Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Reds’ 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

 

Friday, 7:05 PM – Johnny Cueto

Cueto is a power pitcher who throws in the low 90’s and can touch as high as 96 MPH. His velocity is down just a tick so far this season, sitting mostly 91-92 and topping out in the 93-94 range. His fastball is a quality strikeout pitch, but his secondary stuff is pretty hittable. His main secondary offering is a slider that usually sits in the low 80’s. Cueto generally sticks to the fastball/slider combo, mixing in an occasional mid 80’s changeup. He may also throw a cutter and curve on rare occasions, although it’s difficult to say that conclusively.

Saturday, 7:05 PM – Mike Leake

Leake does not have overwhelming stuff, with a fastball that sits in the upper 80’s and occasionally touches the low 90’s. His bread and butter is a two-seamer with heavy sink, which allows him to generate a good number of ground balls. However, the pitch has not been nearly as effective this season. It has not shown the good sink that it has in the past, and his ground ball rate has dropped significantly as a result. Leake makes heavy use of his upper 80’s cutter, which also has good sinking movement. He misses plenty of bats with an above average low 80’s slider, but the rest of his pitches are pretty hittable. He rounds out a deep arsenal with a low 80’s changeup and an occasional curve in the mid 70’s. Leake’s strikeout is down significantly this year, dropping from a career mark that was slightly below average to a frighteningly low 9.3%. However, that might just be a small sample size issue, as he is actually missing bats a bit more frequently than in the past.

Sunday, 1:35 PM – Mat Latos

Latos throws over the top and has a big arm, with a 92-94 MPH fastball that can get as high as 97. His two-seamer is just a tick slower, mostly sitting around 91-93 MPH. His big strikeout pitch is a mid 80’s slider, which he has historically used about 25% of the time. He also throws an upper 70’s curveball and a low 80’s change. He generally works on the outer half, although he likes to use the slider down and in against left-handed batters. Traditionally a big swing-and-miss guy, Latos has really struggled to miss bats this year. Only his slider has maintained an above average whiff rate, and his strikeout rate has dropped all the way down to 14.3%.

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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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