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Article: Ricky Nolasco and the Declining Strikeout Rate

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#1 Parker Hageman

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:19 PM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...-Strikeout-Rate

#2 DJL44

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 12:22 PM

Nolasco can't hit his spots. It makes sense that he falls back to fastball when he can't control his breaking pitches.

#3 Dantes929

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:25 PM

Nolasco can't hit his spots. It makes sense that he falls back to fastball when he can't control his breaking pitches.

Its true and it is a good analysis. Personally I don't care if Gibson strikes out another guy all year if he keeps his ERA at 3.5. I don't care if Nolasco strikes out 20 guys per 9 innings if his ERA stays at 5.82.

#4 darin617

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:53 PM

Maybe he is just doing what the Twins want him to do. Stop trying to strike hitters out and pitch to contact and let the great defense take care of the outs... :(

#5 cmathewson

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:23 PM

What is the typical decline in Ks in moving from the NL to the AL?
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#6 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:31 PM

If Nolasco and Gibson continue to hit bats instead of occasionally missing them, whatever feel-good sentiment I once had for Rick Anderson will be completely gone.

Or maybe it's already gone. I can't find anything good to say about him anymore.

#7 deanlambrecht

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:38 PM

If Nolasco and Gibson continue to hit bats instead of occasionally missing them, whatever feel-good sentiment I once had for Rick Anderson will be completely gone.

Or maybe it's already gone. I can't find anything good to say about him anymore.


This. Exactly.

#8 jmlease1

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:25 PM

I'm not going to worry about Gibson's K rate as much if he can the ground ball rate high and the walks don't get out of control. So far the walks are a bit higher than I'd like, but he's keeping the ball in the park and keeping the balls on the ground, so I'm not terribly worried about him. The ERA+ is good, the FIP is good, Kyle Gibson is looking like what we hoped he might be.

Nolasco needs to get more K's to be successful, however. Maybe his over-reliance on the fastball is a result of the cold weather and he'll be able to get a better feel for his breaking stuff with the weather warming up? He's got too much of a track record of success to be overly concerned, I think. If he's still 3 K's/9 below his career average at the end of May, then we need to start worrying...and Rick Anderson had better start updating his resume.

Correia is who he is at this point; I'd say he's been a little unlucky so far this season: the ERA over 6 vs the FIP under 4 tends to reflect that. He's not going to get a ton of K's, but he should be a useful 5th starter this season and the team can cheerfully let him go at the end of the season having Meyer or May more than ready to take the job.

#9 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:19 PM

Nolasco can't hit his spots. It makes sense that he falls back to fastball when he can't control his breaking pitches.


This.

#10 Joe A. Preusser

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:19 PM

If Nolasco and Gibson continue to hit bats instead of occasionally missing them, whatever feel-good sentiment I once had for Rick Anderson will be completely gone.

Or maybe it's already gone. I can't find anything good to say about him anymore.


Not this.

#11 stringer bell

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 04:22 PM

Huh? I remember at least one start, and I think a couple of others, where Nolasco couldn't get his fastball over. He had better luck with breaking balls. For Nolasco to be effective, he needs at least two pitches to be working at some level.

#12 gil4

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 07:58 PM

Its true and it is a good analysis. Personally I don't care if Gibson strikes out another guy all year if he keeps his ERA at 3.5. I don't care if Nolasco strikes out 20 guys per 9 innings if his ERA stays at 5.82.


If he doesn't he won't and if he does it won't.

#13 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:04 PM

What is the typical decline in Ks in moving from the NL to the AL?



Looking at the K/9 rates for the AL/NL over the last seven years, it comes about to about .3 less strikeouts per game in the AL over the NL, but that's over all numbers, not looking at guys who have pitched NL vs Al or vice versa.

Nolasco has never been a strikeout pitcher. I don't except him to put up 10K outings now. I don't expect that number to remain sub 5 K/9, but I don't expect him to push that back up towards his career high, 9.5 (2009). I'm more interested to see if Ricky can get anywhere near 200 innings this season. If he pitches 200 (unlikely) and strikes out 150 that puts him at 6.75 K/9, and that's a rate I'd be very happy to see from ANY Twins pitcher.

#14 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:06 PM

I can't find anything good to say about him [Rick Anderson] anymore.


I never could. I can't understand why Gardy loves him so much. I can't understand why the front office lets Gardy keep him for so long, and I can't understand why the Pohlads are happy with the front office keeping gardy keeping Rick Anderson.

#15 Linus

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:09 PM

I can't wait until we get onto the next fad. Strikeouts are not the be all / end all. I think we all get that they are handy to get out of jams but many guys have been successful in this league with variety and excellent control. My bigger concern with both pitchers isn't the lack of strikeouts but with the lack of control. Gibson is close, however. He has thrown a bunch of pitches that have not missed by much.

#16 gil4

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:35 PM

I can't wait until we get onto the next fad. Strikeouts are not the be all / end all. I think we all get that they are handy to get out of jams but many guys have been successful in this league with variety and excellent control. My bigger concern with both pitchers isn't the lack of strikeouts but with the lack of control. Gibson is close, however. He has thrown a bunch of pitches that have not missed by much.


Very few pitcher with low strikeout rates have long-term success. They are not quire the be all/end all, but they are close. K/BB and K% are the best predictors of future success.

#17 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:24 AM

I never could. I can't understand why Gardy loves him so much. I can't understand why the front office lets Gardy keep him for so long, and I can't understand why the Pohlads are happy with the front office keeping gardy keeping Rick Anderson.


Well, for a long time Anderson was using a different form of MoneyBall, an efficient way to get production from not-very-talented or flawed players: avoid the walk at all costs.

