Arsenal Analysis: Dodgers Best Pitches Of 2014

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, just like I did last year.

Better late than never.

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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 appropriate sample sizes. So just have fun with it.

Leggo.

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Best Overall Pitches – Starters

Clayton Kershaw – Curve – .126

Clayton Kershaw – Slider – .158

Hyun Jin Ryu – Curve – .162

No surprises here, as Clayton Kershaw having two plus-plus breaking balls has been a known reality for a while. One could argue that Hyun Jin Ryu’s curve is underutilized.

Best Overall Pitches – Relievers

Brandon League – Split – .090

Chris Withrow – Cutter – .100

Yimi Garcia – Fastball – .143

Brandon League’s split was actually quite devastating, but the ineffectiveness of his sinker and slider do him in. Chris Withrow’s cutter has been a key pitch, but he didn’t get to use it much in 2014 due to his injury. Yimi Garcia’s four-seamer is interesting here, because as I’ve pointed out before, he has a very high RPM fastball (“riser”). That leads to a lot of fly balls but also leads to a lot of swing and misses on a 91-92 mph fastball, so his stuff plays up.

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Best Individual Pitches

Fastball/Sinker/Cutter

Starters

Zack Greinke – Fastball – .226
Dan Haren – Fastball – .235
Clayton Kershaw – Fastball – .240

Relievers

Chris Withrow – Cutter – .100
Yimi Garcia – Fastball – .143
Carlos Frias – Sinker – .146

Curve/Slider

Starters

Clayton Kershaw – Curve – .126
Clayton Kershaw – Slider – .158
Hyun Jin Ryu – Curve – .162

Relievers

Jamey Wright – Curve – .163
J.P. Howell – Curve – .171
Kenley Jansen – Slider – .210

Change/Split

Starters

Zack Greinke – Changeup – .208

Relievers

Brandon League – Split – .090

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Best Pitch Of 2014

Starter

Clayton Kershaw – Slider – .158

Clayton Kershaw’s slider isn’t even as dominating as his curve, but considering he uses the slider almost 30% of the time, it’s one of those pitches that hitters are expecting and they still can’t touch it.

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Reliever

Kenley Jansen – Cutter – .232

Kenley Jansen’s cutter actually struggled quite a bit in 2014, primarily due to his early season velocity bump and the time it took for him to make adjustments to it. That said, it’s gonna be hard for this pitch to be knocked off its perch when it can be so effective while being thrown 94% of the time.

About Chad Moriyama

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