01 May 2008

Breaking Them Down: Daniel Cabrera (Part 2 of 2)

To recap our findings in Part 1, Cabrera's April 2 start was plagued with inconsistent motion at the end of his delivery. This seemed to cause a loss of command -- primarily up in the zone. We now turn to his April 23 start, the third of three very effective outings in which he went 20.2 IP allowing just 5 walks and 16 hits. Our supposition was that Cabrera's delivery would be a little more uniform in this start, leading to better command and fewer walks and hits (due to an increased ability to keep the ball down). Let's see how it went.


April 23





Hmmmm. Unfortunately, it looks like Cabrera hasn't slayed his mechanical demons just yet. While there is still a lot to be satisfied with, the conclusion of his weight transfer is still inconsistent, meaning any sort of long term success -- at least to the tune of his last three starts -- will be difficult. One positive to take away is that he seems to be gradually moving towards a comfort zone with his follow-through, which may indicate progress towards a more consistent motion down the road. Let's look at the start in a little more detail.

As with the April 2 start, the middle-innings seemed to be the trouble spot. If you look at the 5th inning of the April 23 game, you see the follow-through gets a little more exaggerated, at times mimicking a full step towards 1st. Ideally, Cabrera will sit in his motion where he does at 0:10 in the above clip. His momentum is primarily towards home, though he still finishes with a soft fall-off to the 1st base side (if you recall, we found his motion to be at its cleanest in the April 2 start when the right foot finished between the plant foot and home plate). So which motion should Cabrera focus on moving forward?

As opposed to the April 2 start, it looks like Cabrera has begun to find a sort of comfort zone when his finish falls-off a bit to the 1st base side of the mound (wrapping his hip and leg across his body). The key to success, should he keep with this as his target follow-through, will be keeping his momentum towards home as long as possible. The right leg will act as a counter-balance at the release point and should be moving forward towards home. As soon as the release point has passed, he can fall off softly to the 1st base side by continuing to "wrap" his leg, which as mentioned above seems to be where he is most comfortable right now. If Daniel can focus on hitting that motion on a pitch-by-pitch basis, he'll put himself in the best position to consistently hit his spots.

We'll revist D-Cab later in the season to check his progress. Hopefully, Crawdaddy can add some color with a look at the f/x data, as well.

*This was written prior to this week's White Sox game, in which Daniel regressed a bit in walking 7 hitters on a cold and dreary Chicago day. Perhaps we can write this one up to the weather, but let's all pay attention to his follow-through when he takes the mound this weekend.

13 comments:

FrostKing said...
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FrostKing said...
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FrostKing said...

Twice I accidentally put up the wrong link. Sorry.

Anyway, after reading your post on Daniel (good job, by the way) I went to look at his Pitch/FX data. Even though it's new to me, I was curious to see what I could find out. http://frostkingbaseball.blogspot.com/2008/05/oh-danny-boy.html
If/when Crawdaddy gets around to looking at it himself (and does a better job writing it up) I'll be interested in reading it.

Crawdaddy said...

I think we are all still trying to get a handle on the pitch f/x system. It definitely has some shortcomings, but is somewhat straight forward enough to make use of it. I haven't bothered trying to parse out type of fastballs, yet. Sometimes the pattern just doesn't hold. Anyway, I went after Garrett Olson first. I'll address Cabrera within the next few weeks.

Stotle said...

I'm curious as to how the release point is measured by f/x. My uneducated guess is that mechanically Daniel is around the same spot, but physically (as in the actual spot in space) the release is all over the place because of his inconsistencies towards the end of his release. Frost/Craw, do either of you know the answer to this?

Crawdaddy said...

My educated guess is that it is calculated base on trajectory. Look at Cabrera and Greg Maddux.
http://38.99.108.6/pfx/release.php?xml=http://gd2.mlb.com/components/game/mlb/year_2008/month_04/day_02/gid_2008_04_02_tbamlb_balmlb_1//pbp/pitchers/425555.xml&s_type=2&h_size=700&v_size=500
http://38.99.108.6/pfx/release.php?xml=http://gd2.mlb.com/components/game/mlb/year_2008/month_04/day_02/gid_2008_04_02_houmlb_sdnmlb_1//pbp/pitchers/118120.xml&s_type=2&h_size=700&v_size=500

Cabrera's release point varies by a lil over a foot on the same type of pitch. Maddux is within six inches.

Crawdaddy said...

Oh those links did not come through. Anyway, yeah, Cabrera all over the place. I'll try to write something up next week about it.

Crawdaddy said...

Oh my . . . I just noticed that Frostking put up something. I'll be sure to link to it in my assessment. Pretty good. I'll need to find some new thunder.

Stotle said...

I guess my question is, if I use the exact same motion and throw a pitch from each side of the rubber, would the release point be the same or would it show one pitch a foot to the right of the other?

Crawdaddy said...

I don't know. I imagine they have to correct for that because release point is important as it discerns trajectory. I would think it is normalized. I could be wrong though.

Brooks said...

http://forum.orioleshangout.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1309995#post1309995

I wonder if my 2008 DCab results style analysis informs your excellent pitch/fx analysis or vice versa.

Crawdaddy said...

Just read that now. Hmmm, fangraphs, right?

I've looked at a few of their things and was thinking about using some of their data in a Cabrera writeup. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with it.

You make some good points. With regard to LD% . . . it should jump up a little as the season progresses. You and FrostKing are making me have to go further with my analyses.

That is a good thing. If you like doing this stuff . . . you should develop a blog of your own. It would be great to have more Oriole centric analyses out there. I think a lot of stuff gets lost on the message boards.

Brooks said...

I used the pitch data from Baseball Reference primarily, and then The Harball Times for the other stuff.

I'm complimented that you think I should start a blog, however, first I would need to know things. Unfortunately I don't. Plus I'm lazy. Love what you're doing here though!

-Corey