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. Click here for a general guide to pitch types and classifications. Graphs are courtesy of Brooks Baseball and The Hardball Times , unless otherwise specified. Statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs .
Saturday, 7:05 PM – Jeff Samardzija
Samardzija has an exceptional fastball, with velocity that sits at 92-97 MPH and occasionally touches 98-99. The pitch misses plenty of bats, and has been particularly effective in 2012. His two-seamer has similar velocity with good movement, and generates a solid number of ground balls. He also mixes in an above average 90-93 MPH cutter, a pitch that has missed bats at around a 25% clip in 2012. Samardzija’s main secondary pitch is an 85-89 MPH splitter, which he uses as an offspeed pitch against both righties and lefties. The pitch is downright nasty, with a whiff rate around 45% in 2012. His primary breaking ball is a hard 82-86 MPH slider, another above average swing-and-miss offering. Samardzija has a deep arsenal and great raw stuff, which is a deadly combination. Right now, probably the only thing keeping him from being a truly elite starting pitcher is his occasional command issues. Samardzija shut down the Pirates on July 23rd, throwing eight shutout innings while allowing just one hit and one walk.