A Little on Wainwright

It’s no mystery that Waino has been struggling a bit in the second half.  A quick glance at his splits page from Fangraphs shows just how stark the difference has been.  Bernie outlined some possible causes in a column earlier in the week, highlighting among other things a more vulnerable sinker (go read the entire column for the rest – it’s a worthy read).  I wanted to walk through Bernie’s bullets on the sinker and fastball in a little more detail with some visuals.

First, let’s look at location starting with “hard stuff” before July.  All charts are from the catcher’s perspective.

and then since July


The general trend is the same, pound low and away to right handed hitters; however the numbers are slightly lower since July which is a slight indication that location may be off just a bit in recent starts. What about the results of those pitches; first looking at how often hitters are swinging

AWThroughJuneSwing AWSinceJuneSwing

It appears that in the more recent starts (second chart) that the hitters are not chasing that pitch low and away as frequently.  The impact of that is heightened when you look at the next set of charts – whiffs per swing

AWThroughJuneWhiff AWSinceJuneWhiff

As you can see from the first chart, Waino was getting a high rate of swings and misses on the hard stuff off the plate low and away.  The change in the second chart is less whiff rate, and more indicative of the lack of swings that we already saw (although the whiff rate drop in the “knee high” but outside box is interesting).

Not sure that any of this explains the performance drop (as Bernie noted there’s some BABIP wrapped up in all of this as well), but my 30 second summary is the location of the sinker and four seamer is slightly off and when it is well located hitters are doing a better job of laying off.  In turn, Waino’s getting fewer swings and misses than previously in the year.


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