Note: Be sure to check out the last post on Vlad here.
This is just a short post today and, to be up front, I do not know what it means. As you know I like to dabble in pitch f/x and I was interested in whether there was a way to visualize what I have thought I have seen and what others have seen: Vlad's bat is slowing down. Now, this may seem like I am piling up on him, but I am not. My thoughts on the signing generated a lot of interest and that has sustained my interest somewhat.
The graph below shows Vlad's whiff rate when four seam fastballs, curve balls, change ups, and sliders are thrown. What we see is that he has stayed on top of fastballs at about a 8.4% whiff rate. However, this is in contrast to the other offerings where he has progressively shown a tendency to swing and miss. The upward trend with the curve balls is the effect of multiple data points. Sliders and changeups appear to be largely affected by his whiff rate last year.
What does this mean?
I don't know. You could say that in order to maintain his hitting ability he cheats on the fastballs and is taken advantage by other pitches, but I don't think this single graph shows that. I would want to see more data points from other years, which is not something that is available. I'll try to think of some ideas to answer these questions and post at some point about what I eventually come up with.