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If you take away Hand's meltdown where he gave up 3 earned runs in one-third of an inning the Tribe's bullpen has allowed two runs in 33.1 innings for an ERA of 0.54.

Crazy numbers.
 
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Civale continues to get little to no run support. This has been going on since last year. In his 13 career starts the Indians scored 36 runs, or 2.8 runs per start. Take away one start where they scored 11 and it's 25 runs in 12 starts.

In the seven Civale starts that the Indians lost they've scored a total of six runs and were shut out four times. Five of his six losses were by scores of 2-0, 3-1, 2-0, 1-0, and 3-2.

With a career 2.47 ERA he should have a better record than 4-6. I have to expect it will even out at some point, but up until now the lack of run support has been astonishing.
 

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There has been some talk about how FB usage league wide is on the decline. The new modern wave of pitchers starting to affect the aggregate stats of the league as a whole.

Used to be, as recent as Mickey's days in Cleveland, that FB% needed to be up around 60%. to 65%. Was a big point of contention between him and a certain pitcher on staff. But as the years have gone by and the staff has changed and reevaluated, you will see all Cleveland pitchers moving towards a "lower FB%" mix.



Here is Civale's latest start. Down at the bottom in red is his FB percentage usage per time through the order. 33% the first time rising to 44% the next couple passes. 'New school" pitching philosophy would tell these deep arsenal pitchers, that FB usage should hover around 40%. Civale bounces right around it.

As more of these "new school" pitchers have success, in a league where imitation is king, the more you are likely to see FB percentage usage continue to decline. Probably will never get all the way to 40%, but slightly under 50% seems to be a realistic #.



Spinning the ball is king these days, and kids that know how and why will continue to change the league.
 

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There has been some talk about how FB usage league wide is on the decline. The new modern wave of pitchers starting to affect the aggregate stats of the league as a whole.

Used to be, as recent as Mickey's days in Cleveland, that FB% needed to be up around 60%. to 65%. Was a big point of contention between him and a certain pitcher on staff. But as the years have gone by and the staff has changed and reevaluated, you will see all Cleveland pitchers moving towards a "lower FB%" mix.



Here is Civale's latest start. Down at the bottom in red is his FB percentage usage per time through the order. 33% the first time rising to 44% the next couple passes. 'New school" pitching philosophy would tell these deep arsenal pitchers, that FB usage should hover around 40%. Civale bounces right around it.

As more of these "new school" pitchers have success, in a league where imitation is king, the more you are likely to see FB percentage usage continue to decline. Probably will never get all the way to 40%, but slightly under 50% seems to be a realistic #.



Spinning the ball is king these days, and kids that know how and why will continue to change the league.
Would be interesting to see that FB% further expanded to show the game moving away from the 2 seam and sinker towards the 4 seam
 

xmasbuck

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I saw this article today -- he mentions the Corvette!
Tanana pitched a great game -- beat by a Kuiper triple/cannot recall who squeezed him home. I listened to this game on the radio...good times.

i listened too - last out was gil flores
 
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Derek

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Would be interesting to see that FB% further expanded to show the game moving away from the 2 seam and sinker towards the 4 seam
Do you mean the opposite?
 

Derek

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I think I have it right, right?

Less 2 seamers and sinkers, more 4 seamers?
Without looking it up (on my phone)

My perception is the opposite
 
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Spinning the ball is king these days, and kids that know how and why will continue to change the league.
But then the hitters will adjust and start sitting on the breaking ball.

By the way, what do you think of Maton? Last night he was throwing hook after hook and they couldn't hit it. He mixed in an occasional fastball for show but he attacked the hitters with his curve, which was much more effective than his fastball last year.

Since coming over from the Padres Maton's line in Cleveland is:

16.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 18 K, 0.86 WHIP

Not bad. Last night he struck out Abreu on three pitches, then got another K and a pop out in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied. According to Fangraphs he is throwing his fastball 36.7% of the time this year against a career figure of 64.3%. His fastball percentages the last four years are interesting: 76%, 61.2%, 57.4% and 36.7% in four appearances this year. He's definitely bought into the whole spin thing and it's working for him so far.

