Monday, August 13, 2012

Manny Machado and Royals Pitch Selection

In what will be an unending overanalysis of the debut series for Manny Machado, I decided to take a look at  how the Kansas City Royals piched to the Oriole phenom, at least in terms of pitch type.

To do this, I broke down percentages of pitch types thrown to Manny Machado by all the Royal pitchers he faced during the 4-game series. To contrast, I also broke down the pitch selection to the rest of the team.

Here it is:

                    CH%    CU%    FA%    FC%    FF%    FT%    SI%    SL%
Machado             9.1   14.6    1.8    0.0   38.2    9.1    5.5   21.8
Rest of Orioles     9.7   13.1    0.8    0.4   48.4    8.8    7.4   11.4

Common wisdom has rookies getting challenged with a bunch of fastballs when they are first called up and if they show they can handle them,teams will start throwing more breaking stuff to see if he can handle those pitches too. In this case, the Royals threw him fewer fastballs overall and fed him a lot more sliders.

If we simplify it further:

                 Breaking/Offspeed  Fastballs
Machado                51%             49%
Rest of Orioles        42%             58%

So Manny got fed a steady diet of breaking stuff, at least more than the rest of the team and still had a stellar debut. In fact, his hits came mostly on breaking stuff. Moving through the weekend, he tripled on curve ball, single on a slider, homered on a curve ball, homered on a slider, doubled on a fastball and homered on a sinker.

Small sample size and there's more to pitching than pitch selection alone but it is encouraging to see that the 20-year old is far from lost against major league breaking pitches.

*Data gathered from

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