PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Justin Verlander

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America

Over the last couple of games, the Yankees have hit an odd patch of offensive trouble, scoring only 3 runs between their last 2 games. Things won’t get much easier Friday evening, as the Tigers send out their starting pitcher Justin Verlander. I consider a handful of starting pitchers in the ace category, and Verlander is certainly close to the top of that list. Not only did the right handed pitcher lead the American Leaguer in ERA, IP, SO, ERA+, WHIP, and H/9, but he swept the Cy Young votes and took the MVP award as a pitcher for the first time since 1992. We usually use this scouting report to analyze the opposing pitcher for the upcoming game and understand their strengths and weakness, but a lot of what Verlander does should be taken as precedent for good pitching. As you’ll see, he does very little wrong, and if you want to understand what makes good break, selection, and location, this is your guy.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Scott Feldman

In the rubber game of this series, right handed pitcher Scott Feldman will take the mound on Wednesday night. After being selected in the 30th round of the 2003 draft, Feldman made his first major league appearance as a reliever in 2005. He continued his career in the bullpen until 2008, when new pitching mechanics encouraged the team to move him to the rotation. He went on to make 25 starts in his 151.1 innings, posting a 5.29 ERA, 5.35 FIP, and 4.40 K/9. After the rough year, Feldman was moved back to the bullpen before an injury pushed him back to the rotation. It was his most successful season in the majors, posting a 4.08 ERA, 4.31 FIP, and a 5.36 K/9, 3.08 BB/9. In 2010, Feldman received a two-year $11.5 million extension and was announced as the opening day starter for the Rangers, but posted a horrific 5.48 ERA, 4.73 FIP, and 4.78 K/9. While he was mostly injured last year, he pitched out of the bullpen with 32.0 innings in total, despite the Rangers attempting to option him down.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Derek Holland

After “sweeping” the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees are on their way to face the Texas Rangers and Derek Holland. As recently as 2009, Holland was ranked #31 by Baseball America’s top 100 prospect. Although he struggled after being called up in 2009, he posted a 1.78 ERA through the PCL in 2010. After being called up in the second half of 2010, the pitcher went on to post a solid 4.02 FIP, followed by a 3.94 FIP last year. Like the rest of the rotation, the 25 year old lefty has been phenomenal through his first 3 starts this year, posting a 3.10 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, and only a 5.3 H/9. He’s thrown quality starts against all 3 clubs as well, the White Sox, the Mariners, and the Red Sox. Holland has always had serious top of the rotation potential, and 2012 could be the year that he reaches that potential.

Pitch Repertoire
His pitching arsenal consists of four different pitches.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Daniel Bard

In this experiment, the Red Sox will send out 2011 setup man Daniel Bard to face the Yankees this evening. Despite a horrendous ending to the 2011 season, Bard posted a 3.33 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 9.12 K/9, and 6.96 BB/9. The last time the UNC right hander started was 2007, where he pitched to a disastrous 7.08 ERA, 2.053 WHIP, and 9.4 BB/9 in 22 starts split between A and high-A ball. The following year he was converted to a reliever, and continued down this successful career path until the Red Sox ran out of starting pitchers and ran out of money. Now in the rotation again, Bard will have to overcome the control issues he faced in the minor leagues, and so far he’s been unsuccessful. Using PITCHF/x data, we’ll be able to see why the 26 year old can’t hit his spots.

Pitch Repertoire
Most of the speculation that Bard couldn’t handle the rotation came from his small pitch arsenal of 3 pitches.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Félix Doubront

The Enemy

The Yankees take on the Red Sox’ left handed pitcher Félix Doubront this afternoon. The 24 year old Venezuelan hit the big leagues in 2010 for 3 starts and 9 relief appearances. In his first short 25.0 inning season he posted a 4.32 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 8.28 K/9, and 3.60 BB/9. Last year he returned to the minors, and for 70.1 innings in Triple A, put up a 4.22 ERA, 4.51 FIP, 7.81 K/9, and 3.33 BB/9. He was given some brief relief opportunity in 2011 as well, but with superstar pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey out for the season, the team has decided to start him in 2012. In his first two starts of this year, he’s given the Red Sox a 5.40 ERA, 11.70 K/9, and 3.60 BB/9. The surprising amount of strikeouts has caused him to have a low early FIP of 2.87 in 10.0 innings of work.

