First, I’m not a huge fan of batting average in general as being the best way to asses how productive a hitter is, so conversely I’m not all that comfortable using it to gauge how hitters are faring facing a certain pitcher. There are lots of different ways to do this, but lets look at his complete triple slash (BA/OBP/SLG) plus OPS and BAbip to see if the trend still holds.
2008-.147 .173 .194 (.367 OPS) .193 BAbip
2009-.182 .238 .273 (.511 OPS) .229 BAbip
2010-.214 .264 .301 (.565 OPS) .230 BAbip
2011-.269 .278 .372 (.650 OPS) .311 BAbip
OK, so the trend line holds across the board facing lefties. Since 08 he hasn’t been as effective against lefties, and his numbers have declined annually as Buster implied. His use of the cutter has been higher since 08, but I’ll get to that later. These numbers are subject to some luck since you’re only dealing with around 120 PAs for each full season, but that’s the nature of the beast when it comes to relievers. BAbip has shot up substantially this year, but he’s coming off a bad stretch and were comparing a partial season to full season numbers, which you obviously can’t do. His career BABIP facing righties is .277 and .254 facing lefties, but I’m not even sure how much utility that has since he didn’t even start throwing his infamous cutter until after the 2003 season.
Next, let’s look at his splits facing Righties over the same time frame:
2008-.183 .208 .275 (.483 OPS) .247 BAbip
2009-.211 .236 .350 (.586 OPS) .268 BAbip
2010-.155 .217 .209 (.426 OPS) .213 BAbip
2011-.218 .247 .299 (.546 OPS) .281 BAbip
Not much to add here. Unlike his lefty numbers, his stats facing righties have held up well the past few seasons.
Finally, I wanted to look at Mo’s pitch selection to see if anything has changed there:
- – -
|2002||Yankees||98.4% (93.2)||1.6% (79.0)||4.7%|
|2003||Yankees||96.8% (93.0)||3.2% (88.8)||0.5%|
|2004||Yankees||48.4% (93.5)||3.8% (92.7)||47.5% (93.0)||0.4% (82.5)||1.7%||0.8%|
|2005||Yankees||44.1% (93.4)||1.0% (91.1)||54.8% (93.0)||1.2%||0.3%|
|2006||Yankees||56.6% (93.8)||43.4% (93.2)||1.9%||0.4%|
|2007||Yankees||26.7% (93.6)||73.2% (93.2)||0.1% (83.0)||1.0%|
|2008||Yankees||18.0% (93.1)||82.0% (92.8)||0.6%|
|2009||Yankees||7.1% (91.7)||92.9% (91.3)||1.5%|
|2010||Yankees||15.1% (92.2)||84.9% (91.1)||1.9%|
|2011||Yankees||11.9% (92.1)||88.1% (91.2)||0.9%|
Over the past two seasons he has been relying on the cutter a bit less, but its still clearly his bread and butter pitch. No big change here. Looking at his Pitch FX numbers over the past 4 seasons, not much has changed. In terms of velocity the cutter is right in line with the last 3 seasons. Horizontal and vertical movement have held up nicely as well. If Lefties are getting better swings off of him, its either a result of location mistakes or simply relying on the pitch too heavily, where batters have seen it enough times to have made adjustments. He may opt to mix up offerings a bit more, which he clearly has already been doing since 2009. But the stuff is there, and as many others have stated this week this appears to be just another edition of the annual blip on the radar for Mo, not the beginning of the end.
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