09 May 2008

Cabrera Strikes Again

Daniel Cabrera has been able to pitch well on a rather consistent basis using a fastball. This sort of thing is possible in Little League, but it should not be in the Majors. Particularly, he throws it in the low 90s. He benefits from a BABIP of .226 while his career BABIP is .300. His FIP is 4.75, while he ERA is 3.54. He is posting his worst K/BB rate for his career (1.43) and has upped his career left on base percentage by ten points to 78.9%. All of this marks for a downturn. The only thing that explains it to me is that his Line Drive percentage is at 11.8%, which is about 6% less than he normally posts. As you all know, a rough hand estimate for batting average is taking your line drive percentage and adding 12% to it. So, with an 11.8%, you'd explain a batting average of roughly .238 and that is essentially what we have. His groundball percentage is also 6% higher, so it seems he has essentially traded some line drives into groundballs. The weird thing here is that his fastball looks like a four seemer as opposed to a sinker. How is this possible when you only throw fastballs (85% of his pitches are fastballs) and they average at 92.9 mph? I don't know, but that graph below is pretty (note: he has little command of his slider).

Cabrera's Fastball and Slider Pitch Location for May 8, 2008 against the Royals.


FrostKing said...

while he generally has little command of the slider, in this game he was pretty good with it. Those three low were "waste" pitches, so the majority of them were in the zone. The slower four-seamer thing is weird, but it seems that they were moving in the range between four-seamers and splitters, which may explain why they were slower. They still sank as much as the two-seamer, but without running in on right-handers quite as much. In any case, it was a great performance.

Jon Shepherd said...

Thanks . . . yeah, I typically watch these games blind, so it is good to hear this feedback. My point though is based on the placement of the ones that were not so incredibly out of the zone. I doubt he would target a slider for a high strike or one right down the middle. I may be wrong on that.