Exploring the Arsenal: A Preview of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Probable Starting Pitchers

Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each series, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitchers expected to oppose the Pirates. The charts below show the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2011. These charts are from the catcher’s point of view. For a general guide to pitch types for a right-handed pitcher, please check out this image created by Sons of Sam Horn. Graphs are courtesy of FanGraphs.

Pitch Types
FA: Four-Seam Fastball FT: Two-Seam Fastball FC: Cutter
CU: Curveball SL: Slider CH: Changeup
FS: Splitter

 

Friday, 7:05 PM – Cole Hamels

(click to enlarge)

It is difficult to identify any major flaws in Hamels’ game. He throws a four-seam fastball, a cutter, a curve and a changeup. His fastball does not seem all that special on the surface, sitting in the low 90’s with limited movement. However, he effectively misses bats with the pitch, probably due to his exceptional command and impressive secondary pitches. Hamels has one of the top changeups in baseball, and he goes to it more than 20% of the time. His whiff rate on the change has approached an absurd 50% the past couple of seasons, making it one of the most difficult MLB pitches to put into play. His slow curve sits in the mid 80’s and his cutter averages in the upper 80’s.

 

Saturday, 7:05 PM – Kyle Kendrick

(click to enlarge)

Kendrick has spent most of the season in the Phillies’ bullpen, as Saturday will be just his third start of the year. He has unspectacular stuff, starting with a sinking two-seam fastball that averages right around 90 MPH. The pitch does show good arm-side tail, but he does not miss many bats with it. Kendrick also throws a cutter/slider that sits in the mid 80’s and a changeup that generally comes in a few ticks slower. He does not have much variety in his repertoire, as he does not throw a classic breaking ball.

 

Sunday, 1:35 PM – Roy Halladay

(click to enlarge)

Halladay thoroughly mixes five distinct pitches on the mound. He effectively throws his four-seam fastball to all four quandrants of the strike zone. He gets excellent movement on his sinking two-seamer, which he mostly utilizes in on the hands of right-handed hitters. In the past, Halladay would throw his cutter to both righties and lefties, almost exclusively locating it in on lefties and away from righties. However, he has moved it all around the strike zone the past couple years. All three of these pitches sit comfortably in the low 90’s. He also throws a changeup in the low to mid 80’s with good sinking action and a slow curve in the upper 70’s. Halladay pitches to contact with the four-seam/two-seam/cutter trio, generating approximately league average whiff rates with those three pitches. The curve/change combo is his knockout punch, with a 2011 whiff rate over 40% for both.

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Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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