The Yankees will face Twins right handed pitcher Anthony Swarzak tonight in the final game of the four game series. The 26 year old pitcher came up with the Twins organization as a 2nd round draft pick in 2004. In the minors, he cracked Baseball America’s top 100 prospects once in 2006 at #100, but had a moderately successful minor league career. Although his rookie season was technically 2009, he finally broke the 100.00 inning barrier last year. In 2011 he posted a 4.32 ERA, a 4.04 FIP, a 4.85 K/9, and a 2.29 BB/9. Although he’s far from a strikeout pitcher, Swarzak prides himself in his control, and has found success as a flyball pitcher.
In his arsenal, his primary pitch is the four-seam fastball which came in at 91.1 mph last year. He also has a two-seam fastball with similar velocity, but throws the pitch less than 10% of the time. His curveball is his second most used pitch at 25% of the time, which has 80 mph velocity. Finally, his fourth pitch is the 83 mph changeup, an 8 mph difference from his fastball, which he throws 15% of the time.
In this graphic we have the release point for Swarzak in his first two starts of 2012. Unfortunately, while Texas Leaguer does a great job with it’s graphs, it can often mis-characterize pitches, and the data from 2011 is corrupted by a large amount of curveballs that are labeled as changeups. The data from 2012 may be a smaller sample size, but it matches his approach last year, and actually allows us to see tendencies better, and this is a perfect example. Here we can see his high release point which is close the pitcher’s mound, but also how he releases his pitches from different areas. Releasing the curveball high and the two-seamer to the right is standard, but the changeup also has a release point further left than most pitchers. You can further see a picture of how he release the ball on the right.
In these two graphics, we have a trajectory of how each pitch type breaks from the release point on the right to homeplate on the left. Looking at the top chart, we can again see how Swarzak releases the changeup and two-seamer from opposite sides of the release zone. Here the four-seamer, two-seamer, and changeup all have similar breaks into right handed hitters. The curveball has opposite break away from righties. In the second graphic you can see the vertical break of each pitch type. The four-seam fastball obviously has the least break, but his two-seamer also has surprisingly little for a sinker. The curveball obviously has the most dramatic movement downward.
In this graphic we can see the movement of each pitch from a catcher’s perspective. The four-seamer in red averages the highest vertical break, with a 10.41 inch “rise”, followed by the two-seamer with 9.85 inch “rise”. Your average two-seam fastball falls about 3 inches more, an indication to why his groundball rate is so low and flyball rate is so high. The changeup breaks vertically around 5 inches lower than the four-seamer, it also moves horizontally into right handed hitters slightly more than the fastball. Its the difference of about 2 inches, so I doubt a hitter could pick up on it before its too late. The curveball is on the otherside of the graph, and you can see the difference in horizontal and vertical break compared to the other three pitches. For vertical break, his pitch has much less vertical movement than curveballs, with a -2.81 inch break compared to an MLB average -6.00 inches, but his four-seamer sets the pitch up with significant rise.
Here we have spin versus velocity, which helps us verify the breaks of the pitches based on the spin angle. As a righty, a four-seam fastball with high rise should have a spin angle closer to 180 degrees in order to fight gravity, and indeed his four-seamer average 205 degrees. Likewise, his two-seamer had high rise too so we should see a low angle, and although most two-seamers have a 220-245 degrees, his sat at 218. His changeup had the most vertical and horizontal movement into right handed batters, thus it should have the highest angle, and indeed it does at 227 degrees. Because the curveball moves into left handed hitters, the angle should actually be on the opposite side of 180 degrees, and indeed its at a very low 64 degrees.
Where He Throws It
In this graph we see his pitch types and locations against right handed hitters. Most of his pitches were four-seam fastballs and curveballs, and he had a pretty simple approach throwing them. His four-seam fastball was most often located up or in to the hitter to jam them or have them pop-up. The curveball, which has the movement down and away, was often thrown down and away to get hitters chasing. Of the few two-seamers and changeup thrown, there isn’t enough data to truly understand a strategy, but they are most likely used to trick a hitter into thinking they’re four-seamers. His pitch selection was 45.2% four-seamers, 42.9% curveballs, 8.3% changeups, and 3.6% two-seamers.
