Exploring the Arsenal – Justin Verlander
Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each game, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitcher expected to oppose the Pirates. The chart below shows the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2012. This chart is 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 , unless otherwise specified.
|FA: Four-Seam Fastball||FT: Two-Seam Fastball||FC: Cutter|
|CU: Curveball||SL: Slider||CH: Changeup|
|FS: Splitter||SI: Sinker|
Sunday, 1:35 PM – Justin Verlander
Verlander has one of the best fastballs in the game. It sits comfortably at 94-96 MPH with great life, and regularly reaches triple digits. He commands it well to all four quadrants, but prefers to work up in the zone for the most part. Verlander tends to get stronger as he works deeper into games. Here is a chart showing his pitch-by-pitch velocity from his May 18th start against the Pirates, in which he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning (click to enlarge). Early in the game, he was mostly in the low 90’s. In his final 35 pitches or so, he was consistently in the 97-99 range.
Verlander has an excellent 85-88 MPH circle change, a pitch that complements his powerful fastball well. He also throws a slider around 83-86 MPH and a big curveball at 78-81 MPH. Verlander misses plenty of bats with the majority of his pitches, with only his curveball having a whiff rate near league average in 2012. He also generates a great deal of weak contact, currently producing the second highest infield fly ball rate in baseball. His command is excellent, which is lethal for a guy with such great stuff.