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Bullpen Pitch Arsenal Scores

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I took a look at the Mariners' starting rotation using Pitch Arsenal Scores. Based on individual pitch types, we're able to see which pitchers have the best pitches to call on to get batters out. It has its limitations -- it doesn't account for called strike rate, Zone%, or ability to induce weak contact -- but it's valuable in that it shows us which pitchers are reliably able to force batters to swing and miss or pound the ball into the ground.

For the relievers, I adjusted the league averages to account for the different sample. Relievers are able to generate much higher whiff rates as they regularly enjoy the platoon advantage and are throwing at near maximum effort. I also adjusted the weights I assigned to whiff rate and groundball rates based on their correlation with the sample's ERA, SIERA, and xFIP.

I also have to note that sample size becomes more of a problem with relievers. I still maintained the 100-pitch minimum when assigning a score to specific pitches. The graphs will still show pitches under that limit to give you an idea of where they might score but for the actual calculation of the Pitch Arsenal Score, I left them out.

On to the data!

Fernando Rodney

Pitch

Velocity

Frequency

Whiff/Swing

GB/FB

Pitch Score

Fastball

96.43

11.9%

21.2%

1.80

0.16

Sinker

95.52

56.2%

16.1%

4.62

0.12

Change

83.14

31.9%

45.8%

1.42

0.52

0.80

Rodney_PAgraph

Our venerable closer checks in with an arsenal almost a standard deviation above average. He's able to generate an above average whiff rate with all of his pitches, though none of them are outstanding. Still, the sum of three above average pitches makes for a deadly arsenal.

Danny Farquhar

Pitch

Velocity

Frequency

Whiff/Swing

GB/FB

Pitch Score

Fastball

94.42

13.1%

31.9%

0.67

1.02

Sinker

93.79

7.6%

25.7%

1.43

Cutter

90.19

56.5%

18.2%

2.43

-0.45

Curveball

76.56

15.8%

40.7%

1.14

0.07

Change

85.41

7.0%

52.9%

4.00

0.64

Farquhar_PAgraph

Danny Farquhar's Arsenal Score suffers from the sample size demons. Both his sinker and his changeup rate excellently, but since he doesn't throw them that often, they aren't calculated into his overall Pitch Arsenal Score. It's also interesting to note that Farquhar's cutter -- the pitch that advanced his reinvention -- scores the lowest by this metric. He doesn't really use it as an out pitch so the fact that it doesn't generate many whiffs is okay.

Tom Wilhelmsen

Pitch

Velocity

Frequency

Whiff/Swing

GB/FB

Pitch Score

Fastball

96.06

43.2%

24.7%

1.94

0.53

Sinker

96.68

14.9%

23.2%

6.50

1.12

Cutter

91.68

6.8%

29.7%

2.00

Slider

87.88

11.6%

30.4%

1.67

-0.52

Curveball

78.92

14.9%

37.5%

5.67

0.19

Change

88.75

8.5%

44.4%

4.80

1.32

Wilhelmsen_PAgraph

Wilhelmsen started throwing his slider in earnest this last year and it hasn't done him any favors. All five of his other pitches grade out very well. Although he's known for his big sweeping curveball, it's definitely not his best pitch by this metric. It looks like this is another case where the limitations of Pitch Arsenal rear their head. Wilhelmsen has generally been able to run fairly high called strike rates with his curve as he uses it mainly to freeze batters who are thinking about his mid-90's fastballs.

Yoervis Medina

Pitch

Velocity

Frequency

Whiff/Swing

GB/FB

Pitch Score

Fastball

95.73

19.6%

14.8%

2.71

-0.32

Sinker

95.57

47.8%

17.8%

3.47

0.24

Curveball

86.01

31.9%

47.5%

2.17

0.53

0.45

Medina_PAgraph

When I think about Yoervis Medina's curveball, I think about this pitch.

Sure, that's a called strike and he misses his location completely, but that's just nasty. He's also able to generate his fair share of whiffs with his curve too, making it the best pitch in his arsenal.

Charlie Furbush

Pitch

Velocity

Frequency

Whiff/Swing

GB/FB

Pitch Score

Fastball

92.82

47.3%

22.0%

1.38

0.16

Sinker

91.83

9.1%

25.9%

1.00

Slider

81.84

37.8%

42.1%

1.86

0.19

Curveball

78.89

5.6%

25.0%

0.50

0.35

Furbush_PAgraph

Charlie Furbush's curveball and sinker are vastly different. He's able generate a huge amount of whiffs with one and very few with the other. He doesn't throw either of them very often so they don't skew his Arsenal Score, but if he did throw them more, I'd like to think that they'd just cancel each other out.

Dominic Leone

Pitch

Velocity

Frequency

Whiff/Swing

GB/FB

Pitch Score

Fastball

95.42

49.7%

20.8%

2.73

0.28

Sinker

94.94

6.0%

25.0%

0.00

Cutter

90.78

21.4%

33.0%

3.67

1.12

Slider

84.09

18.4%

46.5%

5.25

0.89

Change

88.19

4.4%

33.3%

4.00

2.29

Leone_PAgraph

This was the biggest surprise for me. Dominic Leone was able to generate a huge amount of whiffs with three of his pitches. On top of that, his batted ball profile trended towards grounders more than fly balls (except for his sinker, oddly enough). His cutter and slider are deadly weapons and are the main reasons why righties had just a .229 wOBA against him last year.