The problem is that he's no longer convincing his pitchers to avoid walks and they're still not striking people out.

Back in the day, Anderson got solid seasons from some pretty terrible pitchers. In the past four years, nearly every pitcher on the staff has underperformed. Outside of Deduno, there isn't a single success story in the rotation.

That makes it really hard to defend him, even for those of us who, while not Anderson "fans", didn't think he was awful.

#18 nicksaviking

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 07:49 AM

I never could. I can't understand why Gardy loves him so much. I can't understand why the front office lets Gardy keep him for so long, and I can't understand why the Pohlads are happy with the front office keeping gardy keeping Rick Anderson.


Well he's been with the organization for decades and seems to be among Gardy's closest friends. It's much easier for us to look at the rational side of these issues, but I think it's actually pretty easy to understand why Gardy and company don't want to part with him.

I don't agree with them, but I can empathize with them.

#19 tobi0040

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:00 AM

I'm not going to worry about Gibson's K rate as much if he can the ground ball rate high and the walks don't get out of control. So far the walks are a bit higher than I'd like, but he's keeping the ball in the park and keeping the balls on the ground, so I'm not terribly worried about him. The ERA+ is good, the FIP is good, Kyle Gibson is looking like what we hoped he might be.

Nolasco needs to get more K's to be successful, however. Maybe his over-reliance on the fastball is a result of the cold weather and he'll be able to get a better feel for his breaking stuff with the weather warming up? He's got too much of a track record of success to be overly concerned, I think. If he's still 3 K's/9 below his career average at the end of May, then we need to start worrying...and Rick Anderson had better start updating his resume.

Correia is who he is at this point; I'd say he's been a little unlucky so far this season: the ERA over 6 vs the FIP under 4 tends to reflect that. He's not going to get a ton of K's, but he should be a useful 5th starter this season and the team can cheerfully let him go at the end of the season having Meyer or May more than ready to take the job.


I think Gibson's ERA is a mirage at this point. His ground ball rate is 48.8%, below even last years 50.3%. If he is going to succeed in this league that number needs to be much higher. He is striking out 4 per 9 and walking 4 per 9. Neither of those are good. Given that 52% of the balls hit have been fly balls, his zero HR allowed seems a bit lucky, as does his low .273 BABIP.

I am high on him in the long term, but he has not pitched anywhere near that ERA to this point. Closer to his xFIP of 5.06.

http://www.fangraphs...0123&position=P

Nolasco seems to be the victim of bad luck. His ground ball rate of 48% this year is quite a bit higher than his career 42%, yet his BABIP of .342 is quite a bit higher than his career .308 (odd). His xFIP of 4.60 is much closer to his career ERA than his current 5.82.

Edited by tobi0040, 07 May 2014 - 08:33 AM.


#20 tobi0040

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:05 AM

I never could. I can't understand why Gardy loves him so much. I can't understand why the front office lets Gardy keep him for so long, and I can't understand why the Pohlads are happy with the front office keeping gardy keeping Rick Anderson.


I think Rick's standing in the league has been benefitted from the Twins drafting and developing philosophy. For years I believe the niche we found was drafting pitchers with good control, because they were "undervalued" and would never command huge dollars, i.e. we could afford them. So Rick had staffs year in and year out that put up pretty decent numbers without many huge names.

Ultimately, as many or more players have left and been more successful than have found more success here. Which is a way to evaluate a pitching coach in my opinion. I also think Anderson gets the credit for Johan, when it was Cueller who taught him the change up.

#21 Siehbiscuit

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 09:30 AM

Don't forget about the Suzuki Effect! There was a pre-season article here on TD about his propensity to call more fastballs than other catchers. He may be over-emphasizing the fastball for Nolasco, but it could be the reason Gibson and Hughes are having success. Just a thought.

#22 tobi0040

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 09:58 AM

Don't forget about the Suzuki Effect! There was a pre-season article here on TD about his propensity to call more fastballs than other catchers. He may be over-emphasizing the fastball for Nolasco, but it could be the reason Gibson and Hughes are having success. Just a thought.


We were also told to expect better framing. I would think that would create more strikeouts. Our guys should be getting more called third strikes and be ahead in the count more often. Hughes is at his normal k rate and Gibson and Nolasco are down.

Edited by tobi0040, 07 May 2014 - 10:25 AM.


#23 DJL44

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 10:39 AM

It is hard to frame Nolasco's pitches if he can't hit the mitt.

#24 ND-Fan

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 11:19 AM

This very small sample size and lets look at circumstances the Twins have played in this year. Nolasco strikeout pitch is the curveball what have twins played in this year but cold weather and with this cold weather its hard for pitcher to get a feel for the ball when youre freezing. Also I think it takes something off of their fast ball to so spreads between pitchers pitches become less. Also he's in new league trying to learn batters plus facing DH which changes the numbers. Another thing too the Twins defense in outfield has not been stellar and doesn't look to improve much near future. I willing to bet his statisics by year end will be prettly close to carreer norms except for figuring in the DH VS pitcher hitting.

#25 cmathewson

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 06:38 PM

If Nolasco and Gibson continue to hit bats instead of occasionally missing them, whatever feel-good sentiment I once had for Rick Anderson will be completely gone.

Or maybe it's already gone. I can't find anything good to say about him anymore.


If this continues, they'll eventually run out of patience with him and his boss. It's about three years overdue for me.
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#26 Thrylos

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 07:11 PM

I think that Nolasco just read this post before his start tonight ;)

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#27 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 07:29 PM

Ricky got mad that we were criticizing his K rate, so he dropped a 9 spot. Next week's post: Ricky Nolasco and the elevating earned run rate. Hopefully he will respond in kind.

#28 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:18 PM

I think he heard you...