Rotation effectiveness splits


Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up six runs yesterday, according to the box score. You might think that means he just had a poor outing, but you’d be wrong. One bad inning and a couple of defensive miscues really made that outing look far worse than it actually was. Unfortunately for Dice-K’s ERA, that is not reflected in the official box score.

One of the underutilized splits available on ESPN’s great statistics is pitcher performance by inning/number of pitches. They report batting performance against a pitcher in given situations. This can help tell you when a pitcher is most effective in his starts, and if they are just consistently bad, or just on and off bad.

Take a look at the splits for Matsuzaka:

Innings 1-3    .211/.300/.303
Innings 4-6    .276/.349/.474
Innings 7-9    .212/.246/.364
Pitches 1-15	.277/.382/.354
Pitches 16-30	.217/.340/.301
Pitches 31-45	.172/.200/.276
Pitches 46-60	.266/.344/.506
Pitches 61-75	.241/.310/.392
Pitches 76-90	.298/.359/.464
Pitches 91-105	.222/.325/.417
Pitches 106-120	.282/.282/.462

We see very clearly that he tends to allow a lot of baserunners early, be very tough for a couple of innings, and then struggles in the middle innings. He’s longball prone the second time through the order, and once he gets up past 75 pitches, Matsuzaka allows quite a bit of damage. That’s approximately the third time through the order.

Dice-K was criticized early for not pitching well from the stretch with men on base, but the numbers don’t support that anymore. He seems to bear down very well with men on (.258/.329/.422 with none on, .217/.300/.339 with men on base). He’s actually very good at escaping jams, which will make him an All-Star pitcher for years to come.

Compare Josh Beckett:

Innings 1-3    .239/.279/.388
Innings 4-6    .247/.280/.333
Innings 7-9    .215/.271/.342
Pitches 1-15	.205/.266/.397
Pitches 16-30	.231/.259/.308
Pitches 31-45	.238/.267/.333
Pitches 46-60	.267/.308/.419
Pitches 61-75	.241/.310/.392
Pitches 76-90	.264/.292/.352
Pitches 91-105	.180/.268/.240
Pitches 106-120	.320/.370/.400

It’s often said that Beckett looks like he gets stronger as the game goes on, and this is data to support that notion. We also see that there’s not much sense in pitching Beckett much over 100 pitches. He seems to tire out by then.

Just for info’s sake: Tim Wakefield pitches very much the same through all pitch counts, with the exception of pitches 46-60. For whatever reason hitters are managing to bat .315/.386/.506 in that period. Maybe it has to do with pitch selection the second time he faces hitters? He seems to lose his effectiveness at around 90 pitches.

Curt Schilling starts off fine, but has quickly gotten into trouble, then settles down. From 76-90 pitches, he has really gotten lit up, to the tune of .419/.446/.710 in 62 AB.

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3 Responses to Rotation effectiveness splits

  1. bleedred says:

    Where do you get stat breakdowns like that? I find it hard to backup much of my thoughts and theories about the team with statistical breakdowns. It would be easy if I had my own database of baseball info, but the best I can do usually seems to be what comes of the MLB.com or ESPN.com stat pages.

  2. morrisseyweb says:

    Fantastic analysis – great way to quantify what you’re “feeling” about a particular pitcher.

  3. donchoi says:

    Thanks guys. These particular numbers I got from the ESPN player splits pages; you have to scroll all the way down to the very bottom. I think ESPN has the best stats pages out there. If they just implemented double or triple splits, I’d be in heaven.

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