Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Cubs’ 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, 2:20 PM – Ryan Dempster

(click to enlarge)

Dempster’s fastball sits around 90 MPH, and can touch the 93-94 range. He also throws a mid 80′s slider and a low 80′s changeup. The slider and change are his best strikeout pitches, as both generate a very good number of swings-and-misses. Overall, Dempster is not missing as many bats this season as he has in the past. His whiff rate is just a tick above league average, whereas he has generally been among the league leaders. Nevertheless, he is still striking out over 22% of opposing hitters, an excellent rate.


Saturday, 1:05 PM – Casey Coleman

(click to enlarge)

Coleman has an over-the-top delivery, although he will drop down closer to three-quarters on occasion. His fastball averages about 90 MPH, and can sometimes touch the 93-94 MPH range. He also throws a slurvy upper 70’s breaking ball that occasionally gets up into the 80’s, as well as a low 80’s change. His fastball and changeup are both very hittable, while his breaking ball generates a decent number of swings-and-misses. Overall, he does not miss many bats, he walks plenty of hitters, and he struggles to keep the ball on the ground. That is not a good combination and, fittingly, his results this year have been poor.


Sunday, 2:20 PM – Randy Wells

(click to enlarge)

Wells’ fastball velocity is down this year, hovering in the 88 MPH range. That being said, it has improved over the course of the season, and his four-seamer was at 88-92 MPH in his last start on August 29th in San Francisco. He throws both a four-seam fastball and a sinking two-seamer. He also mixes in a changeup and slider, both of which sit in the low 80′s. He uses the change heavily against left-handed batters, but is not afraid to go to it against righties as well. Wells does a decent job of missing bats, particularly with his secondary stuff, but his strikeout rate has fallen comfortably below average this year.

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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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