Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Astros’ 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, 1:35 PM – Henry Sosa

(click to enlarge)

The 26-year-old Sosa made his major league debut with the Astros earlier this month, after spending much of the season pitching out of the bullpen for the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate in Fresno. He is a former top prospect, but has struggled with injuries and inconsistencies the past few years. Sosa throws hard, with a fastball that sits comfortably in the low 90′s and can get up into the 96-97 MPH range. He also throws a breaking ball that registers as a slider on FanGraphs, but is actually a hard curveball. Sosa has a mid 80′s changeup, but he only rarely goes to it. He has a very live arm, and can be tough to hit when he locates. Inconsistent command and the lack of a quality third pitch have certainly been issues. He shut down the Pirates over six innings last Tuesday.

 

Tuesday, 7:05 PM – Brett Myers

(click to enlarge)

Myers’ fastball, which has historically sat in the 89-90 MPH range as a starting pitcher, has lost a tick of velocity this season. For most of the year, he has averaged right around 88 MPH, occasionally cracking the 90 MPH mark. His big-breaking mid-70′s curveball is his only real swing-and-miss pitch. He also throws a slider and a change, both of which sit in the low 80′s. It looks like Myers has added an upper 80’s cutter this year, which he throws over 20% of the time.

 

Wednesday, 7:05 PM – J.A. Happ

(click to enlarge)

Happ possesses a pretty diverse repertoire. His fastball generally sits around 90 MPH, and occasionally shows decent arm-side movement. After seeing a dip in velocity early in the season, his fastball speed has steadily increased. He was comfortably into the 91-92 MPH range for a few starts last month. Happ also throws a changeup in the low 80′s, a slider in the mid 80′s and a slow curve in the mid 70′s. He does not miss many bats, but still manages to consistently produce solid strikeout rates. After a few strong seasons, his high walk rate and fly ball tendencies appear to be catching up to him this year.

Share This Article

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.

Wrapping Up the 2011 Minor League Season

Next Story »

Indians End Their Season With Loss But Locke Strikes Out 6

Latest Analysis

  • Tyler Glasnow

    The Change That Will Help Tyler Glasnow Reach His Upside

    21 hours ago

    The 2011 draft made headlines for the Pittsburgh Pirates for two main reasons. They selected Gerrit Cole first overall, and gave him a record-setting bonus of $8 ...

    Read More
  • Jameson Taillon

    The Next Steps in Jameson Taillon’s Tommy John Rehab Process

    2 days ago

    Jameson Taillon threw a bullpen session yesterday, which I outlined in the daily recap. Taillon is still in “rehab mode” as Clint Hurdle put it, which means ...

    Read More
  • Sean Rodriguez

    The Keys to Sean Rodriguez Being a Productive Hitter

    3 days ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates added Sean Rodriguez at a high cost this off-season. They traded promising pitching prospect Buddy Borden to the Rays, getting Rodriguez in return after ...

    Read More
  • Elias Diaz taking batting practice.

    How Elias Diaz Quickly Became the Catcher of the Future

    4 days ago

    Elias Diaz has always been well-regarded for his defense. Baseball America named him the best defensive catcher in the Florida State League in 2013, and the best defensive ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Is Vance Worley the Most Under-Rated Pitcher in the Pirates’ Rotation?

    4 days ago

    For the second year in a row, Vance Worley enters Spring Training trying to compete for one of the final spots in the rotation. This time around, ...

    Read More
  • Corey Hart

    Corey Hart Discusses His Knees, Last Year’s Hitting, and Joining the Pirates

    5 days ago

    Up until a few years ago, Corey Hart was a dangerous hitter. From 2010-2012 he had a .279/.343/.514 line, averaging 29 home runs per season. To put ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More

    Advertisement