The Nine Pitchers Who Slowed Their Pace The Most in 2013

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

That’s a long headline but a simple topic. Which pitchers have increased their average time between pitches the most this year? Below I will present the The Nine pitchers with the largest increases from 2012 to 2013 among those who have thrown 100 innings in both seasons. I will also provide some descriptive stats about the entire sample because for whatever reason, I find “Pace” to be very interesting. Pace is housed over at FanGraphs and here is a link to the current rankings. For 2013, the slowest qualifying starter is Jeremy Hellickson who takes 25.7 seconds between pitches. RA Dickey is the quickest at 17.8, with league average at 22.6.

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You can see that Pace is pretty consistent and that last year’s pace is a pretty good predictor of this year’s pace with an r squared of .72, meaning that about 72% of the variation in 2013 Pace can be explained by 2012 pace. Below are the players who most buck that trend.

Rank Name Pace Diff K/9 d BB/9 d ERA d FIP d
9 Jerome Williams 1.8 -0.6 0.9 0.22 0.69
8 Dillon Gee 1.9 -1.2 -0.1 -0.50 0.25
7 Kyle Kendrick 2.0 -1.4 -0.7 0.55 -0.34
6 Madison Bumgarner 2.0 0.3 0.7 -0.53 -0.26
5 Adam Wainwright 2.1 -0.1 -1.2 -1.36 -0.77
4 Anibal Sanchez 2.1 2.1 0.4 -1.41 -1.19
3 Jarrod Parker 2.3 -0.6 -0.2 0.24 0.82
2 Joe Blanton 2.7 -0.5 0.5 1.41 1.21
1 David Price 3.0 -1.5 -1.2 0.73 0.26

Positive numbers indicated an increase in 2013 over 2012. For example, Anibal Sanchez’s K/9 is up 2.1 and his FIP is down 1.19. What’s interesting is some pitchers who have slowed down have improved and some have gotten worse. Some have added Ks and BBs, some have cut both, and some have gone in opposite directions. Pretty much, this doesn’t seem very useful in predicting performance.

It’s interesting, though, that on this list we have some elite pitchers and some back end guys. I’m not sure if there is a clear take away from this other than that Pace probably doesn’t correlate that much with anything that has to do with performance on a broad scale and that it matters a lot to each pitcher but it matters in different ways. Let’s just take a quick look at FIP- up against Pace for 2013 qualifiers to illustrate that point:

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Oh well, I’m still going to pretend it matters. It matters to fans, at least.

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