Great Read: Rivera Gets The Calls

J-Doug of the excellent Rational Pastime blog is now writing for Beyond the Boxscore, and he has an excellent post up on relievers who get a wide strike zone. Mariano Rivera benefits from one of the largest zones, as this graphic shows:
[image title="rivera_medium" size="full" id="22929" align="center" linkto="full" ]

Here is the typical strikezone:
[image title="lateinnings_medium" size="full" id="22930" align="center" linkto="full" ]

I recommend reading the full post, as it includes a number of interesting tidbits on Rivera and discusses various other pitchers who benefited from a large strike zone. Regarding Rivera, he had the third largest advantage from a large strikezone among pitchers who threw at least 500 pitches since 2009. I think most Yankees fans have always recognized that Mo benefits from an expanded zone, likely because he is always near the plate with a cutter that may deceive umpires much as it fools hitters. A pitch with late break is among the most difficult for an umpire to call, and being that it is the only pitch Mariano throws, he would benefit from this bias constantly. J-Doug has some other theories, and again, I highly recommend heading to the site and checking it out.

0 thoughts on “Great Read: Rivera Gets The Calls

  1. DaveinMD

    This has bothered me a while. The cutter isn’t the only pitch he throws. He also throws a 4-seam fastball, though less than he used do. He also throws a 2-seam fastball.

    • Moshe Mandel

      Good point. I should have said primarily throws the cutter.

  2. Davor

    Interestingly, he gets wide zone, but he gets squeezed vertically.

  3. Davor: He probably doesn’t really get squeezed vertically. As you may know, Mariano simply doesn’t leave any pitches in the middle of the plate, high low or center. If he did throw pitches there they’d be called strikes and the ellipse that my script draws would be taller.

  4. Mike

    I’d say because he ball moves tremendously horizontally, and those are the only pitches he throws, he gets calls a tad bit further on the corners. Think about this if the hitter knows there is a good chance of a cutter and he cant hit it, how is an umpire supposed to call if for a strike if he knows its coming as well.