Friday, August 12, 2011
Is the Bloom Off the Rose Of Colon?
Since his return from the DL, Bartolo Colon has been a bit less effective than he was prior to going on the DL. Here are his splits as a starter through yesterday.
bf: batters faced
fip: Fielding independent pitching
xfip: Expected fip (uses league average hr/fb rate instead of actual hr)
fb% Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
gb% Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
ld% Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
bb/bf: walks per batters faced
k/bf: strikeouts per batters faced
babip: batting average on balls in play
A few things stand out to me.
1) He was outpitching his peripherals prior going to the DL and it was probably not sustainable.
2) Since returning he’s walking batters more frequently and striking them out less frequently.
3) He’s traded some ground balls for line drives (not a good trade).
4) Despite all that, his peripherals since July 2 are still decent
Since we’re talking about breaking up an already small sample size of 108 innings into even smaller chunks of 67 and 41 innings, we really can’t say with any certainty what Colon is right now. So my next thought was to look at his Pitch FX data and see if there were any obvious differences.
First column for each pitch type (FF = Four-seam fastball, FT = Two-seam fastball, SL = slider, CH = changeup) is percentage of times he threw each pitch by month and the second column for each pitch type is the average velocity for that month.
There can be some ambiguity in pitch classifications, so I don’t know if he really did throw the two-seam fastball 50% of the time in June. Aside from that, the numbers seem fairly consistent in terms of average velocities and percentage of each pitch thype thrown.
So how about the results of the pitches?
Ball: Pitches that missed the strike zone, includes HBP, pitchouts
Str_C: Called strikes
Str_S: Swinging strikes, includes missed bunts
Foul: All fouls including outs
In play: All balls hit into play, including HRs
Seems like he’s still got command and his percentage of pitches that were balls has remained fairly steady. The percentage of called strikes is down this month and that seems to be in line with the uptick in both foul balls and balls in play.
So I think what we’re seeing here is batters starting to be a bit more aggressive as an adjustment to the fact that Colon has pounded the strike zone heavily. I’m sure we’re also seeing that Colon was pitching over his head earlier this year and is moving closer to what would be a reasonable expectation.
As long as he can stay in the general vicinity of his season performance to data, that shouldn’t be a problem. I do continue to worry about his avaiability over the rest of the season, but at this point you keep your fingers crossed and hope.
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