Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wang's Progression As A Pitcher

From the NY Sun article: comes a look at Chien-Ming Wang's progression as a pitcher - and not a thrower - though the author does not seem to understand how pitches break.

The most glaring of errors comes when he discusses Wang's sinking fastball. The pitch breaks down and IN to right handed hitters and AWAY from left handed batters - completely opposite from the writer's analysis.

If you don't know that a sinker breaks away from a pitcher's armside, you might want to go back to the blackboard before offering a "study" on pitching. If Wang's fastball broke down and into a left hander's sweet spot it would be a cutter, or the pitch which Mariano Rivera uses to dominate lefties.

Hard to take the rest of his words seriously:

For most of his time in the majors, Wang’s biggest weakness has been against left-handed hitters. Last year, for instance, he struck out 7.9% of those he faced, as against 17.8% of right-handers. There’s no mystery as to why. His nasty sinking fastball, which he routinely throws at 94 mph and can throw much harder, breaks down but also tilts — out and away from right-handers but right into the sweet spot where most left-handers like the ball. The same is true of his slider, his second-best pitch. Wang has usually tried to neutralize left-handers with a changeup that he rarely throws to right-handers, but it isn’t an especially effective pitch.

This year, he has slightly but noticeably changed his approach, throwing the fastball more often against left-handers and the changeup and slider less often, while mixing in the odd split-finger or cutter. So far, his strikeout rate against them is up to 12.2%, which isn’t fantastic, but represents an improvement of half over what he did last year. If he can keep doing as well while continuing to suppress left-handed power (he’s given up just one home run to left-handers in 82 plate appearances), he’ll have gone a long way toward plugging the biggest hole in his game. Against right-handers, Wang has been throwing a cut fastball a bit more often. It isn’t a great pitch, but it does give hitters something else to look for, and further shows his evolving style.

Tonight’s game, though, will especially bear watching because it will give some insight into how Wang will deal with his second main weakness — his susceptibility to lineups that have his fastball well scouted.

For future reference Mr. Marchman here are a few remedial pitching lessons: a fastball goes fast, a curveball curves and a slider slides. Leave the rest of the pitch analysis out of your writing. Yikes.


Joseph said...

HA - great post... awful article yikes

Anonymous said...

how does he not know that?!???