Cole Hamels’ Cut Fastball

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.

The Decline of Raul Ibanez

I was recently given trial access to a great baseball database, which you can see used on a regular basis over at the Baseball Analytics blog. There is a multitude of data available to parse in almost any way, shape, and form. I was like a kid in a candy store. The first thing I wanted to analyze was the decline of Raul Ibanez, so that’s what I did.

Here’s an excerpt:

Having watched Ibanez in his time as a Phillie, I have noticed his problems with fastballs. At 38 years old, it seems like his bat speed has been in decline and thus has been rather helpless trying to make solid contact on fastballs. The following images show his in-play slugging percentage on fastballs, the first showing data from April 5 to June 13, 2009 and the second showing everything since.

Spoiler: the results? Not good.