Friday, September 23, 2011

Matt Moore-iarty: The next big thing?

Moriarty's Matt Moore mad his first major league start yesterday.  By all accounts it was a successful one.

Moore pitched 5 innings, facing 20 batters.  11 of those 20 batters (55%) struck out.  1 managed a walk.  4 had base hits.  0 scored.

Watch for yourself.
Highlights and Other Notes:
16: Derek "Captain Clutch" Jeter strikes out on a 96 mph fast ball to begin the game
24: Derek "The Captain" Jeter reflects upon his recent contract and the prospect of facing Moore for the next two seasons
30: Mark Teixiera can't decide what to do with an 86 mph change up.  So he takes it down the middle for strike 3.
Next 40 seconds: various New York Yankees flail haplessly at a variety of offerings from Moore.
1:10 Greg Golson strikes out on a wicked breaking ball
1:21 Derek Jeter strikes out again
1:55 Moore's last K of the night.  93 MPH fastball that Eduardo Nunez isn't particularly close to.  

Obviously, the 11 strikeouts and 1 walk are the most impressive numbers.  The early concern about Moore was his walk rate.  In 2009, in A-ball, he walked over 5 per 9 innings; 13% of all batters faced.  He's improved since then and showed very good control in this start.  But the strikeouts are what people will focus on.  Moore will not continue to strike out half of the batters he faced.  Zack Greinke leads all major league starters in K% and he's at 28%.  Doubtful that Moore is two times as good as the best major leaguer.  There is every reason to think Moore will continue to send major leaguers back to the dugout empty-handed, though.

In his minor league career (500 innings) he's struck out about 30% of the batters that he's faced.
The Yankees swung and missed at 18% of Moore's pitches.  The major league average is about 8%.

Why so many swinging strikes and strike outs?

Changing Speeds

A 10 mile per hour difference from one pitch the the next is significant.  Something about disrupting a hitter's timing.


Three distinct grouping of pitches.

In the upper right-hand corner are the fastballs.  Between 92 and 98 miles per hour with 7 to 14 inches of horizontal movement (moving towards left-handed batters).

Below those are his changeups.  Ten miles per hour slower than the fastball, but with the same type of horizontal movement.

To the left of those are the sliders.  82 to 84 miles per hour and breaking 0 to 5 inches in the opposite direction.

A batter has a bout 2 tenths of a second to decide whether to swing and where to swing.  In two tenths of a second a batter facing Moore has to decide if the pitch is coming at 98 miles per hour or 82 miles per hour.  Is it going to break towards him 2 feet or away from him 2 inches?

Matt Moore is going to be good.  He already is.

*Data from FanGraphs and BrooksBaseball.

No comments:

Post a Comment