Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Reds’ 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


Monday, 7:05 PM – Dontrelle Willis

(2010 pitches)

(click to enlarge)

The issue with Willis has always been his erratic control. He seems to have made some progress in that area this year, as he has cut his walk rate dramatically at Triple-A Columbus. He does not miss many bats, and has historically posted below average strikeout rates at the major league level. That is not a recipe for success for a pitcher who walks as many as the D-Train walks. Willis throws with a three-quarters delivery, and still possesses his trademark high leg kick. His fastball sits in the high 80’s and occasionally touches 90 MPH with solid movement. He also throws a low 80’s curve and a mid 80’s changeup. The classification system used by FanGraphs also has him throwing a curve and cutter, but I think those may just be misclassified sliders.


Tuesday, 7:05 PM – Mike Leake

(click to enlarge)

Leake does not have overwhelming stuff, with a fastball that sits in the upper 80’s and rarely touches 90 MPH. His bread and butter is a two-seamer with heavy sink, which allows him to generate a ton of ground balls. He makes heavy use of his cutter, which also has good sinking movement. He misses bats with an above average slider, but the rest of his pitches are pretty hittable. Leake throws a changeup in the low 80’s and an occasional curve in the mid 70’s.


Wednesday, 12:35 PM – Johnny Cueto

(click to enlarge)

Cueto is a power pitcher who throws in the low 90’s and can touch as high as 96 MPH. His fastball is a quality strikeout pitch, but his secondary stuff is pretty hittable. He does not have a very diverse arsenal, generally sticking to the fastball/slider combo and mixing in an occasional changeup. Both offspeed offerings sit in the mid 80’s. Cueto’s ground ball rate has taken a large step forward this season, jumping from below average to well above the league mark.

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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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  • http://twitter.com/InClementeWthr Ed Giles

    Just FYI, the Reds’ AAA team is Louisville, not Columbus (Indians). Thanks for doing these every series, Matt.

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