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jup

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So I watched Civale pitch 4 innings yesterday and was once again struck by the attack that he uses. It is so similar to Bauer’s. And their repertoire also. Thought of Derek and an exchange we had early on, on the board. Thought I would take the time to throw something up on a thread.

Berto did the bulk of the pitch calling and sequencing, and is excellent at using this strategy from his days of learning it while catching Bauer. I won’t try to get to detailed on this pass, but will try and look from a 30 thousand foot level first.

The theory, which dates to Perry Husband back in the early 2000’s goes kind of like this.


You bring hitters to a middle speed so you can beat them faster or slower.


This can be done by throwing the bulk of your pitches in the middle speeds (SL, Cut, CH) or throwing on either side of the middle with fast (FB) and slow (CB) only “trapping” the hitters timing in between.


Hitters have to get a feel for their timing by facing a pitcher. And they get that feel from the velos of the predominance of his pitches. So if you throw everything 85 that is what they adjust to. As you often see, hitters will have trouble early against a soft tossing starter (Josh Tomlin), before they adjust and “slow their bats down”. Vice versa, you throw everything 100, and sooner or later they adjust and hit that also (by cheating to the ball – ie starting early). So as the strategy goes - you want the hitter to adjust to a middle speed in your repertoire Not the fastest or slowest.


Here we have Civale’s pitch distribution for his first start.







43.4% of his pitches were in the slowest (CB) or Fastest (4s) category. The other 66.6% (SL, CH, Cut) were middle speed. And can be visually seen in between the yellow lines in the cross hatched area below.







And what becomes pretty clear, pretty quickly, from a visual stand point, is the fast and slow pitch distribution as we go along the timeline of the game.


When we add in break points between at bats, it becomes even more apparent how Fast/Slow are used and distributed.







Early at bats were predominately middle speed (4 hitters) as the other guys in the lineup are watching and getting reports from the guys that have been to the plate.

Then you see middle speed pitches with a single occurrence of fast/slow coupled. And then later on you see some at bats with only fast and slow as the hitters have been drawn to the middle already.






You bring the hitters to middle speeds, then you beat them at both ends (fast and slow). But you have to have a repertoire suited to be able to do that (will take another post) and Civale has one. And his catcher understands the concept well as Bauer (the guy who has used it since college) spent many days with Berto.
 

CDAV45

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I'm dumbfounded by the surprise with Civale's success. Looking at his minor league numbers it's nothing new, and I think those minor injuries that slowed his accent may have taken him out of the "spotlight"......so to speak. I'm not ashamed to admit that I've developed a favor for SP's that don't walk many. The Indians have a knack of finding/developing them. Thing is, they can strike batters out also. The only one that lacks the ability to K many hitters is Plutko, but because he doesn't walk many either can be effective as displayed yesterday.
 
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The percentage of "middle speed" pitches should be 56.6%, not 66.6%. But otherwise, that was really interesting.

I always thought pitchers approached each hitter individually and threw the sequence of pitches they thought would work best in that at-bat based on the hitter's vulnerabilities. The idea is to get that hitter out with no consideration to other hitters coming up. I didn't know starters would have a plan to pitch everybody a certain way early and a different way later.

I recall Kluber was asked if he would pitch a batter a certain way in order to set him up for the next time that hitter came up. For example, throw mostly breaking balls away to set him up for fastballs inside later. Kluber said no, it's too hard to get big league hitters out and if you mess around with them you may not see them again. Kluber said he just tries to get the hitter out this time and worries about his next at-bat when (and if) it happens.

Maybe Civale (and Bauer) have a different approach. It seems dangerous, however, to throw mostly middle speed stuff in the first couple of at-bats so you can work the fast/slow later in the game. If the hitter is synched to middle speed and you're throwing middle speed you may not make it to the 6th or 7th inning. It's working for Civale, though, you can't argue that.
 

LL3

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Thanks for making the effort! Good/interesting material...
 

jup

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The percentage of "middle speed" pitches should be 56.6%, not 66.6%. But otherwise, that was really interesting.

I always thought pitchers approached each hitter individually and threw the sequence of pitches they thought would work best in that at-bat based on the hitter's vulnerabilities. The idea is to get that hitter out with no consideration to other hitters coming up. I didn't know starters would have a plan to pitch everybody a certain way early and a different way later.

I recall Kluber was asked if he would pitch a batter a certain way in order to set him up for the next time that hitter came up. For example, throw mostly breaking balls away to set him up for fastballs inside later. Kluber said no, it's too hard to get big league hitters out and if you mess around with them you may not see them again. Kluber said he just tries to get the hitter out this time and worries about his next at-bat when (and if) it happens.

