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Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg and Pitch F/X

June 12, 2010

Greg Fiume - Getty Images

Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg set the baseball world on fire Tuesday night with his record breaking debut. Those of us lucky enough to attend sat, stood, jumped, and screamed in disbelief as Strasburg threw one of the all-time great games. The stadium scoreboard twice flashed the century mark on four seam fastballs. Pirates‘ batters were lucky to leave the batter’s box without pulling a muscle, their swings contorted to helpless flailing. Now that the dust has settled, let’s look at the Pitch F/X data to see what we can learn about the wunderkind. Here’s my post from Federal Baseball.

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Washington Nationals: Out Rates and Other Stats

June 6, 2010

Earlier this week, I wrote a post on Federal Baseball that discussed Out Rates, and their impact on the Nats (lack of) run production. To see the post, click here. I received several questions regarding out rates and correlation to other stats – SLG, AVG, Runs per Plate Appearance, OPS, and OBP. Here are the answers to those questions.

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Washington Nationals: Are win/loss records impacted by early season road games?

June 3, 2010

There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding the Nats 2010 schedule. Specifically, comments have been made regarding the difficulty of the Nats schedule, the 20 games in 20 days streak, and the fact that the Nats have 31 road games in their first 55 games. The Nats are currently completing a 10 game road trip that included 6 games on the west coast and 4 in Houston. The blogosphere is eager to see that Nats come home to help get back above .500. So here’s the question – is there a correlation between a team’s early season home/away ratio and a team’s win/loss record? Will the Nats return to Nats Park help the winning percentage?

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Washington Nationals: Pitching Meltdowns

June 2, 2010

Last week, Ron Shandler wrote an article in the USA Today about pitching aces having meltdowns. Shandler defined a meltdown as

any game in which a starting pitcher allows more earned runs than innings pitched

Reading the piece, I started thinking about all of the meltdowns the Nats pitchers have had over the last few years. Then Craig Stammen had a meltdown Tuesday night against the Astros – 5 innings pitched, 5 earned runs. I decided to investigate further.

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Washington Nationals: Reducing the Out Rates to Score More Runs

June 1, 2010

Nyjer Morgan picked off 1st Base

The Washington Nationals offense has not been as potent this season as fans had hoped and expected. The offense currently ranks 9th in the National League and 16th in Major League Baseball in runs scored. One of the issues plaguing the Nats is the loss of base runners, either by pick off, failed steal attempt, failed extra base attempt, or double play. This year the Nats have even managed the offensive triple play. Outs are the only constant in baseball. You can work around anything else, but each out puts you one step closer to the end of the game. This made me wonder – the stats we see don’t really account for events like Nyjer Morgan caught stealing and Pudge Rodriguez grounding into a double play. How do we show the total out rate for each player? Here’s my post from Federal Baseball

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Washington Nationals: Pitching to Adam Dunn

May 23, 2010

Last month, I wrote a post on Federal Baseball indicating that MLB pitchers were afraid to pitch to Adam Dunn. At the time, pitchers had thrown 44.49% of pitches to all batters in the strike zone, while only throwing strikes to Dunn 35.05% of the time. As a result, Dunn walked during 30% of his plate appearances. Over the Nats last 20 games, Dunn has walked less and hit more – 10 walks in 70 plate appearances. This 14.29% walk rate is still substantially higher than the major league rate of 8.16% during the same time frame, but is also closer to Dunn’s 16.8% career walk rate. Let’s compare the early season pitches to the pitches Dunn has seen over the last few weeks.

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Washington Nationals: Drew Storen First Game Pitch Charts

May 19, 2010

Drew Storen wowed Nats fans in his first Major League appearance on May 17th against the St. Louis Cardinals. After a minor bout of opening night jitters, Storen settled down and showed us why he belongs in the majors. With Pudge Rodriguez calling pitches behind the plate, Storen mixed blazing fastballs, change ups and curve balls to keep the Cardinals hitters off balance. See the pitch sequences on my Federal Baseball post here.