FanPost

Barry Zito Pitch Value (AKA none...ZING!!!!!)

Next up in my look at the pitch types of the Giants starter is Barry Zito.  Apologies to those of you who dislike this stuff.

 

Barry Zito has us Giants fans in something of a quandary these days as he currently sports a shiny 3.6 ERA.  After all, we have derived such masochistic joy in hating him over the past few years.   We have hated his contract.  We have hated his seasons.   We have hated his attitude.  We have hated his ex-girlfriends (OK, that last one is not true.  Alyssa, CALL ME).    I initially intended my typical Gibbonesque Thesis-Antithesis statement here to the effect that despite his ERA  Zito has not been an appreciably different pitcher this season (4.7 FIP in 2008 vs 4.4 FIP in 2009); however, as you will see later,  Zito HAS been a different pitcher this season.

Pitch Type

2002 %

2003

%

2004

%

2005

%

2006

%

2007

%

2008

%

2009

%

Fastball

57.6

59.8

59.7

51.5

52.4

56.8

53.8

51.9

Curveball

26.7

23.7

24.7

25.4

18.6

18.7

16.1

14.8

Slider

None

.1

None

8.5

7.2

4.3

9.8

15.1

Changeup

15.8

16.4

15.6

14.1

19.1

20.2

20.4

18.2

 

Pitch Type

2002

Value

2003

Value

2004

Value

2005

Value

2006

Value

2007

Value

2008

Value

2009

Value

Fastball

.79

1.36

-.05

.25

-.33

-.25

-.56

.09

Curveball

.80

. 56

-.74

1.02

-.26

-.90

-.06

1.59

Slider

NA

NA

NA

1.87

.11

-.95

.81

2.75

Changeup

2.44

1.62

1.28

1.54

1.96

2.53

-.21

-.34

 

Year

Fastball Velocity

FIP

2002

87.1

3.87

2003

87.5

4.05

2004

86.9

4.50

2005

87.3

4.34

2006

85.8

4.89

2007

84.5

4.82

2008

84.9

4.72

2009

86.6

4.43

 

 

Observations:

1.  What the hell happened in 2006?   Although his effectiveness had declined following his (undeserved) Cy Young in 2002, Zito had remained largely the same pitcher from 2002 through 2005.   In 2006 (bolded above), he lost velocity and started throwing fewer fastballs and curveballs and more changeups.  Throwing more changeups when your fastball has lost a step (or three0 may seem like a pretty silly idea; however, the changeup actually was his best pitch that season.

2.  Sometimes the common wisdom gets one right.    Traditional baseball  thought attributed Zito's decline largely to his lost velocity.  As you can see from above,  Zito has a directly proportionate relationship between fastball velocity and FIP.

3. Zito is no longer a curveball pitcher.  In fact, in 2009 he has thrown fewer curveballs than any other pitch.

4. Zito has been a different pitcher in 2009. He has increased his velocity and is throwing significantly more sliders.   Additionally he has had more success with 3 of his 4 pitches than at any other point during his Giants tenure.  So why is Zito still so resoundingly mediocre?  The answer lies in his fastball and his changeup.  Zito's fastball has become a league average pitch with the increased velocity.  Zito's changeup is the real problem.  He throws a ton of them (18.2%) and they are not very good (-.3).   When 70% of your pitches (fastball + changeup) are average or not very good, you are going to be a mediocre pitcher.

This FanPost is reader-generated, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of McCovey Chronicles. If the author uses filler to achieve the minimum word requirement, a moderator may edit the FanPost for his or her own amusement.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join McCovey Chronicles

You must be a member of McCovey Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at McCovey Chronicles. You should read them.

Join McCovey Chronicles

You must be a member of McCovey Chronicles to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at McCovey Chronicles. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker