PITCHf/x Scouting Report: Justin Verlander

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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: 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: CJ Wilson

It looks like a bad album cover.

This afternoon, the Yankees will face off against the Angel’s newest starting pitcher, C.J. Wilson. The left hander has a career 3.57 ERA and finished 6th in the Cy Young ballot last year with a 2.94 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and an 8.3 K/9. While much of his career was spent relieving, he’s built a strong pitching repertoire while being highly successful in his 68 career starts. Though Wilson is definitely a groundball pitcher, playing half his games at Angel’s ballpark should help him in his first year in Los Angeles. Of course, he also has to face his old club, who is one of the toughest offenses in baseball. Regardless, the southpaw will face the Yankees in the Bronx today, so we’ll have to evaluate how his pitching will play in this hitter’s ballpark.

Pitching Repertoire
Since his move from the bullpen to the rotation in 2010, Wilson has expanded from a fastball-slider pitcher, to an arsenal of 6 different pitches.… Click here to read the rest

The Ever Changing Ivan Nova And His New Fastball

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When Ivan Nova took the mound on Monday night it was hard to expect that a pitcher who struggled so mightily in Spring Training would be so successful. Right out of the gate, Nova looked like a different pitcher than he did a year ago. While we had seen a lot of his transformation by the end of last year, there were still some new tricks he had yet to show us. I decided to look at PITCHF/x to get a more in depth take on some unfamiliar pitches.

When it comes to Nova’s fastball, his four-seam sat at 92.4 mph last year, but on Monday night, the big righty came out with some of the highest velocity we’ve seen from a Yankee starter this year. Sitting 93.3 mph on his four-seam, Nova hit 96 mph in the first inning of the game. To have such a velocity spike in the first game of the year is very rare, but Nova has done so many unpredictable things, I am curious to see what he’s up to.… Click here to read the rest

Mo picks up 600th career save as Burnett spins first quality start since June 29

The Greatest. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A shaky A.J. Burnett managed to settle down and turn in what ended up being one of his better performances of the season, going six innings, walking two, hitting two, throwing two wild pitches, giving up four hits and only yielding two runs while striking out a season-high 11, as the Yankees beat the Mariners 3-2. By Game Score, this outing tied his June 1 start against Oakland for second-best of the season, and — wait for it — was Burnett’s first quality start since June 29 against the Brewers. Yes Virginia, even A.J. Burnett can beat the Mariners.

The icing on the cake was Mariano Rivera closing it out for his 600th career save, although I unfortunately was asleep for the festivities. Once the Yankees took the lead on Robinson Cano‘s RBI groundout in the 6th I had zero interest in watching A.J. potentially blow the lead in the bottom of the 6th (he didn’t) and decided to get out while the getting was good.… Click here to read the rest