Marc Normandin over at Baseball Prospectus wrote a great piece on Mariano Rivera analyzing what has been a subpar season so far by Mo’s incredibly high standards. I’ll let you read the article yourself, but here are Normandin’s observations in brief:
- Mariano’s home run rate, line drive rate, and BABIP are unusually high
- His average velocity is down about 1 mph on both his cutter and 2-seamer compared to last season.
- Mo is throwing fewer first-pitch strikes, and generating fewer swings and misses.
- However, it is worthy of note that Mo’s strikeout rate is the highest it has been since 1996 (when he was a setup man) and his walk rate is lower than it has ever been.
Rivera’s season so far has not been in a large sample size, so the home run rate could definitely fluctuate over a full season. In addition, it is worthy of note that Rivera’s “struggles” consist of a 3.20 ERA, so if he starts throwing a little harder as the weather warms up, watch out. I’m not concerned. We get articles and blog posts every season in the first few months wondering if Mariano is done, and every season he continues to dominate. While it is reasonable to expect some dropoff eventually, Mo has proven to be an exception to every trend.
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