Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Marlins’ 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 – Ricky Nolasco

(click to enlarge)

Nearly all of Nolasco’s pitches have lost a bit of velocity this year. That may or may not be the cause, but he is also missing bats much less frequently as well. His strikeout rate, which has typically sat comfortably over 20%, is only 16.7% this year. Nolasco’s fastball sits in the 90-91 range, and can touch as high as 94 MPH. His mid 80’s slider is his big swing-and-miss pitch, and he has thrown it about 25% of the time this year. His changeup, which he uses sparingly and almost exclusively against left-handed batters, also misses plenty of bats. He also throws a sinking two-seam fastball, a mid 70’s curve and a low 80’s splitter. Like the changeup, he generally throws the splitter against lefties only.


Saturday, 7:05 PM – Anibal Sanchez

(click to enlarge)

Sanchez is a power pitcher who throws with an over-the-top delivery. His fastball sits comfortably in the low 90’s and touches 95 MPH. He also throws a mid 80’s slider and a low 80’s circle change. All three pitches miss bats at a well above average rate. He mixes in an occasional mid 70’s curveball as well. Sanchez is missing more bats this year than in previous seasons, and his strikeout rate has seen a considerable jump. After striking out 18.7% of opposing hitters in 2010, he has set down 23.8% in 2011.


Sunday, 1:35 PM – Javier Vazquez

(click to enlarge)

Years ago, Vazquez’s fastball velocity was in the low 90’s and touched 96 MPH. He lost a tick in 2009 and saw a big drop last year. Earlier this season, he was only throwing in the high 80’s. However, as the season has progressed, his fastball has slowly returned. In his last few starts, Vazquez has sat in the low 90’s and touched 94. He has been very effective for over a month now, and has been missing a boatload of bats with his fastball. He also throws a low 80’s slider and a mid 70’s curve. He occasionally mixes in an 80 MPH changeup against left-handers, but has gone to it much less frequently this year than he has in the past.

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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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