His swinging strike percentage is 20.0% this year after 11.7% last year and 13.3% career.

I'm wondering if the Indians unearthed another gem here. Dude had a 7.77 ERA with the Padres last year when we scooped him up in exchange for some international bonus money.

Edit: Hoynes brought out these numbers on Maton from Baseball Savant a while back:

[Phil Maton’s] fastball ranked in the 99th percentile and his curve in the 84th percentile [in spin rate] last season.

The spin helped the curve. The fastball not so much. Last year the opposition hit .135 (5-for-37) against Maton’s curve. They hit .329 (26-for-76) against his fastball.


Looks like he's buying into the idea that the fewer fastballs he throws the better. His cutter usage is up from 3% in 2018 to 40% this year and about 23% for the curve.
 
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cavsfan1985

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But then the hitters will adjust and start sitting on the breaking ball.

By the way, what do you think of Maton? Last night he was throwing hook after hook and they couldn't hit it. He mixed in an occasional fastball for show but he attacked the hitters with his curve, which was much more effective than his fastball last year.

Since coming over from the Padres Maton's line in Cleveland is:

16.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 18 K, 0.86 WHIP

Not bad. Last night he struck out Abreu on three pitches, then got another K and a pop out in the bottom of the 9th with the score tied. According to Fangraphs he is throwing his fastball 36.7% of the time this year against a career figure of 64.3%. His fastball percentages the last four years are interesting: 76%, 61.2%, 57.4% and 36.7% in four appearances this year. He's definitely bought into the whole spin thing and it's working for him so far.

I'm wondering if the Indians unearthed another gem here. Dude had a 7.77 ERA with the Padres last year when we scooped him up.
It seems like he has had ups and downs, and had last year did not look good after an injury. Fingers crossed we picked up a gem.
 

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The Fastball Is Disappearing. What Does It Mean for MLB's Future?
What was unthinkable just five years ago for pitchers is not just the norm but also the way forward.

Tom Verducci2 hours ago

Quietly, and as it concerns hitters, in an all too literal sense of quiet, baseball has crossed a major threshold in how the game is played. For the first time in recorded history, fastballs no longer account for the majority of pitches.

The bread and butter of pitching is stale. The “fastball count” is no more. Country hardball is dead.

Its death did not occur suddenly. Fastball use has been declining every year since 2015, coinciding with the start of “The Statcast Era,” a shorthand for how technology and advanced metrics have changed pitching for the better–and perhaps baseball for the worse.

Fastball use held steady from 2010 through 2015 at between 56.8% and 57.8%. Then the fastball began to fall out of favor, slowly at first, but with stunning drops in the past two seasons. Fastball percentage starting from 2015: 56.8, 56.3, 55.3, 54.5, 51.9 and–drum roll, please–49.7 at the start of this week. (Here and throughout, “fastball” references do not include cutters.)
“I think 95 is the new 90,” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Guys can really hit velocity. And so, to kind of get guys off of that, pitching off your secondaries … I really believe there’s a lot to that.”

It’s an upside-down world. Secondaries are primaries. And the simplest explanation why this strategy is happening is obvious: it works.

This brings up a question that should worry MLB officials: What if the start to this season–in which batting average, contact rate, strikeouts and balls in play are worse than they have ever been–is not just a case of “pitchers being ahead of the hitters” due to the short summer camp, but is the new normal and a sign that the hitting environment is worsening?

On July 30 the Braves and Rays played a baseball game that exhibited how massively the sport has changed. The six combined pitchers threw only 29% fastballs–69 fastballs to the 64 hitters. There were only eight hits. Twenty-five batters did not put the ball in play. Atlanta won, 2-1.

Has pitching become too good? If so, the cause is obvious. And it’s not velocity. The major league batting average is .230-.250 against fastballs and .211 against non-fastballs. All these breaking and off-speed pitches lead to less contact, fewer hits and deeper counts. Justin Verlander said it best two years ago as home runs increased: “The goal of pitching has become more about getting no contact than weak contact.”


Verlander, by the way, joined the Under-50 Club last year. One of the most renowned fastball pitchers in the game threw 46.9% fastballs, down from 61% the previous year. As he personally can attest, the rise of the slider has more to do with the decline of the fastball than any other pitch.

