What’s happened to Jose? (pt. 1)
Jose Valverde started off his season for the Detroit Tigers putting up great numbers. He pitched 34 innings up to June 28th (approximately the all star break) and put up a .53 ERA with 32 strike outs. Not bad at all. Since than he has a 6.58 ERA in 26 innings pitched, but has still managed 29 strikeouts in that time. But still it’s been ugly at times. The question is what’s wrong? Since I like the pitching aspect of this game, I guess I’ll be the one to explore.
First thing is to check out his release in the first half and compare it to the second half.
Now I see that his release point is a bit higher in the second half of the season. This is the first thing I shall note. Something more important than release point is the actual location of the pitch. No one cares about release if the result is good.
First Half Locations:
And this is why we look at the location chart, because at first glance theres not much difference. But that is why you must than pay attention to the pitch types as well. Even though the locations are technically in the strike zone, I see sliders hanging and cutters not cutting. Something else that is noteworthy is that the difference here is not that great. But what makes me believe that once again release is his problem is simple percentages. First half of the season Valverde got his outs about 30% of the time via ground out. Second half: 16%. Big difference which helps reinforce my point.
Next I want to find out what’s going on here behind the mechanics, but I’ll save that for Pt. 2.