, half the pitchers stayed virtually stagnant while the other half showed significant signs of a different approach.  Snell, Grabow, Yates, Burnett, and Osoria all showed big differences in their fastball usage to lefties as opposed to righties.  In the offspeed departmet, Gorzelanny incorporated more changeups to righties, cutting back on sliders.  Grabow also went from fastball-slider to lefties to fastball-changeup to righties.  The rest of these splits, which are pretty interesting, can be found by clicking the above links.  I don’t want to recap it all here.

Hopefully the hiring of Dan Fox will help Neal Huntington put together a decent group of pitchers, but Pirates fans should not be confident with the starting pitchers they will put out there next season.  Maholm may not be bad, and Snell will definitely regress, but neither are superstars in the making.  As for these audits, after the fifth team or so, I plan on building a database of league leaders so we can truly see which pitchers change their approach or repertoire the most in different circumstances.


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