Using the Baseball Analytics data, I went and looked at Cole Hamels‘ cut fastballs. Earlier in the season, fans weren’t too thrilled with it since it seemed like right-handed batters were killing it and Hamels didn’t know how to use it effectively.
Here’s a look at Hamels’ cutters against right-handed hitters from April through the end of June:
And Hamels’ cutters against RH from July through his last start in the NLCS:
Obviously, huge changes in results. In the second half, the cutter was put in play 23 times:
- 11 ground balls
- 8 fly balls
- 3 pop-ups
- 1 line drive
Of the 23 balls in play, only four were hits.
When Hamels was learning the cutter, it was thought of as nothing more than a show-me pitch. With dedication to improvement, Hamels has developed it into a legitimate out-inducer — likely why his K/9 went from 8.8 in the first half to 9.5 in the second half. He is no longer a predictable two-trick pony.
Hamels struggled yesterday in Game Three of the NLCS against the Giants, but it wasn’t because of his cutter; it was his four-seam fastball to right-handed hitters.
In 2010, when Hamels threw up and in to right-handed hitters, his wOBA against went from the 71st percentile to the 14th percentile. In the upper-right quadrant inside the strike zone, Hamels dropped to the 6th percentile.
While Hamels made great strides with his cut fastball, it was his bread and butter — the four-seamer — that failed him yesterday.