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Do the Twins have the proper motivation to deny Detroit t...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:52 PM
Well all they have left to play for this year is playing the role of spoiler and trying to deny the Detroit Tigers the central divis...
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Game Thread: Twins v Tigers, 9/16 @ 7:10pm CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:49 PM
Game-time forecast: Clear. Winds blowing in from right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Temperature around 60.   TIGERS: SP, Porcello...
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So....May...what now?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:46 PM
I gotta ask, what do you think now? For months there has been debate about the Twins rotation and future rotation. There has been opinion...
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How long does a rebuild take?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:23 PM
It's apparent that a lot of fans are sick and tired of all the losing. Many are frustrated that the rebuild Terry Ryan has undertaken...
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Casey Fien, is he toast and a goat or just an aberration?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:23 PM
Lately Casey Fien has seemed more and more like the Twins are "tossing in the Davis" than a quality relief pitcher. These last few weeks...
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Ricky Nolasco and the Declining Strikeout Rate

Attached Image: RN.jpg The Minnesota Twins’ starting pitching shortage of strikeouts has continued into 2014.

That’s not anything new but it makes you wonder if the fumes from the garbage burner are causing pitchers to simply lob the ball into the strike zone. As of Tuesday, the Twins were owners of the bottom three strikeout rates in the American League.

Attached Image: Krate.png
While Kevin Correia and Kyle Gibson are thought of as contact-oriented pitchers, it is Ricky Nolasco’s inclusion on the list which is a bit surprising. After all, Nolasco held a 19% strikeout rate over his career. Though a drop in the strikeout rate is expected during the switch in leagues and pitchers have to face a designated hitter instead of a car antenna-swinging pitcher, the drop from 20% in 2013 to 11% so far in 2014 has been curious.

Nolasco has been able to get to a two-strike count regularly, however, he has failed to put hitters away at an expected pace. According to ESPN/TruMedia, Nolasco leads all qualified starters with a .295 batting average in two-strike situations (he also owns a .333 average in 0-2 counts this year!!!)(!!!!!!).

Attached Image: BAA.png

What is happening?

The most notable difference between last year and this year is his reliance on the fastball instead of either of his breaking balls. After throwing 35%/65% fastball/secondary split in two-strike counts in 2013, he’s throwing at a 44%/56% split this year – and his fastball has been hammered. When he throws the fastball in two-strike situations, opponents are hitting .429 (9-for-21 with 3 doubles).

Another interesting aspect to this strikeout drop-off is his curveball usage. More than the usage, it is the effectiveness which is more cause for concern. Last year he posted a 25% swing-and-miss rate, that’s down to 7% this year.

Who knows where this change is coming from – coaching staff, catcher or Nolasco himself. As he mentioned in spring training, Nolasco knows he has the final say to what is thrown in what situation. As of now, he has not been effective in what should be put-away situations.

At the very least, it probably is time to reconsider what he is tossing in two-strike counts.

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