Pitch F/X Audit: San Francisco Giants

If there was one thing that the San Francisco Giants did particularly well in 2008, it involved pitching.  Tim Lincecum emerged as one of the best pitchers in the entire sport, and at such a young age, is primed for several more seasons of similar quality.  Matt Cain continued to perform admirably while receiving next to no run support, meaning he has accrued a W-L record of 15-30 over the last two seasons while performing better than just about 80-85% of all National League starters.  Noah Lowry may have missed the season, but Jonathan Sanchez gave Giants fans hope that LinceCain could someday form LinceCainChez.

After these three, well, Barry Zito was… the new definition of Barry Zito.  His FIP of 4.72 was actually lower than the marks in 2006 and 2007, but his walk rate reached an all-time high.  While he never really struck many batters out, he was able to succeed by limiting walks as much as he could.  This year, Zito threw the least amount of pitches in the strike zone, but was one of the worst at inducng swings on pitches out of the zone.  Add it all up and you get a pitcher who couldn’t possibly meet the expectations earned by his monster contract.

The bullpen was anchored by closer Brian Wilson, a flamethrower somewhat prone to the longball, who was hurt by a .336 BABIP.  Kevin Correia pitched both in the rotation and out of the bullpen, and the triumvirate of Tyler Walker, Keichii Yabu, and Jumpin’ Jack Taschner–my nickname for him–performed quite often.  Brian Sabean has already gone out and added Jeremy Affeldt to the mix, who will, in all likelihood, become the team’s closer when Wilson struggles next year.  They are also looking to bring in Joe Beimel, who would be a welcome addition as well, and help solidify a nice pitching staff.  If only they could score…

But anyways, as always, below are the links to the spreadsheets of splits:

Giants vs. LHH/RHH
Giants with/without Baserunners

I’ll let the links speak for themselves, but one thing to note is that the Giants threw A LOT of fastballs.  In fact, only the Mets, Rockies, and Marlins threw a higher percentage of fastballs than the Giants.  Then again, when you have Lincecum, Cain, and Wilson, all of whom have plus fastballs, what else should be expected?

After we hit the ten-team mark with these year-in-reviews, I will post a data dump with everybody, sorted in different situations.  When this is all said and done, we will be able to see which pitchers changed their approach the most in different situations.


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