Roll this around your head: the average slider is harder to hit (.193) than an elite fastball (.213 on fastballs clocked at 97 mph or faster).

It’s not just the slider. The gap in slugging last year between how hitters hit all fastballs (.481) compared to all non-fastballs (.387) was the largest of the decade (+.094). This year the gap is similarly large (+.080).

Remember that dustup between the Dodgers and Astros, when Joe Kelly and Carlos Correa jawed at one another after Kelly whiffed Correa on six straight breaking pitches? When Correa wanted to insult Kelly, he went old school as he yelled at him, “Throw your fastball, [expletive].”

Why? Why should pitchers honor an outdated macho code of throwing so many fastballs? Data tell them to throw fewer. Pitching coaches, who are increasingly younger and less hidebound by oral tradition, know this. Moreover, technology (i.e., Trackman, Rapsodo, etc.) is making breaking pitches nastier because we understand so much more about spin, spin axis, true spin, tunneling, how pitches come off the fingers, etc. Teams literally are building labs to build better pitches.

One way to measure how pitching has changed so much so quickly is to look at full-count pitches. Full-count pitches are the sodium pentothal of pitches. If you want to know what a pitch a pitcher trusts the most, the full count helps reveal it. Look at the change that baseball’s truth serum has revealed:

Full-Count Pitches
FastballsSLG
201562.6%.346
202052.6%.288
Here’s what that means. A hitter just five years ago could expect to see a fastball on a 3-and-2 count nearly two out of every three times. Today it’s essentially a coin flip as to what’s coming. By doing so, pitchers have reduced full-count slugging to its lowest level in the 33 years of such recorded history–even if it means more walks. A walk is a defense of the home run.

A truth serum case study: Five years ago, Jacob deGrom threw fastballs on full counts 62% of the time. This year he is doing so just 30% of the time.

As more pitchers have more success throwing fewer fastballs, you should expect the fastball rate to continue to decline. Among pitchers who reduced their overall fastball use in just the past three years by double digits are deGrom (down to 39.4%), Dylan Bundy (39.4), Carlos Carrasco (34.7), Dallas Keuchel (34.7) and Yu Darvish (30.2), all members of the Under-40 Club.

The Indians are setting strikeouts records by throwing just 39.7% fastballs, tied with Boston for the fewest in baseball. Four of the past six Cy Young Award winners won the award by throwing less than 50% fastballs: Verlander, deGrom, Corey Kluber and Max Scherzer.

With apologies to Walter (Big Train) Johnson and Nolan (The Express) Ryan, the train has left the station. What was unthinkable just five years ago is not just the norm but also the way forward–as long as hitters do not adjust.

As Correa proved in the heat of the moment, hitters are conditioned to believe the fastball is the bedrock to the batter-pitcher confrontation. They hit off fastballs as their default approach. Getting beat by a fastball is an insult to their pride, if not their manhood. Meanwhile, pitchers are beating them more and more with breaking and off-speed pitches.

“[Hitters] just don’t want to get off [hitting] the fastball,” Roberts said. “The really good ones can hunt soft stuff and will live with the fact that they might miss a heater. But by and large guys do not get off the gas.

“I think as a pitcher you can still be 50-50 and still be aggressive with your secondaries. Attacking with your slider. Attacking with your curveball. It doesn’t mean you can attack only with your fastball, in my opinion.

“I do understand why it’s a 50-50 game now. Until hitters adjust, as a pitcher, why would you give in?”
 

Urban

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@Urban


This backs up what you’re saying
This article ties in nicely with the point I was going to bring up with the Astros being at the forefront of utilizing spin rate while the Pirates are/were slow in adapting this philosophy.

Below is Charlie Morton's pitch usage chart over the years. His 4 seam rate (FA%) doubles in both of his years in Houston and the rate at which he uses his sinker/2 seam continues to plummet.

Morton.PNG

And below here is Gerrit Cole's and we can see he pretty much cut his sinker/2 seam altogether as soon as he became an Astro which is surely a factor in him going from a good to elite.

Cole.PNG
 
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