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The opening series from Pitch F/X's eyes

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We have three days of baseball under our belts. Not enough to read anything into the position players. (Sorry, but it's true. Freaking out over Magglio Ordonez, Alex Avilla, Ryan Raburn, Will Rhymes, or anyone else is just a waste of your energy.) But there's enough information to at least glance at PitchF/X data for the pitchers.

For instance, remember how Phil Coke didn't have much velocity on his fastball in spring training? It averaged 92.6 mph Sunday. How often did Brad Penny use his splitter? Quite a bit, it appears.

So here's a quick trip around interesting data points, courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net's tool.

  • Phil Coke averaged 92.6 mph on Sunday with a peak at 93.4 mph. He threw his four-seamer 68% of the time and got two swinging strikes on 17 times throwing it.
  • Meanwhile, Max Scherzer maxed out at 95.8 mph. He got swinging strikes 6.5% of the time with the four-seamer, 17.6% with the changup and 11.7% with his slider.
  • Joquin Benoit earned a "hold" on Sunday. He maxed at 94 mph and went almost exclusively four-seam fastball.
  • There was much talk about the home plate umpire on Saturday. But looking at his normalized strike zone, it looks like the net result was actually more favorable toward the Tigers. Below is the chart. Red triangles mean the Tigers pitcher got the called strike. Red squares means the Yankees pitcher got the called strike. Green triangles were thrown by a Tiger; green squares by a Yankee.

Saturday_strike_zone_medium

  • Brad Penny's average velocity was 92.2 mph, down from the 94 he had the last two years. He maintained the approximate rate of usage for his split finger, which was about 27% of the time according to Fangraphs.com.
  • Brayan Villarreal averaged 93.9 mph and maxed at 95 during his major league debut. Fifty percent were thrown for strikes, none of them caused a swing and a miss.
  • Daniel Schlereth didn't even average 90 mph on his fastball. It was close: 89.6 mph, and he threw it 7 out of 8 pitches. By the way, Schlereth averaged 93.1 mph in his first season in the MLB, 91.8 his first season with the Tigers . (Fangraphs)
  • Justin Verlander is awesome. He maxed at 97+ mph and had 12 whiffs. His changeup got the highest rate of swinging strikes at 13% but both his four and two seam fastball and his curveball were above 10% whiff rates.