Maybe Civale (and Bauer) have a different approach. It seems dangerous, however, to throw mostly middle speed stuff in the first couple of at-bats so you can work the fast/slow later in the game. If the hitter is synched to middle speed and you're throwing middle speed you may not make it to the 6th or 7th inning. It's working for Civale, though, you can't argue that.
No this doesn't happen exactly the way you portray it - trying to get a hitter out in a future at bat during this at bat

Pitchers have a frame work they work from, that governs the choices they make in this at bat right now. The framework they work from can be seen from examining their past results. No different than looking at past 2 strike counts to get an idea what the pitcher may throw in that count.

So a pitcher develops an arsenal of pitches - why do they learn to throw pitch A versus pitch B, or learn how to throw any other pitches besides what they already know. They then have to deploy those pitches in certain situations and counts. Why do they choose pitch A versus B. Mostly because pitch A seems to be more effective than pitch B from their experience or watching others on the field. But their is a reason pitch A is more effective, and that is what gets distilled down when pitching nerds that work in the industry study pitching and develop theories about it. That is what I posted about above.

It is an explanation for results based on theory derived from results and testing. And a whole bunch of that testing/analyzing can be attributed to Perry Husband. Few pitchers start from theory and develop their pitching from there. Almost all learn young, have strengths and weaknesses that naturally guide them certain directions and then are helped by either mimicking (and this is used A TON) or coaching. Most with few exceptions have no clue of any unifying concepts behind what they do (Bauer being an obvious exception). They know what works experientially and have trouble altering their plan because of that.

So Berto knows what to call in certain situations because he has experience on the field seeing what works. Does he have any idea there is a theory behind that - I doubt it. Civale had certain pitches in his arsenal, used them certain ways based on success in the past and was helped at some point to use the mix of them in somewhat of a different way. Not sure if that was Rueben (Niebla) or whom, but most likely Rueben (as he is the guy who picked Bauers brain most during his time with the Indians) was the guy that suggested certain tweaks to some of what Civale did along his ascent to the big leagues. Does Civale know what he does from a theoretical sense, maybe, but I doubt it. Does he mimic what he has seen other pitchers do, most definitely. And it really doesn't matter where it comes from because he has been damn effective on the field and that is what baseball teams care about. But that doesn't mean his pitching doesn't fit a pattern, a pattern with a lot of evidence that suggests how and why it works. Just like no one disputes 100mph FB work. We have all seen to much evidence of that for it not to be widely accepted.

I suspect Civale pitches from experience not theory, but not knowing him directly I can't say I know. Does his pitching fit a pattern - most definitely. Does that pattern have a history and explanation for success - most definitely. Is it a hard pattern for hitters to break the code of - absolutely. And that bodes well for Civale's long term prospects as a pitcher.
 
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jup

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I will throw some posts up on different aspects of what he does (consciously or not from a theory standpoint) at some point. :cool:
 
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OK, but in your first post it sounded like you were saying Civale/Berto deliberately threw more middle speed pitches early to condition hitters to swing at middle speed pitches, which is what the theory demands, and then switched to almost exclusively fast or slow pitches in later at-bats. The Perry Husband approach. You put up charts to demonstrate that's what they were doing.

Now you're saying Civale was pitching from "experience not theory" and you doubt he has "any idea there is a theory behind that." So he's following the theory without knowing he's doing it? Heck, is Civale even calling any of the pitches? Or is Berto calling them? Or someone in the dugout? I frequently see Indians catchers looking into the dugout before every pitch.

While I'm at it, here's another question. I always see Roberto and other catchers staring intently up at the hitter just before the pitch is delivered. I assumed it was to see if the hitter was altering his stance or his hand placement in some way to offer a clue as to what pitch he was expecting, but I see catchers doing that even after giving the sign. What are they looking for?
 

jup

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OK, but in your first post it sounded like you were saying Civale/Berto deliberately threw more middle speed pitches early to condition hitters to swing at middle speed pitches, which is what the theory demands, and then switched to almost exclusively fast or slow pitches in later at-bats. The Perry Husband approach. You put up charts to demonstrate that's what they were doing.

Now you're saying Civale was pitching from "experience not theory" and you doubt he has "any idea there is a theory behind that." So he's following the theory without knowing he's doing it? Heck, is Civale even calling any of the pitches? Or is Berto calling them? Or someone in the dugout? I frequently see Indians catchers looking into the dugout before every pitch.

While I'm at it, here's another question. I always see Roberto and other catchers staring intently up at the hitter just before the pitch is delivered. I assumed it was to see if the hitter was altering his stance or his hand placement in some way to offer a clue as to what pitch he was expecting, but I see catchers doing that even after giving the sign. What are they looking for?
All pitchers have approaches and most things are experientially driven. Doesn't mean they don't fit an explanation by something else other than experience.

You eat because you are hungry even if you don't know all the science behind why you do. Does that invalidate the explanation for why you eat because the eating is experientially driven not theoretical ?

Civale's FB is just not outstanding. So you have a good FB hitting team and you go to the plate with one of your poorer offerings ?????? That doesn't make sense.

