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Improvements out of Nolasco

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:54 AM

Earlier this week I took a look at why Ricky Nolasco’s strikeout rate was well below par for him to start the season. More concerning to me, in addition to the lowly strikeout rate was that his average in two-strike situations was grotesque.

The source for these struggles appeared to be the reluctance to use his breaking pitches with two-strikes:

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).


Now, after striking out six against the Orioles and his season-high nine punchouts against the Indians on Wednesday, Nolasco’s strikeout rate has crept up from 11% to 14%. The catalyst behind that is the increased usage of his breaking balls.

Take a look at the difference according to ESPN/TruMedia:

[TABLE]
[TR]
[TD="colspan: 5, align: center"]NOLASCO IN 2-STRIKE COUNTS[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD][/TD]
[TD="align: center"]Innings[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]Fastball%[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]Strikeouts[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]Batting Average Against[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]1st 5 starts:[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]29.2[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]46%[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]13[/TD]
[TD="align: center"].362[/TD]
[/TR]
[TR]
[TD]Last 2 starts:[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]15[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]27%[/TD]
[TD="align: center"]15[/TD]
[TD="align: center"].107[/TD]
[/TR]
[/TABLE]

Good signs out of the Twins’ highest-paid free agent.

#2 CRArko

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:15 AM

People may notice and possibly appreciate this after the roster issues are figured out. It is good news.
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#3 KTryan

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:20 AM

I think part of this may have been the fact that he pitched his first couple games in terrible weather. Don't forget that these stats don't happen in a vacuum! I assume it might be a little harder getting a feel for breaking pitches in the cold, especially for a guy coming Florida and LA.

Of course, it could just be the whole "You eally got to establish that fast-ball" mentality.