Friday, December 22, 2017

From the Handbook: Pitcher repertoires

This is one of my favorite and most used portions of the annual Bill James Handbook. I have generally written something annually out of this section, and almost always about Phil Hughes -- in large part because his repertoire changes so much from year to year.

Tracking it backwards:

2017: 46 percent fastballs, 21 percent cutters, 20 percent curves, 13 percent change ups.

2016: 49 percent fastballs, 26 percent cutters, 23 percent curves, 3 percent change ups.

2015: 59 percent fastballs, 20 percent cutters, 16 percent curves, 5 percent change ups.

2014: 65 percent fastballs, 21 percent cutters, 14 percent curves, less than 1 percent changeups. (This was his first year with the Twins and the best season of his career.)

2013: 62 percent fastballs, 0 percent cutters, 17 percent curves, 16 percent sliders, 5 percent change ups, less than 1 percent splitters. (With the Yankees; note the use of the slider and the absence of the cutter.)

Obviously the thoratic outlet issues -- with surgery after the 2016 season and now again -- has had something to do with this, but the fastball useage keeps declining, and the percentage of changeups reached a new high last year.

I don't know what to expect from Hughes in 2018, other than that if he's sound he's going to be on the staff. The man's signed through 2019. He might be in the bullpen, he might be in the rotation. I don't think he's going to be effective if his velocity remains below 90 mph, as it was last season. 

And I don't think he's going to be effective throwing a lot of changes, either. I always thought that Neil Allen and his change up obsession was a poor fit for Hughes as pitching coach. It will be interesting to see if Hughes backs away from the change with Allen gone -- although if the velocity is gone for good, it probably doesn't matter.

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