Attack Of The Sliders, Part 2: Hitters Who Are Hanging, And Then Some

When I last left you, I spoke about how sliders are taking the game by storm. We’re witnessing the biggest year-over-year jump in the pitch being thrown in more than a decade and the reasons are pretty cut and dry. They get more swings and misses than any other common breaker, and, considering the rate at which the ball is flying out of the park, pitchers are incentivized to optimize for strikeouts more than ever. As if it were baseball’s form of natural selection, some hitters are handling it better than others. Jonathan Schoop, Leonys Martín, Corey Seager, Ozzie Albies,…

Attack Of The Sliders, Part 1: Struggling Hitters

The most recent advent of baseball has brought with it a fervor for sliders across the league. Others have written about it — Matthew Trueblood wrote last September that pitchers were choosing sliders over sinkers, while just recently Eno Sarris noted that it’s more severe now when examining the struggles of Bryce Harper. It’s true. We’re on track to witness the largest year-over-year jump in sliders since 2010-11. They’re now accounting for 18% of all pitches and the league is on pace for about 8,000 more sliders thrown than last season. If we were talking about White Castle sliders, you’d…

The Reds Pitching Staff Is On A New Level: Atop Baseball

The nature of change often makes it seem as though it’s happened overnight. We aren’t particularly good at seeing the tiny, consistent changes that build up over time when it comes to seeing it in others. We aren’t particularly patient enough to enforce those same tiny, consistent tweaks when we attempt to change ourselves. And beyond that, it’s more fun to subscribe to the idea that someone went to bed one night one way, and then woke up the next day completely different. It’s conveniently inspiring and hopeful. Nonetheless, real change happens with quiet commitment. The Cincinnati Reds pitching staff…

Quick Hits: Jacob deGrom and Sam Gaviglio Have Changed Their Pitch Mix

I’ve got more ideas for pieces than I might have ever had, but I’m also in the midst of moving. I can’t flesh out all of them at this moment, but below are some worthwhile tidbits for you to enjoy. *** Sam Gaviglio is working out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays this year and it’s going really well. He’s one of only 20 relievers to register at least 10 innings pitched so far — 305 have recorded outs, per FanGraphs — and there’s good reason. He has a 26% K-rate and a 21.4 K-BB rate. The only other…

The One Stable Stat We Have Is Telling Us About Potential Breakouts Already Happening

Welcome to the start of the 2019 season. We’ve got some interesting stuff going on already! The Yankees are missing an entire starting roster due to injuries. Christian Yelich is so hot at the plate that he might actually spontaneously combust. Tim Beckham is your fourth-best player in the entire league. Things have been wild! By and large, they also don’t — and can’t — mean much because the sample size is so small. Almost. Thanks to work by Rob Arthur, we know a single batted ball in the air can be predictive. Basically, the idea is that a single…

Brad Peacock Might Finally Have An Answer For Lefthanded Hitters

Brad Peacock has been a lot of things in his career. A near-afterthought as a draft pick, a top-50 prospect, a starter with an unsightly walk rate, injured with bone spurs near his spine, a nifty reliever, a great swingman…they’re all apt descriptions of the various phases he’s experienced. This year, he’s back in the rotation for the Astros as they’re primed for another season of success. Whether in an upswing or a downturn, though, lefty hitters have always been a bugaboo for him. He came into 2019 sporting a wOBA against lefthanded hitters that was 29% worse than the…

“Player development doesn’t stop”: Sam Fuld on how sneaky hard it is to become a better player

This winter, I had a conversation with Sam Fuld, who is currently the Major League Player Information Coordinator with the Phillies. He was on his way back from a Type-1 diabetes camp he runs in partnership with the University of South Florida, and prepping for spring training. We talked about everything baseball from how he wished he kept it simpler in his playing career to finding better ways to practice to using different pitcher types as models for defensive positioning. But one part of the conversation keeps floating to the forefront of my mind. Every year, we’re treated to players…