Barry Larkin Nation Chad Dotson 07/21/2012 8 In honor of Barry Larkin’s induction in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, we’ve temporarily changed the name of the site. Share this:TweetPocket 8 Responses Mwv 07/21/2012 Follow up on last night’s discussion at the end of the game concerning Chapman’s sliders: I’ve now gone through the game tape on the first “half” of his season, up until he became a fastball-only closer on the last game of the Yankees series on May 20th. I’m gonna catch some lunch and do some yardwork then I’ll pick things up with the end of the Twins series where he starts throwing breaking balls again. I should have it all finished well before tonight’s game but I think you’re going to all be somewhat surprised by the results. I’m also going through and listening to all the games from the away team’s announcers because some of the quotes are hilarious. I might include some of those along with the results post. pinson343 07/21/2012 @Mwv: Looking forward to it ! pinson343 07/21/2012 Looking forward to Barry’s Big Day tomorrow. Catalytic 07/21/2012 Congratulations Barry! No player has ever represented the Cincinnati Reds, the city of Cincinnati or the sport of baseball with more class, talent and warmth as No. 11. We love you Barry! seat101 07/21/2012 Just think……1970 to 2006 Concepcion to Larkin….. A top five back to back SS parlay, eh? Mwv 07/21/2012 Ok, after spending some of last night after the game and most of the early morning reviewing Chapman’s tape for the season there are some interesting observations. First a few disclaimers: 1) All pitches between 90 and 92 that did not seem to break were considered changeups. I’m sure they weren’t all changeups; some were probably sliders that didn’t slide and others were fastballs he didn’t throw as hard. Regardless, that’s how I classified them. 2) I skipped the stretch of pitches from May the 20th through June the 24th. This was the notorious “pure fastballs after being named the closer” time-span and therefor not relevant in trying to discover just how good Chapman’s slider is when it’s in the zone. 3) I only counted pitches that were in the zone or were swung on. This means he threw a lot more breaking balls than the ones I marked down and this no doubt impacted the at bats, they just weren’t strikes. 4) I’m only human. I did my best to go through pitch by pitch on all his appearances but I’m sure I’ve missed a few breaking balls here and there, mostly due to how much fun it is to simply watch this guy pitch. That being said; here are the results from watching Chapman this year (so far): Chapman’s breaking pitches are essential to his success. His best appearances are always when he mixes up his fastball with his offspeed stuff. I guess we all knew that but when you watch a 4+ hours of him pitching it becomes a very clear theme. To this end I set out to answer the following question by Racine Red: “Has a single batter this season hit Chapman’s slider? I mean hit as in ‘made contact’.” The short version answer is yes, 8 times this year. Jason Werth managed to hit a single on a 90 mph slider early in the year off him. Wilson Ramos and Starlin Castro hit weak grounders to second. Reed Johnson and Carlos Gomez each pulled one foul past third. Nate Shierholtz, Nate McClouth, and Bryce Harper all foul tipped one. Daniel Murphy grounded one to short. In total Chapman has thrown 35 sliders for strikes. Contact was made 8 times and the result was 1 single, 4 outs and 4 foul balls. The other 27 were strikes (swinging or called). Even more interesting is that Chapman also had a lot of success with his changeup, throwing 13 for strikes while only 4 swings made contact; one single and 3 foul balls. Since being made closer on May 20th though this pitch has not been thrown a single time by my count. He now exclusively throws fastballs and sliders, which I feel is a real shame considering how good those changeups have been. Summary math: 35 thrown sliders for strikes. 22.8% contact rate and a .028 avg against them. 13 thrown changeups for strikes. 30.7% contact rate and a .076 avg against them. Insane numbers on that slider. Bonus quotes so far from opposing announcers while watching Chapman: “Umpires become fans too and they get caught up in a guy like Chapman.” – Cards announcer complaining about strikezone. “Personally, I’d rather face this guy than Bronson Arroyo.” – Washington announcer on April 13th, discussing how much easier it is to time a fastball compared to multiple offspeed pitches. “That was his best fastball.” Mets announcer on a 94 m.p.h. inside fastball by Chapman. Next pitch was the slider for the K. Mwv 07/21/2012 Oops, some bad formatting there due to tracking all this in notepad while I watched games, oh well. Racine Red 07/21/2012 @Mwv: Two comments: 1. You should post this on the game thread, where everyone will see it. 2. The Reds should hire you.