Monday, May 7, 2007
Analysis of Two Young Guns
Good morning and welcome to SethSpeaks.net!! For all you Twins fans, I posted my daily Twins thoughts (Friday Night, Saturday Night, Sunday afternoon) throughout the weekend, so please check those out if you were unable to over the weekend. However, there is a little something different today. Those who have been here before have seen some of my "Analysis" series on pitchers like Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano and Felix Hernandez. Last summer, I did a dual analysis on Francisco Liriano and Scott Kazmir. Sunday night's ESPN Game of the Week gave us a look at two pitchers who will be stars in this game for a long time, barring injury, of course. So, I thought it would be fun to track each of the pitches of these two young studs and learn a little more about each. I hope that you enjoy this analysis and, as always, please feel free to e-mail me or leave some Comments at the end!
COLE HAMELS ANALYSIS
Cole Hamels was taken with the 17th overall pick in the 2002 draft out of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, California. The long, lanky lefty is already touted as having the best changeup in baseball. I know, Twins fans will argue that Mr. Santana's is pretty good too! Hamels got off to a strong start in 2003. However, in 2004, he was in a bar fight and injured himself and missed much of the season. Kids! Anyway, he came back in 2005 and was solid again. Then in 2006, he made a start in Low A, four starts in High A, three starts in AAA and on May 12th, he made his big league debut against the Cincinnati Reds. He went five shutout innings. He gave up just one hit, but he walked five. He struck out seven. He made 23 starts and went 9-8. In 132.1 innings, he struck out 145! This year, in six starts, he is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA. In 40.2 innings, he struck out 43! Hamels will turn 24 on December 27th. It was on New Years Eve this past year that Hamels married Heidi Strobel, an infamous former contestant on Survivor.
TIM LINCECUM ANALYSIS
Tim Lincecum was drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2006 draft out of the University of Washington. As a junior, he went 12-4 with a 1.94 ERA in 125.1 innings. He struck out 199 hitters! That's a K-rate of 14.3 per nine innings. Many thought that he would make the Giants opening day roster. Some thought he should be the team's closer instead of Armando Benitez. Why? Because he is one of those short starters (5-10) that people like to think should go to the bullpen. He also has an awkward delivery and some wonder how he hasn't had arm injuries to this point. So, the Giants sent him down to Fresno, the AAA affiliate and made him a starter. Well, he has made five starts. He is 4-0 with a 0.29 ERA. In 31 innings, he has 11 walks and 46 strikeouts. Simply dominant. The Giants gave Barry Zito $126 million in the offseason. Matt Cain is very close to being an Ace. And Lincecum could be the best of them. When Russ Ortiz went on the DL, Lincecum's time had come. As devastating as Hamel's changeup is, word is the Lincecum has an incredible curveball. Lincecum will turn 23 on June 15.
Lincecum is not going against an easy lineup in his debut. Jimmy Rollins is having his best season. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and the now-hot Aaron Roward are in the middle of the lineup. It will definitely not be easy, but I am very excited to see what pitches he throws. Of course, it will be important to remember that he is making his big league debut, so nerves will likely be a factor in this game. Who knows what we will see. Hamels gets to face the old Giants lineup. "Old" is not necessarily a bad term because he means 'veteran' and probably a lot of quality at bats. It is important to note that Barry Bonds is not in the lineup. It is normal that he does not play on Sunday's.
Anyway, what I did, as I have in the past, is tracked, pitch-by-pitch, the performances of both Cole Hamels and Tim Lincecum. I noted which type of pitch they threw and then jotted down the speed of the pitch given on ESPN. Usually, I like to point out that the radar gun speed given on FSN is subject to debate, and the same can be said with ESPN's, but it's all I had to work with. So, how did they do it?
Let's start with the high level look their performances:
IP H R ER BB SO
Hamels 7.0 8 5 3 2 9
Lincecum 4.1 5 5 4 5 5
Of the 118 pitches that Hamels threw, 85 of them (72.6%) were strikes. 67% is generally considered very good so Hamels was excellent!