Ask yourself why pitchers throw CH's ? => maybe to keep hitters off adjusting solely to their FB speed ?

So Civale's cutter is his absolute workhorse pitch and I was going to throw something up on it since it is what makes his entire arsenal go. But a cutter is like a left hand CH for RH pitchers. And if your FB isn't outstanding (92-93ish - which is just about the major league average for starters) and you would be throwing right into the hitters bat speed to start out the game, you might just want to use a different pitch before your FB is seen sailing over the centerfield wall.

Maybe a pitch like a cutter which is a little slower and is VERY HARD to distinguish from a FB (since the actual name for a Cutter is Cut FB) to start out. That way you stand a chance to not get obliterated in the first inning. Does that mean it doesn't slow their bats down to middle speed - NO. Is slowing their bats down why Civale did it - most likely not. He is out their competing for his life as a pitcher. But that doesn't change the facts about why it is effective.

On the fast and slow - there are two ways to trap bats at middle speeds. Throw a whole bunch of middle speed pitches OR

Throw faster and slower alternating in some fashion so the hitter can't swing FB because he could get a CB (and be way out front), and he can't sit CB because he might get FB (and swing when the ball is already in the glove). So the net effect is the hitter is late on FB and early on CB, which is the definition of being trapped in between.

Now if you have been throwing a whole bunch of middle speed pitches to try and keep hitters from whacking your FB, and you think they MIGHT BE CATCHING ON to what you are up to, it just might be wise to change things up a bit. And since they have started sitting middle speeds, you can now beat them with a less than stellar FB because they have adjusted to SLOWER, and you can still beat them slower, because compared to CB, their bats are still adjusted to a faster middle speed pitch. HOWEVER, you are still able to keep them stuck right where you want them by alternating fast and slow since they are still going to be late on FB and early on CB and can't sit either side speed wise.

Does that mean that you went to page 42 of a book and found that after 3 innings of pitches you are to switch from middle speed to alternating slower/faster ??? NO Berto and Civale both know that if you throw the same thing to often even hitters get smart.

And yes, catchers look for little clues about how the very last pitch affected the hitter. Because in the hitter's "minds eye" the very last pitch he saw has the most influence on his next decision to swing or not and what he expects the next pitch to be.

You have to be able to hold that what is happening on the field of play may not happen because of a pitching strategy, but will reveal the strategy that can be put into a unified form versus 100 different explanations that would govern each and every pitch. You are conflating the two and/or looking at them as mutually exclusive of one another. And that just isn't the way things happen
 

Tondo

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Jup tooting Trevor's horn. Different board, same song.

In every other line of work, being more successful at something with less theory behind it equates to better "natural" talent, but the Trevor the tutor mantra has to be defended at all cost, even performance and facts. Bauer and Jup are the equivalent to alternative facts.

Loved the Clevinger sick burn tweet. Excellent. Probably the QAnon theory is that T. Bauer is deliberately keeping his ERA in the middle at 4, so that he can go bezerk in his mid 30s. Playing the long game. So smart, so much theory. What a genius.
 

jup

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Jup tooting Trevor's horn. Different board, same song.

In every other line of work, being more successful at something with less theory behind it equates to better talent, but the Trevor the tutor mantra has to be defended at all cost, even performance and facts. Bauer and Jup are the equivalent to alternative facts.

Loved the Clevinger sick burn tweet. Excellent. Probably the QAnon theory is that T. Bauer is deliberately keeping his ERA in the middle at 4, so that he can go bezerk in his mid 30s. What a genius.
Hi Tondo, was wondering if you were over.

Know you are mostly usually on the minor league side (with excellent expertise and all due respect), and it is good to see your name pop up.

Have you seen DAWG ???
 

Tondo

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Oh, sorry to bother your Harvard lecture on stable genius Bauer with my kindergarden theory that a 2.4 ERA, 1.07 WHIP is better than a 4.03 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, especially coming from a 4.5 years younger pitcher. But since he has no clue what he's doing and "is out there competing for his life as a pitcher", it's just beginners luck, because he can't be a wunderkind, right? That's verboten. Not with an avg FB, so that can't be real.

Classic mind over matter doctrine. Since he doesn't know what/how he's doing it, he can't be doing it right.
 

Derek

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Oh, sorry to bother your Harvard lecture on stable genius Bauer with my kindergarden theory that a 2.4 ERA, 1.07 WHIP is better than a 4.03 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, especially coming from a 4.5 years younger pitcher. But since he has no clue what he's doing and "is out there competing for his life as a pitcher", it's just beginners luck, because he can't be a wunderkind, right? That's verboten. Not with an avg FB, so that can't be real.

Classic mind over matter doctrine. Since he doesn't know what/how he's doing it, he can't be doing it right.
Will you please give it a rest?

You're being confrontational for no reason.
 

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