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Matt Garza's Slider is Filthy

These are all pitches thrown at least 200 times (except in Wade Davis' case, the limit was 50). Note: Whiff% is (Swinging Strikes/Total Pitches)*100 and rounded to two decimal points.


To avoid making this a data dump, here's some commentary:

  • James Shields doesn't have wowing stuff. If you've watched him since 2006 then the newness factor has also wore off. In ways he's undervalued by his own fan base because when watching him few things amaze you. He's a workhouse, a pretty dependable one, but he throws a fastball that averages a little over 90 MPH and an assortment of other pitches. Somehow, someway, Shields has three pitches within the top six. The change-up that made him, a curve, and his cutter. His slider and other fastballs rank far lower and seem to contribute to his so-so reputation. It doesn't help that when he seems to miss with those pitches they wind up in the sky and land far away either.
  • Matt Garza has the most contactless pitch on staff. The pitches people really know him for - his hard heat and knee-buckling curve - are less impressive. This seems odd.
  • Wade Davis is just as human as anyone else in this list, he just looks better while pitching. Small sample size and all, I'm not sure how he can possess this stuff and have such mediocre whiff rates in Durham.
  • Jeff Niemann uses his fastball something like 70% of the time. This is bad because A) he becomes predictable and B) it's his worst pitch. Unsurprisingly, it rates near the bottom of the list. Shields has probably never heard of DRB, but please, James, if you're somehow reading this, teach Niemann the ways of working around your fastball.
  • David Price's change-up was his least hittable pitch. What?