Of the 100 pitches that Lincecum threw, 53 of them (53.0%) were strikes, so he was not getting many calls or much help, but he was also all over the place, frequently not even close to the strike zone.
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Hamels threw. We heard his changeup was good and he used it a lot, but this seems almost excessive!
Fastball - 61 (51.7%)
Change Up - 48 (40.7%)
Curveball - 9 (7.6%)
Here is a breakdown of the type of pitch that Lincecum threw. He struggled with his control, so it is likely he threw more fastballs than he normally would because he was behind in the count so often.
Fastball - 86 (86.0%)
Curveball - 12 (12.0%)
Change Up - 2 (2.0%)
So, we noticed that Hamels threw a lot of changeups, but it was interesting to me that in the middle innings, Hamels relied heavily on his changeup, but then in the seventh inning, he went to the fastball more and it worked. Here are the number of pitches Hamels threw each inning and the type of pitch:
1st inning - 23 pitches (13 fastball, 10changeup)
2nd inning - 17 pitches (12 fastball, 5 changeup)
3rd inning - 13 pitches (7 fastball, 4 changeup, 2 curveball)
4th inning - 21 pitches (8 fastball, 12 changeup, 1 curveball)
5th inning - 19 pitches (7 fastball, 10 changeup, 2 curveball)
6th inning - 9 pitches (3 fastball, 3 changeup, 3 curveball)
7th inning - 16 pitches (11 fastball, 4 changeup, 1 curveball)
Total - 118 pitches (61 fastball, 48 changeup, 9 curveball)
Here are the number of pitches Lincecum threw each inning and the type of pitch:
1st inning - 28 pitches (24 fastball, 3 curveball, 1 changeup)
2nd inning - 10 pitches (10 fastball)
3rd inning - 25 pitches (22 fastball, 3 curveball)
4th inning - 14 pitches (11 fastball, 2 curveball, 1 changeup)
5th inning - 23 pitches (19 fastball, 4 curveball)
Total - 100 pitches (86 fastball, 12 curveball, 2 changeup)
The consistency of the velocities of Hamels's pitches throughout the game was quite noticeable, particularly in comparison to those of Lincecum. When Kyle Lohse was pitching for the Twins, I noticed that if he was hitting 94 and 95 in the first couple of innings, that it would be a long night. It was as if he was just throwing it all out there right away and it just didn't last all game. Of course, in watching the delivery of Lincecum, it looks as if he has to go that way all the time.
Here are the average velocities of Hamels's pitches last night by inning:
Fastball Changeup Curveball
1st inning - 91.0 80.9
2nd inning - 89.6 80.8
3rd inning - 90.9 80.3 74.5
4th inning - 90.4 80.6 76.0
5th inning - 89.7 79.8 79.0
6th inning - 89.3 80.0 74.0
7th inning - 90.8 80.5 77.0
Here are the average velocities of Lincecum's pitches last night by inning:
Fastball Curveball Changeup
1st inning - 96.4 82.3 87.0
2nd inning - 94.8
3rd inning - 93.7 80.7
4th inning - 92.5 80.4 84.0
5th inning - 91.7 81.5
Just to show how the fastball velocities of both pitchers were, for comparison's sake, here were the speeds of their fastballs:
mph Hamels Lincecum* 87 2 88 4 89 10 90 17 1 91 14 7 92 10 11 93 4 15 94 17 95 8 96 9 97 11 98 3
Lincecum's speeds do not include the four pitches used on the intentional walk to Ryan Howard. In the first two innings, he was consistently hitting 97 mph with the fastball, but as the game went along, you can see that he slowed down pretty dramatically.
Did either pitcher alter the pitches he threw each time through the batting order?
