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

 

Friday, 7:05 PM – Homer Bailey

(click to enlarge)

Bailey’s fastball sits in the low 90’s and can get up in the 95-96 range on occasion. He has gone to the heater less frequently this year than he has in previous seasons, choosing to lean much more heavily on his hard mid 80’s slider. He also throws a mid 70’s curve and a mid 80’s change. The slider has been more effective with the increased usage in 2011. Opposing hitters have offered at the pitch more often, leading to more swings and misses. Bailey generally attacks right-handed batters with the fastball/slider combo, while varying his pitches much more against lefties. He has struggled against left-handers this season, an issue that had not really caused him many problems in previous years.

 

Saturday, 4:10 PM – Dontrelle Willis

(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 both at Triple-A Columbus and in seven starts with the Reds. He does not miss many bats, and has historically posted below average strikeout rates at the major league level. Willis throws with a three-quarters delivery, and has cut down on his trademark high leg kick a bit. His fastball sits in the high 80’s with solid movement, occasionally getting into the low 90’s . He also throws a slider around 80 MPH and a mid 80’s changeup. The classification system used by FanGraphs also has him throwing a cutter, but I think those may just be misclassified sliders.

 

Sunday, 1:35 PM – Mike Leake

(click to enlarge)

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

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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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