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 Brooks Baseball and The Hardball Times .

Pitch Types  
FA: Four-Seam Fastball FT: Two-Seam Fastball FC: Cutter
CU: Curveball SL: Slider CH: Changeup
FS: Splitter SI: Sinker


Monday, 9:40 PM – Joe Saunders

The left-handed Saunders has a pretty diverse number of weapons, although he does not have any particularly overpowering pitches. His four-seam fastball generally sits in the 88-91 MPH range, but can touch as high as 93 and sometimes drops into the mid 80’s. He throws it to all four quadrants of the zone. His two-seamer shows similar velocity, with good sink and sharp arm-side break. Saunders generally does a good job of locating his low 80’s changeup down and away against right-handed hitters, and rarely uses it against lefties. His breaking pitches are his best swing-and-miss offerings, with slightly above average whiff rates. His curveball generally sits in the mid to upper 70’s and his slider sits in the lower 80’s. It does not appear that he threw a slider during his first start of 2012, so that is something to keep an eye on.

Tuesday, 9:40 PM – Ian Kennedy

Kennedy makes heavy use of his four-seam fastball, which sits right around 90 MPH and occasionally gets up to 93. He does a good job moving the pitch all over the zone, not hesitating to work on the inner half. His velocity has been down just a tick in his first few starts of 2012, maxing out around 91 MPH. Kennedy’s low 80’s changeup is his out pitch, as hitters come up empty on about a third of all swings at the offering. He actually throws the change more often to righties than he does to lefties, which is rare for a right-handed pitcher. Righties also offer at the pitch more frequently, and have more trouble putting it in play. Kennedy’s repertoire is filled out with a mid 80’s cutter and an upper 70’s curve. He very occasionally works in a sinker as well. He has struck out over 20% of opposing hitters since joining the Diamondbacks prior to the 2010 season.

Wednesday, 3:40 PM – Daniel Hudson

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 throws a sinker at a similar velocity. Hudson often goes to his plus mid 80’s changeup, which generates sharp sinking action. He has shown a willingness to regularly throw the offspeed pitch to both righties and lefties. An upper 80’s slider rounds out his arsenal. Each of Hudson’s pitches are capable of missing bats at an above average rate.

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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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