Jacke Bradley Junior and the inside fastball

Jackie Bradley Junior has changed his batting mechanics and has started to crush the baseball in locations he couldn’t hit before.

A Jackie Bradley Jr Renaissance

Jackie Bradley Junior hit chart

 

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Joe Kelly and the pitch count

Joe Kelly has had a run of success. Is it partly because he’s becoming less predictable?

Red Sox Pitcher Joe Kelly: Pitch Usage

Joe Kelly: Pitch use vs pitch count

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Matt Barnes’ major-league debut

In all, Barnes probably neither hurt nor helped himself with this outing. While he didn’t show himself to be a sure-fire starter, he also had many factors working against him, and showed a number of good points. While his future is more likely to be in the pen than as a starter, he showed signs that he does have a major-league career ahead of him.

Red Sox Pitcher Matt Barnes Made His First MLB Start

 

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Koji Uehara flashback

Koji Uehara’s season is over with a line-drive comeback that broke his wrist.  I went back to his ridiculously dominant 2013 to re-live his strikeout of Prince Fielder in the ALCS Game 3 (Will the Injury to Red Sox Closer Koji Uehara Mean the End of His Dominance?).

Koji Uehara vs. Prince Fielder, Oct. 15/2013 (ALCS Game 3)

 

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Blake Swihart’s debut year so far

Catcher Blake Swihart wasn’t supposed to be in the majors this year; he needed at least one more year, probably two, of minor-league seasoning first.  But injuries to the Red Sox catchers meant he was called up anyway, and though he hasn’t blown away the field, he has nothing to apologize for this season.  I wrote about him in “How is Rookie Catcher Blake Swihart Doing?

Blake Swihart: 10-game rolling average OPS

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Why doesn’t Joe Kelly dominate?

Joe Kelly, with his 100 mph fastball, looks like he should be an absolutely dominant pitcher, but his actual results this year have been mediocre at best.  At sonsofsamhorn.com, I looked at Kelly so far in 2015, focusing on his fastball.  I think that

Kelly this year seems to be be trapped by his fastballs. If he throws them as hard as he is capable of, they are less likely to turn into hits, but more likely to become walks. If he slows his fastball down, improving his ability to throw strikes, the pitches become much more hittable.

Joe Kelly fastballs: Balls per 100 pitches, sorted by pitch speed

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Henry Owens debut

I took a look at the major-league debut of the Red Sox’ top-50 prospect, Henry Owens, on Aug 4/2015.

Henry Owens strikes out Jacoby Ellsbury on a slider well outside the strike zone

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What happened to pitching in 2001?

Most of the trends in these pitching charts are easy to understand:

ERA and WHIP since 1960

It’s easy to see the Year of the Pitcher in 1968, the recovery as baseball adjusted the pitching mound, the sudden increase during the Steroid Years, and the recent crash in offense partially associated with the increase in the size of the strike zone.

But there’s an a abrupt drop in WHIP and (to a lesser extent) ERA between 2000 and 2001, and I don’t know of any rule change, or other change in the game, that would drive that.  Steroids were still winked at, offense remained at a very high level, the strike zone wasn’t officially changed — what happened?

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