Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Phillies’ 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

 

Thursday, 1:35 PM – Roy Halladay

(click to enlarge)

Halladay thoroughly mixes five distinct pitches on the mound. He effectively throws his four-seam fastball to all four quadrants of the strike zone. He gets excellent movement on his sinking two-seamer, which he mostly utilizes in on the hands of right-handed hitters. In the past, Halladay would throw his cutter to both righties and lefties, almost exclusively locating it in on lefties and away from righties. However, he has moved it all around the strike zone the past couple years. All three of these pitches sit comfortably in the low 90’s. He also throws a changeup in the low to mid 80’s with good sinking action and a curve in the upper 70’s. Halladay pitches to contact with the four-seam/two-seam/cutter trio, generating approximately league average whiff rates with those three pitches. The curve/change combo is his knockout punch, with 2011 whiff rates over 35% for both pitches.

Saturday, 7:05 PM – Cliff Lee

(click to enlarge)

Lee moves each of his different pitches all over the strike zone, keeping opposing hitters off-balance with the variety. Both his four-seam and two-seam fastballs sit comfortably in the 91-92 MPH range, and he mixes in a plus mid to upper 80’s cutter. He also throws a mid 80’s changeup and a mid 70’s curveball. Lee does not have overpowering stuff, but his elite command makes him very difficult to hit. He pounds all parts of the strike zone at will, and just about every one of his offerings generates an above average whiff rate.

Sunday, 1:35 PM – Vance Worley

(click to enlarge)

Worley’s fastball sits around 90 MPH and can touch as high as 93. He mostly throws a four-seam fastball, but also mixes in a cutter and two-seamer at similar velocities. His slider and changeup sit in the mid 80’s, and he throws an occasional curveball in the mid to upper 70’s. Worley’s stuff has been pretty hittable thus far in his limited time in the majors, but he has maintained solid strikeout rates by often catching hitters looking. He experimented with a new split-fingered grip for his changeup this spring, but apparently he has scrapped it for the circle change grip he has used 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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