Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Nationals’ 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 .
|FA: Four-Seam Fastball||FT: Two-Seam Fastball||FC: Cutter|
|CU: Curveball||SL: Slider||CH: Changeup|
|FS: Splitter||SI: Sinker|
Wednesday, 7:05 PM – Gio Gonzalez
Gonzalez has plus velocity from the left side, sitting in the 92-93 range and touching 95 MPH. He also throws a two-seam sinker around 91-93 MPH with good movement. The break on the sinker is mostly horizontal, so he does not rack up a ton of ground balls with it. His main secondary offering is a big curve that is generally around 78-81 MPH. He also mixes in a mid 80’s changeup, almost exclusively against right-handers. Gonzalez gets most of his swings and misses on his off-speed pitches, generating a whiff rate over 40% on both the curve and change so far in 2012. His fastball has also been very difficult to put in play this year. Overall, he misses a ton of bats, leading to his league leading strikeout rate of 29.8%. None of that bodes well for the contact-challenged Pirates.
Thursday, 7:05 PM – Jordan Zimmermann
Zimmermann has had a very successful comeback from the Tommy John surgery he underwent late in 2009. He has a live four-seam fastball, which sits around 93-94 MPH and can touch 96. On occasion, he will mix in a low 90’s two-seamer as well. His primary breaking ball is a mid 80’s slider, and he also throws an upper 70’s curve. He very rarely goes to his mid 80’s changeup (he’s thrown about 20 changeups total in 2012), which has some decent sink. Zimmermann does not miss a ton of bats, with only his fastball and slider managing average whiff rates so far this year. However, he has good control and has been racking up loads of ground balls with each of his pitches in 2012.