Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Love Affair With Fast Fastballs and Strikeouts...and the Twins

The Twins have changed their philosophy regarding pitching and it seems that they are now targeting power arms.  In this blog I’ll be comparing the fastball velocity of pitchers who started games for the Twins last season (and remain on the team) and the pitchers they acquired in the 2013 offseason.  Like I said, I’m a velocity whore.

The average velocity of the pitchers from last year come courtesy of Brooks Baseball pitch f/x and stats come from Baseball Reference.

Scott Diamond:
4.7 K/9 in 27 GS-3.54 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 89.89 MPH

Nick Blackburn:
3.8 K/9 in 19 GS-7.39 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 91.91 MPH

Cole DeVries:
6.0 K/9 in 16 GS (17 G)-4.11 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 90.58 MPH

Liam Hendriks:
5.3 K/9 in 16 GS-5.59 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 91.16 MPH

Sam Deduno:
6.5 K/9 in 15 GS-4.44 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 91.09 MPH

Brian Duensing:
5.7 K/9 in 11 GS (55 G)-5.12 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 92.28

Anthony Swarzak: 
5.8 K/9 in 5 GS (44 G)-5.03 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 92.0 MPH

P.J. Walters:
6.1 K/9 in 12 GS-5.69 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 88.94 MPH

Now here is the new pitchers in the projected rotation provided by MLB Depth Charts:

Vance Worley: 
7.2 K/9 in 23 GS-4.20 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 90.75

Kevin Correia:
4.7 K/9 in 28 GS (32 G)-4.21 ERA
Average FB Velocity: 90.67

Mike Pelfrey:
5.9 K/9 in 3 GS-2.29 ERA (Recovering from Tommy John Surgery)
Average FB Velocity: 93.37 MPH

Here are some of the pitchers the Twins will count on to turn around the club.  

Kyle Gibson: 
10.5 K/9 in 11 GS (13 G)-4.13 ERA (all appearances in minors)
Average FB Velocity: 93.54 MPH

Alex Meyer: 
9.7 K/9 in 25 GS-2.86 ERA (all appearances in minors)
Average FB Velocity: 99.1 MPH (Small Sample Size as only four fastballs were taken into account, but still that’s GAS!)

Trevor May: 
9.1 K/9 in 28 GS-4.87 ERA (all appearances in minors)
Average FB Velocity: Unavailable on Brooks Baseball.  Baseball America says his fastball is in the 91-95 MPH range.  That’s about a 65 on the scouts 20-80 scouting scale.

J.O. Berrios:
14.1 K/9 in 4 GS (11 G)-1.17 ERA (all appearances in minors)
Average FB Velocity: Same problem as May.  Baseball America says his fastball sits in the 93-95 MPH range.

So by looking at the some of the pitchers the Twins have coming up and the additions to the rotation, it appears they have added arm strength and can look to improve on their on their 5.9 K/9 as a team in 2012.  Just for fun and because I think strikeouts are key to having an effective pitching staff, here are the K/9 for all 10 playoff teams of last season.

American League
Baltimore Orioles: 7.1 K/9
New York Yankees: 8.2 K/9
Detroit Tigers: 8.3 K/9
Oakland Athletics: 7.0 K/9
Texas Rangers: 8.0 K/9

National League
Washington Nationals: 8.1 K/9
Atlanta Braves: 7.7 K/9
Cincinnati Reds: 7.7 K/9
St. Louis Cardinals: 7.5 K/9
San Francisco Giants: 7.7 K/9

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