Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Diamondbacks’ 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, 9:40 PM – Ian Kennedy

(click to enlarge)

Kennedy’s fastball sits right around 90 MPH, occasionally getting up into the 93-94 range. His low 80’s changeup is his out pitch, as hitters come up empty on about a third of all offerings at the pitch. He actually throws it more often to righties than he does to lefties, which is rare for a right-handed pitcher. Righties also seem to have more trouble putting the pitch in play. Kennedy’s repertoire is filled out with a mid 80’s slider and an upper 70’s curve. He has struck out over 20% of opposing hitters since joining the Diamondbacks prior to the 2010 season.

 

Tuesday, 9:40 PM – Daniel Hudson

(click to enlarge)

Hudson keeps things pretty simple on the mound. The right-hander throws from a low three-quarters arm slot, and slings the ball up to the plate. He pounds the zone with a low 90′s fastball that can touch 96. He also mixes in a changeup in the mid 80′s and a slider in the upper 80′s. The change is a plus pitch, with sharp movement and an elite whiff rate. He has shown a willingness to regularly throw the offspeed pitch to both righties and lefties. Hudson’s fastball and slider are solid as well, with both missing bats at an above average rate.

 

Wednesday, 3:40 PM – Wade Miley

(click to enlarge)

Miley will be making his seventh career start, after spending most of the season splitting time between the Diamondbacks’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. He throws his fastball in the low 90’s and touches 95, although he has sat closer to 90 MPH in his last couple starts. His changeup averages around 80 MPH, and has been effective so far in his brief major league career. The algorithm used by FanGraphs has classified most of his breaking balls as curveballs, but many of them are probably sliders. Baseball America (subscriber only) described Miley’s slider as “a strikeout pitch, though it gets a little slurvy at times” before the season, and the scouting report also said that his curveball “is basically a softer version of his slider.” So it makes sense that the two pitches would be difficult to separate early in his career. BA also reported that he throws a cutter, but it does not seem that he has really used it at the major league level.

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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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