I'm mostly taking the day off, but I imagine y'all want to know everything there is to know about Ernesto Frieri, and you want to know it now. Luckily we've got a great group of writers in this Rays community serving up Frieri takes for Turkey Day (PSA: never deep Frieri a frozen turkey).
The obvious comparison to make is between Frieri, the fly ball pitcher the Rays just signed, and Joel Peralta, the fly ball pitcher they just traded. Jason Hanselman makes that comparison on a more sophisticated level with data that gives proper context. An excerpt:
Moving on to the plate discipline stats we see that Frieri wasn’t as good at getting batters to swing out of the zone in 2014, which was a huge strength for Peralta this past season. Additionally, Peralta induced more jelly leg and frozen bats within the zone which may speak to his guile or deeper pitch mix. With Frieri you kind of know what you’re going to get, but can you muscle up while Peralta will leave you guessing and chasing. Despite those relatively high levels of zone swings for Frieri he did a tremendous job (99th percentile) of turning those swings into no contact. Both pitchers fared worse at this in 2014, but Frieri went from zone contact being his carrying tool to league average while Peralta merely showed more natural progression.
In a different vein, Frieri has some weird mechanics that he's played with over the past few years. R.J. Anderson shows how Frieri has changed with a series of pictures of his pitching form. It's a good starting point for how the Rays may go about trying to get the former closer back to his previous high level of pitching.
In case you missed it yesterday, I talked about Frieri's struggles with the home run last season, and how that's likely to regress. There's a point of clarification I'd like to make though. Extreme trends like a 17% HR/FB rate are unlikely to continue, and part of that is because they're some percentage luck -- stuff happens outside of the control of the pitcher. That's not to say that they're 100% luck. Here are the locations of Frieri's fastballs last season:
Here's a radical idea that I hope Jim Hickey and the rest of the Rays pitching machine can figure out. See all of those fastballs right down the center of the plate? Don't do that.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.