More on Kuroda

Kuroda overlay

What you see there is a fairly simple chart. That’s the overlay of Hirkoki Kuroda’s performance at Dodger Stadium onto Yankee Stadium III. The dark blue dots are home runs. The light blue dots are doubles. The orange dots are fly outs.

Though Hiroki Kuroda is a ground ball pitcher, we can’t help but think that moving from cavernous Chavez Ravine to the Bronx could have a negative effect on his fly ball numbers. As RLYW noted in this post, the dimensions alone cannot be responsible for any sort of change:

If dimensions were the only factor, the answer would be none. But they’re not the only factor. Weather and altitude can also affect how a park plays.

There’s also the competition, which is going to be a bit fiercer in the A.L. East than it was for Kuroda in the National League. Regardless, it’s comforting to know that just two doubles alone at Dodger Stadium would’ve been out at Yankee Stadium. Like for the chart made for Michael Pineda in the RLYW post, I had different expectations. If you want to make your own overlays, go here.

There are some other nice things about Kuroda we can find here in his career splits page on FanGraphs. His FIP, xFIP, HR/FB%, GB%, etc. are all generally the same against righties and lefties and around the same at home and away.

We’ve talked a lot about Kuroda this offseason, but let’s break him down a bit more via Pitch F/X like we did for Michael Pineda the other day. As we can see here Kuroda leans on his sinker a lot, and for good reason. In 2011, he threw it for strikes 71% of the time. Clearly, that’s the pitch he’s going to use to generate weak contact and ground balls. Going by whiff rates, Kuroda used his slider (15.5%) and his splitter (18.5%) to get swings and misses in 2011.

While Kuroda might not have Pineda’s devastating raw stuff, he’s still going to be fun to watch. He gets ground balls at a solid rate, but can also miss bats. In the American League, and Yankee Stadium in particular, that’s a useful combination to have.

About Matt Imbrogno

A native and resident of the Mean Streets of Southwestern Connecticut, Matt is a narcissistic, misanthropic 20something English teacher who lives by a simple creed: Yankees Only.

One thought on “More on Kuroda

  1. What I like about Kuroda’s fastball is that he uses it mostly to generate ground balls but he’s not afraid to elevate his 4 seam above the zone to get strikeouts when neccesary. It may not be his primary goal but he’s not one of the ground ball pitchers who’s incapable of striking someone out in a tough spot, which should payoff with his move to the AL. We just have to hope his age and career pitch total doesn’t start to catch up with him this season.

    Does anyone know why the Japanese league seems to be teaching pitchers splitters more than in the US? It seems as if everyone in Japan throws a split, yet here in the states the trend seems to be decreasing the use of the split out. I know there are elbow concerns but it seems the two leagues (countries?) Have two completely different philosphies on the pitch.