Pitching Repertoire
Doubront came up from the minors with 4 different pitches in his arsenal.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Clay Buchholz

Hopefully he doesn't put up that many zeroes.

This afternoon the Yankees will make the trip to Fenway to celebrate 100 years of the historical stadium. The Red Sox will send right handed pitcher Clay Buchholz to the mound. Aside from his health, Buchholz has always been somewhat “lucky”, showing mediocre advanced stats, but an impressive ERA. In 2009 he posted a 4.21 ERA behind a 4.69 FIP, .279 BABIP, and 76.7% LOB in 92.0 innings. In 2010 the numbers were particularly glaring, a 2.33 ERA in 173.2 innings with a 3.61 FIP, .261 BABIP, 79.0% LOB, and 5.6 HR/FB%. Last year was all too similar, a 3.48 ERA behind a 4.34 FIP behind similar BABIP and LOB numbers. As much as Red Sox fans may want the pitcher to keep up his unbelievable ERA, it looks like statistical karma is bound to catch up with him. Thus far he has a 9.82 ERA behind a 4.46 FIP and his LOB is certainly turning on him at 43%.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Anthony Swarzak

AP Photo/Jim Mone

The Yankees will face Twins right handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak tonight in the final game of the four game series. The 26 year old pitcher came up with the Twins organization as a 2nd round draft pick in 2004. In the minors, he cracked Baseball America’s top 100 prospects once in 2006 at #100, but had a moderately successful minor league career. Although his rookie season was technically 2009, he finally broke the 100.00 inning barrier last year. In 2011 he posted a 4.32 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, a 4.85 K/9, and a 2.29 BB/9. Although he’s far from a strikeout pitcher, Swarzak prides himself in his control, and has found success as a flyball pitcher.

Pitch Repertoire
In his arsenal, his primary pitch is the four-seam fastball which came in at 91.1 mph last year. He also has a two-seam fastball with similar velocity, but throws the pitch less than 10% of the time. His curveball is his second most used pitch at 25% of the time, which has 80 mph velocity.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Jason Marquis

Getty Images

The Twins will send out Jason Marquis for his first start of 2012 tonight against the Yankees. Marquis grew up a Yankee fan in Staten Island, and has always indicated his desire to pitch in New York. In 2011, Marquis pitched 120.2 innings for the Nationals, before being traded to the Diamondbacks. In his time in Washington, he pitched to a 3.95 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 5.30 K/9, and 2.91 BB/9. He only pitched 11.1 innings with the Diamondbacks, or 3 starts, before a bizarre broken leg injury pitching against the Mets.

Pitch Repertoire
The right hander’s arsenal of pitches include fastball, slider, and changeup. His primary fastball is the sinker, which he throws 47.5% of the time, but he also throws a four-seam fastball 6.4% of the time. Both fastballs come in around 89 mph. His 85 mph slider is his second most used pitch, and he throws it around 31.9% of the time. He also has the changeup to mimic the sinker, which he throws 14.1% of the time and at around 82 mph.… Click here to read the rest

PITCHF/x Scouting Report: Francisco Liriano

The "Enigma"

Tonight at 7:05 pm EST, Francisco Liriano will take the mound in the second game of the Yankees v. Twins series. If you asked me where I thought Liriano would be at this point last year, I probably would have said the Yankees. After an incredibly strong 2.66 FIP performance in 2010, the lefty looked destined for pinstripes. Question marks surrounding the Yankee rotation created plenty of trade rumors throughout the offseason and the beginning of last season, but none were more convincing than a deal with the Twins. While the team from Minnesota insisted publicly that Liriano was unavailable, there were plenty of rumors on the contrary. When Liriano started the season struggling, and the Yankees were in need of a starting pitcher, particularly a lefty, I thought the stars aligned. Fortunately, the trade I foresaw never happened, and although Liriano went on to throw a no hitter last year, he was pretty awful. He finished 2011 with a 5.09 ERA, a 4.54 FIP, a 7.50 K/9, and a 5.02 BB/9, more importantly a  velocity drop and shoulder injury issues.… Click here to read the rest