Against lefties, Swarzak also primarily used his four-seamer, but also used two-seamers and changeups instead of the curveball. Most of his four-seamers are thrown on the inner part of the strike zone and above, indicating a large amount of flyballs again. The two-seamer was thrown mostly down and the zone, and when it was a ball it was usually down and in, a strategy that should turn balls into groundballs. His changeup was use nearly always down and away this time, a strikeout pitch. But because there are so few other pitches down and away, a good hitter could sit on such a pitch or learn to back off of and take a ball, thus eliminating his only real strikeout threat. The curveball is usually thrown in the strikezone, which most likely surprises the hitter looking rather than have them swing and miss. His pitch selection to lefties is 57.4% four-seamers, 20.2% changeups, 13.8% two-seamers, and 8.5% curveballs.
When He Throws It
|Count||Four-seamer (R)||Curveball (R)||Changeup (R)||Two-seamer (R)|
Keep in mind the low sample size we have from 2012 which we used due to the inaccurate pitch type data from 2011. Against righties, Swarzak mixes his curveball and fastball well to start a batter off. As he falls behind in the count, his four-seam fastball becomes more likely. After strike one, he continues to throw the four-seamer and curveball, but with two strikes he surprisingly uses the four-seamer most often. It’s only in 0-2 counts the he uses the curveball 80% of the time for his out pitch. Against righties, he doesn’t have much swing and miss stuff, with an 8.3% whiff rate on the curveball this year, there is reason he attacks with the four-seamer with two-strikes. Though its surprising he doesn’t have an out pitch against same side batters, he does maintain a high in percentage as a contact pitcher.
|Count||Four-seamer (L)||Curveball (L)||Changeup (L)||Two-seamer (L)|
Against lefties, Swarzak starts the at bat with four-seamers mostly, but isn’t afraid to mix in his three other pitches. As he falls behind he is almost entirely reliant on his four-seam fastball to avoid a ball. After strike two he continues to throw four-seamers, but also mixes his changeup and two-seamer which move away from lefties. Although the changeup has been successful with swings and misses this year, good for a 26.3% whiff rate, the pitch was much lower last year at around 10%.
As primarily a four-seam fastball pitcher with low strikeout rates, Swarzak finds his batted balls at 41.7% flyballs, 38.2% groundballs, and 20.1% line drives in 2011. Surprisingly, the righty has struggled at the pitcher friendly stadiums in Minnesota, and pitched well on the road. Away, he has a 4.20 ERA in 70.2 inning, and hitters have a .244/.311/.407 triple slash against him. His platoon splits are opposite, although that was less surprising due to his low whiff rates against righties. He holds same side batters to a .303/.350/.448 slash, with lefties hitting him at .272/.327/.431.
Against The Yankees
Although he’s never pitched in Yankee Stadium, Swarzak pitched against the Yankees in 3 games. 1 start came in 2009 where he went 4.1 innings, 8 hits, and 3 runs, and 2 relief appearances came in 2011 where he gave up 4 hits and 2 runs in 5.2 innings. As you can see below, Jeter has barely the most experience against him, and hit him the hardest.
|Probable Yankee Lineup||At Bats||Triple Slash|
|Derek Jeter SS||6||.500/.500/.667|
|Curtis Granderson CF||4||.750/.800/.750|
|Alex Rodriguez 3B||4||.250/.250/.250|
|Robinson Cano 2B||4||.250/.400/.250|
|Mark Teixeira 1B||5||.200/.333/.400|
|Nick Swisher RF||5||.000/.000/.000|
|Raul Ibanez DH||0||.000/.000/.000|
|Andruw Jones LF
|Russell Martin C||2||.000/.000/.000|
The Yankees have no problem with flyball pitchers in Yankee Stadium. As a four-seam fastball pitcher that throws in to righties and lefties, I don’t think the team will wait long to pull the ball. If lefties sit fastball in and allow the changeups to fall for balls away, they should have no problem pulling the ball all the way to the porch.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- essentialtexting.com on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- www25.tok2.com on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- グッチ 財布 on Sunday Links-Joba’s Timetable, Comparing eras, Pineda
- raspberry ketone diet 1200 on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- Free riot codes on Off-Topic
- Fran on The Great Subway Race
- sleeping bag hand Orientation on What about Austin Romine?
- camping stove heat diffuser on What about Austin Romine?
- 手機殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
- 手機外殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees