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Hey folks, sorry I’ve been a little non-existant lately, but family and life in general was put first.  That being said, with the playoffs cranking up, I thought I’d try to dive into the opposition a little, starting with Randy Wolf.  One quick caveat, I haven’t updated my database in a while, so this is only up through mid September (the 14th I think). All the fun after the jump.

First just a quick summary of his stuff

Pitch pfx_x pfx_z Velo % Thrown SLGCON Whiff
FF 6.22 10.78 89.0 59% 0.435 17%
SL -1.62 1.76 80.3 14% 0.582 15%
CU -5.76 -6.88 67.3 16% 0.352 18%
CH 8.30 8.27 78.9 10% 0.671 17%

A couple of things jump out right away: First how good his fastball has been, as that’s a very low SLGCON. Fangraphs pitch values agree as he ranks second in total runs saved with his fastball, and 3rd in runs per 100 fastballs thrown. Side note, 4 of the top seven in runs per 100 fastballs are in this series… Carpenter (1), Kershaw (2), Wolf(3), and Piniero(7). Second, it appears that we should be able to take advantage of his slider and changeup. As splits go, the slider has been hammered by right handed batters (SLGCON of 0.854) but not by lefties (SLGCON of 0.175). Overall, righties have a 0.508 to 0.286 advantage in SLGCON.

The following charts show how he’s locating, first to RHB

FF to RHB

Fastballs to RHB

Breaking Ball to RHB

Breaking Ball to RHB

and to LHB

Fastballs to LHB

Fastballs to LHB

Breaking Balls to LHB

Breaking Balls to LHB

A quick explanation, the outside black box is the edge of what I’d call “on the black”, while the inside black box is the “middle of the plate”. It’s an attempt to distinguish good location from fat pitches. One takeaway from these charts is how much he uses the outside part of the plat to lefties (not uncommon clealry) especially with the breaking balls. I’d assume this would explain the sizable slider platoon split. To both handed batters he’s appeared to have not left a great deal of pitches over the middle of the plate.

Finally, I’ve got a heat map of SLGCON by location vs. RHB. This is my first attempt at one of these so be nice :) I couldn’t figure out how to get the strikezone to show up in the time I had to get the post done, but it should be about from -1 to 1 on the horizontal axis and 1.5 to 3.5 on the vertical.

SLGCON vs. RHB

SLGCON vs. RHB

The takeaway here is that right handed batters are doing a lot of their damage up in the zone and out over the plate. The balance there is that if I did a similar chart for whiff%, I’d guess that’s where he’s getting a good portion of his swings and misses too… Kinda the pitching version of Jim Edmonds if you will…

Steve Sommer

Simulation analyst by day, father and baseball nerd by night

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2 Responses to “Playoff Preview – Randy Wolf”

  1. You gotta show me how you did those heat maps. Did you use R?

    • Yep I used R. I’m just figuring out how to do it myself. R has some decent online help, and if you go to the Sportsvision site you can download the presentations from last year’s Pitch F/X Summit where Dave Allen talked about it. Once I get a little more comfortable I can write something up and post it here.

      For this particular one I binned the data by 4″ by 4″ squares and just did the SLGCON values within those squares.

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