Every pitcher has a go to pitch. That pitch they go to when the need a big out in a tight game. The pitch they aren’t afraid to throw with the season on the line.
A lot of guys who with the heater, some with the hook. But who goes with each pitch the most. In other words, who leads the league in throwing certain pitches?
For qualified starting pitchers, Mr. Fastball is Indians righthander Justin Masterson who went to the fastball 80.7% of the time in 2012. His only other pitch was his slider, which accounted for the rest. Certainly sounds like someone who should be facing righties out the pen, but the Indians don’t have a lot of options.
Madison Bumgarner is the man to know if you like sliders, as he throws them a whopping 39.0% of the time. He matches that with a fastball and the very occasional curve and changeup.
The cutter belongs to Dan Haren who goes to that pitch 35.6% of the time. No one else even tops 30.0%.
34.1% is the top mark for curveballs and that belongs to the Pirates’ AJ Burnett who sets the pace by more than 3.0%.
James Shields topped teammate Jeremy Hellickson in a close race, 28.9% to 28.3%, when it comes to throwing changeups in 2012. Maybe the Rays catchers just like calling them.
Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardjiza is the man to know if you like splitters as he goes to that pitch 18.6% of the time.
You’ll never guess who owns the knuckleball category. It’s a guy named R.A. Dickey, who floated a knuckler 85.4% of the time. The story here is that no other qualified starter threw one at all.
If you like velocity, here are the average highs/lows for each pitch:
FB: David Price 95.5, R.A. Dickey 83.4
SL: Madison Bumgarner 87.5, Bronson Arroyo 76.1
CT: Edwin Jackson 92.6, Mark Buehrle 82.9
CB: Lucas Harrell 83.1, Bronson Arroyo 71.2
CH: Felix Hernandez 88.7, Barry Zito 75.0
SF: Yu Darvish 87.7, Ricky Nolasco 80.8
This doesn’t tell us who has the best of each pitch, but it tells us something. And that’s all we try to do here at STT, give you more information about the game we all love.
Only 134 days until Opening Day.