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Heat Map Observations: Game #1

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 12:07 PM

ESPN/trumedia has some fantastic data and interface that can provide some interesting insight in major league baseball. I personally cannot get enough of the stuff.

After the data was loaded from yesterday's game, I went back to review some of the heat maps and stats to see if we learned anything. Here's what we know:




Ricky Nolasco worked far too much in the middle-up area of the strike zone.

strike-zone.png


As you can see, Nolasco's pitches were staying middle-up resulting in the White Sox putting good swings on the ball and ten total hits. Three of those hits came on pitches outside of the strike zone, including Jose Abreu's sharp single on a fastball down-and-in.


Chris Sale Was Not Going To Get Hit By Oswaldo Arica

Sale vs Arcia.jpg

Last year, the left-handed hitting Arcia probably surprised everyone including Chris Sale by doing this to one of his offerings. Instead, he stayed the heck away from the middle of the plate. That approach worked as Arcia walked, struck out and bounced a 70-foot grounder.

I am sure you will see more lefties pitching Arcia off the plate like this.


Josh Willlingham's Pitch Selection Needed Work


Hammer.jpg

I cannot stress enough that this is Chris Sale, who is a damn good pitcher, as well as the first game of the year. That said, Willingham's spring has not exactly inspired. His swing/take selection in the opener leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to location, he watched four of six fastballs go by while swinging at four offspeed and breaking pitches.

#2 njweismantel

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 02:33 PM

This is my first post here but I have been reading this forum for quite some time. I am hopeful that Nolasco was just anxious as it was the start of the season, because it seems to me he was not finishing his pitches which resulted in a lot of pitches up in the zone. Hopefully, next time he will be better. As for Willingham, I am becoming more concerned with him. He did have a pretty decent swing in the 9th inning, but those swings are coming seem to be coming too few and far between. I figured Arcia might struggle a little bit going against a tough lefty in Sale, so I am not too concerned about him. Overall, Suzuki had a great game and hopefully Colabello and Hicks can have many more games like yesterday. Go Twins!!!

#3 jorgenswest

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 02:34 PM

Nolasco's pitch usage was different than his time with the Dodgers.

With the Dodgers, he was throwing the slider 30% of the time as opposed to 21.5% yesterday. That rate would be lower usage of slider than in any of his 17 Dodger starts. Instead he used the fastball more often.

It is one game. It probably has no meaning. However, Liriano's pitch usage was different with the Pirates with a significant drop in 4 seam fastball and an increase in slider and sinker usage. It may have made a difference.

source: Brooksbaseball.net

#4 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:17 PM

Great stuff Parker. Well, not so great, but you know what I mean.

I'm in full agreement with the idea that the time to be concerned with Willingham is now. I won't dispute that if we get him 600 plate appearances over the course of the season that he would hit 20+ home runs, but at what cost would that come? He made a pretty nice catch in the gap yesterday but a majority of LF do make that catch. Do we give him 300 PA in hopes he gets us a dozen homers? Same question with Kubel.

#5 Parker Hageman

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:29 PM

[COLOR=#333333]It is one game[/COLOR]


I think that is the key in all of these observations. While they may eventually become trends, they are just data points right now.

What I will be looking for is a lot of things that Kurt Suzuki told me at camp about having Nolasco fewer fastballs. Or, conversely, will Suzuki's trend of calling a high percentage of fastballs continue?

http://twinsdaily.co...p-Out-of-Suzuki

#6 cmathewson

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 03:37 PM

I was watching Gameday and had the same thought on Nolasco. He'd be ahead in the count and he'd throw one belt-high down the middle. He was lucky more guys didn't take him deep. I was also disturbed by his positive assessment of his performance in the post-game interviews. It was bad.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#7 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 04:47 PM

I was also disturbed by his positive assessment of his performance in the post-game interviews. It was bad.


Eh, sometimes a veteran needs to get himself into mental shape along with the physical. I think too many put too much stock in what a player says after a game, particularly the first game of the season.

Nolasco has been through this rodeo many times in the past. I'm sure he knows what he did wrong yesterday and is more critical of his performance than anyone on this forum (anyone reasonable, anyway).

If he wants to take away the things he did right and shrug off the things he did badly, more power to him. He gets to toe the rubber 30+ more times this season, no point in beating himself up for a mostly bad opening day start.

#8 Marta Shearing

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:33 PM

Nolasco reminded me of Liam Hendriks.

#9 ashburyjohn

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 08:42 PM

Nolasco reminded me of Liam Hendriks.


In what way? A refusal to throw breaking balls, for example? (If I'm remembering correctly.)

#10 glunn

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Posted 01 April 2014 - 09:29 PM

This is my first post here but I have been reading this forum for quite some time. I am hopeful that Nolasco was just anxious as it was the start of the season, because it seems to me he was not finishing his pitches which resulted in a lot of pitches up in the zone. Hopefully, next time he will be better. As for Willingham, I am becoming more concerned with him. He did have a pretty decent swing in the 9th inning, but those swings are coming seem to be coming too few and far between. I figured Arcia might struggle a little bit going against a tough lefty in Sale, so I am not too concerned about him. Overall, Suzuki had a great game and hopefully Colabello and Hicks can have many more games like yesterday. Go Twins!!!


Welcome, rookie. That was a nice first post.