Here is what Hamels threw each time through the order (he threw to six people a fourth time):
Time Through Order FB FB% CU CU% CB CB% Total Pitches
1st 20 64.5% 11 35.5% 0 0.0% 31
2nd 20 55.6% 13 36.1% 3 8.3% 36
3rd 8 29.6% 17 63.0% 2 7.4% 27
4th 13 54.2% 7 29.2% 4 16.7% 24
Here is what Lincecum threw each time through the order (he threw to five people the third time):
Time Through Order FB FB% CB CB% CU CU% Total Pitches
1st 34 89.5% 3 7.9% 1 2.6% 38
2nd 29 85.3% 5 14.7% 0 0.0% 34
3rd 19 79.2% 4 16.7% 1 4.2% 24
So what does this show? Well, it shows that Hamels got more efficient the third and fourth times through the order. He started out by mixing the fastball and changeup very well. The third time through he threw primarily changeups at any and all times. Then in the fourth time through, he surprised the Giants hitters with more fastballs, and only used the changeup to get a strikeout. You know how you are told not to throw back-to-back changeups? Well, at one point in the fourth inning, Hamels threw nine straight changeups! Lincecum, well, he just threw way too many fastballs. The problem was that he got behind in the count so frequently that he had to. When he did try to throw curveballs, he didn't throw it for strikes too often.
Here is a quick look at the pitches Hamels threw on each count:
FB CU CB
0-0 21 11 1
0-1 8 8 6
0-2 7 6 0
1-0 4 3 0
1-1 7 4 0
1-2 4 4 2
2-0 3 0 0
2-1 1 3 0
2-2 2 4 0
3-0 2 0 0
3-1 0 0 0
3-2 2 2 0
It is important to note that Hamels did not have a 3-1 count the whole game. He had just two 3-0 counts. When he had 0-2 and 1-2 situation, you can't really say that he has a pitch of choice. That is tough on a hitter. Of his nine strikeouts, six came on changeups, the others on the fastball. Essentially, Hamels will throw any pitch in any count! However , he does have a good curveball that could be used at any time as well.
Here is a quick look at the pitches Lincecum threw on each count:
FB CB CU
0-0 16 6 0
0-1 7 0 0
0-2 2 1 0
1-0 11 3 1
1-1 8 1 1
1-2 8 0 0
2-0 6 0 0
2-1 8 0 0
2-2 5 1 0
3-0 3 0 0
3-1 4 0 0
3-2 4 0 0
This is a good look at Lincecum's troubles. He had too many 2-0 and 3-0 counts. You can also see that he got ahead 0-1 just seven times in 23 batters faced. Just too many 'hitter's' counts. He also relied heavily on his fastball which is obviously a good one.
I was really excited to watch this game tonight. Each pitcher had a long first inning. Lincecum threw an 0-2 curveball right down the middle to Shane Victorino who hit a two-run homer. But Lincecum came back to strikeout Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand. Hamels was on his way to a quick inning, but then Ray Durham had a 10 pitch at bat to slow things out. In the inning, Randy Winn scored on a Wes Helms error. Lincecum calmed down, it appeared when he pitched the second inning with just 10 pitches. But after that, it was just too many pitches and too little control. Hamels definitely calmed down and showed his ability to throw any of his three pitches at any time. He showed his changeup a lot, and his arm motion was not at all different from his fastball. As for Lincecum, I am not going to judge him based on his first outing. We saw that he can throw hard. We saw at times that he has a great fastball that runs in on a right-handed batter. He showed a good curveball, just little control with it. First outings get a pass. It will be important to see his poise and how it translates into control in his next outing. Once he just relaxes and pitches, I think he'll be excellent. Hamels, well, he could be around for a long time throwing like this. He is a younger, taller, harder-throwing Tom Glavine! And the Roy Oswalt comparisons seem pretty accurate for Lincecum.
On that note, I am going to call it a day! I hope you all have a great day! As always, please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts on Lincecum, Hamels, the Twins, the minor leagues, or anything you would like to discuss.|
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