Arsenal Analysis: Dodgers Best Pitches Of 2013

ClaytonKershawBoat

Fans are always analyzing which pitchers have the best and worst pitches, but we normally base that on nothing but our own feelings in the moment, so I decided to take a more objective look at things.

For a pitch to qualify for these rankings, I used a 200-pitch minimum for starters and a 50-pitch minimum for relievers. The metric used to measure pitch effectiveness is True Average (TAv), which is basically like wOBA … but on Baseball Prospectus. League average performance is set at .260, and the metric doesn’t include baserunning.

Additionally, to prevent the post from being solely numbers-based, and one that would have been mind-numbingly boring, I decided to provide visual evidence as well.

And yes, none of this factors in usage rate or sequencing or sample sizes. So just have fun with it.

Leggo.

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Best Overall Pitches – Starters

Clayton Kershaw – Curve – .089


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Zack Greinke – Curve – .184


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Zack Greinke – Slider – .191


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Best Overall Pitches – Relievers

Chris Withrow – Curve – .126


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Chris Withrow – Slider – .131


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Paco Rodriguez – Change – .146


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Among the starters, there are no surprises whatsoever. Clayton Kershaw‘s curve has long been labeled basically untouchable, and Zack Greinke has always thrived off his sharp breaking stuff. The relievers, though, are a bit unexpected. Chris Withrow doesn’t scream domination yet, but he certainly has the stuff, he just needs to stay in the zone. Paco Rodriguez being here shows why he doesn’t need to be a lefty specialist, because his change can be an out-pitch against righties.

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Best Individual Pitches

Fastball/Sinker/Cutter

Starters

Clayton Kershaw – Fastball – .223
Zack Greinke – Fastball – .234
Zack Greinke – Sinker – .269

Relievers

Kenley Jansen – Cutter – .188
J.P. Howell – Sinker – .202
Kenley Jansen – Sinker – .202

Curve/Slider

Starters

Clayton Kershaw – Curve – .089
Zack Greinke – Curve – .184
Ricky Nolasco – Slider – .186

Relievers

Chris Withrow – Curve – .126
Chris Withrow – Slider – .131
Paco Rodriguez – Slider – .151

Change/Split

Starters

Hyun Jin Ryu – Change – .189

Relievers

Paco Rodriguez – Change – .146

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Best Pitch Of 2013

Clayton Kershaw – Fastball – .223

Clayton Kershaw uses his fastball 60.7% of the time, and it still ranked as the eighth-best pitch out of the 26 that qualified among starters.

It’s a bit harder to identify dominating pitches for starters after factoring in usage rates given that they usually use at least three of them, but this is the best one on the staff.

Kenley Jansen – Cutter – .188

Arguably the best pitch in the game.

It’s not the most effective pitch overall, but only because he throws it 94.1% of the time. His cutter was the seventh-best pitch out of 29 qualifying offerings among relievers despite the usage rate.

He’s gonna throw it, hitters know it’s coming, and he still ends up as one of the best relievers in the game. That’s a dominating pitch.

About Chad Moriyama

Chad Moriyama
"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times