A fresh take on Nationals’ end-of-year awards

December 23, 2013

Tyler Clippard (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Around this time of the year, everyone has a best-of or end-of-year list. And even though the Nationals’ season is long over, we at Nationals Journal wanted to come up with our own superlatives and awards. I asked our resident Pitchf/x expert, Harry Pavlidis, to come up best-of and worst-of for the Nationals but with quirky, offbeat statistics. Who had the best stuff? Who has the best control? Who was the slowest pitcher? Who swung and missed the most?

There is no winner in our list below, but enjoy the statistics. Happy holidays and new year!

 

PITCHING

Nastiest stuff (whiffs per swing)

Most: Tyler Clippard (.30)

Least: Tanner Roark (.16)

 

Nastiest fastball (whiffs per swing)

Most: Clippard (.28)

Least: Roark (.09)

Note: Roark is a groundball pitcher, so he’s not necessarily trying to miss bats but inducing contact.

 

Dilip Vishwanat / Reuters
Dilip Vishwanat / Reuters

Nastiest slider (whiffs per swing )

Most: Craig Stammen (.43)

Least: Rafael Soriano (.23)

Note: Stammen’s slider is an underrated pitch and Soriano’s struggles with his slider were discussed here.

 

Nastiest change-up/splitter (whiffs per swing )

Most: Stephen Strasburg (.47)

Least: Jordan Zimmermann (.17)

Note: Remember this Strasburg change-up? How could you forget?

 

Best control (percentage of pitches in strike zone)

Most: Ian Krol 56%; Zimmermann 54%

Least: Stammen 36%

Note: Because he has a larger volume of work, Zimmermann takes this prize. Stammen has said that sometimes his pitches, such as his sinker, move so much he can struggle with control.

 

(Katherine Frey/TWP)
(Katherine Frey/TWP)

Most time between pitches

Clippard (29.4 seconds), Drew Storen (24.9)

Note: No surprise that Clippard tops this list; he is the epitome of a deliberate pitcher.

 

Most time between pitches, bases empty

Storen (22.8 seconds), Clippard (22.3)

 

Most time between pitches, men aboard

Clippard (31.3 seconds), Storen (27.5)

 

Least time between pitches

Krol (17.2 seconds), Dan Haren (17.3)

 

Least time between pitches, bases empty

Roark (15.3 seconds), Ross Ohlendorf (15.4 — at that’s even with his old school windup!)

 

Least time between pitches,men aboard

Krol (20.2), Haren (20.5)

Stephen Strasburg (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)
Stephen Strasburg (Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images)

Miscellaneous 

>>> With runners on first, Kurt Suzuki asked for more fastballs Stephen Strasburg than normal (73% versus 65%) while Wilson Ramos didn’t let Strasburg’s trouble holding runners change the game plan (60% vs 59%).

>>> According to pitch framing numbers compiled by Max Marchi and provided by Ben Lindbergh, Ramos was above average (+4.3 runs) while Suzuki was below (-6.3 runs with the Nats). Suzuki cost the Nats about one full win (10 runs) relative to Ramos.

>>> Strasburg was the hardest thrower on the team after Henry Rodriguez was traded. His 96 mph fastball is normally domain of the bullpen. Meanwhile Soriano’s 92 mph fastball was the slowest of any reliever’s, beating only Zach Duke and Haren on the radar gun.

 

HITTING

Green Light (the most 3-0 swings)

Jayson Werth: 12 of 45 chances, 27% of 3-0 counts

Note: Werth hit .600 (3 for 5) with a home run in those counts

 

Red Light (least 3-0 swings)

Kurt Suzuki (0 in 16) and Anthony Rendon (1 in 16)

Note: Rendon went 0 for 1 in those counts but walked six times

 

Toni L. Sandys/TWP
Bryce Harper (Toni L. Sandys/TWP)

Jump on it! (most 0-0 swings)

Bryce Harper: 196 swings, 39.4% of 0-0 counts

Ramos: 119, 39.3%

Danny Espinosa: 65, 38.9%

Desmond: 243 (most on team), 37%

Note: Harper had a 1.224 OPS and eight home runs on the first pitch, and Desmond posted a .893 OPS with one homer

 

Show me another! (fewest 0-0 swings)

Ryan Zimmerman: 103 swings, 16.2% of 0-0 counts

 

Please swing … now (called third strikes)

Most: Desmond (143) Zimmerman (48)

Highest percentage of two-strike pitches resulting in called strike: Espinosa 30%, Desmond 20%

Highest percentage  of two-strike takes resulting in strike three: Espinosa 75%, Desmond 45%

 

(Matt Slocum / AP)
Ian Desmond (Matt Slocum / AP)

Pigpen (swings at pitches in the dirt)

Most: Desmond (129 swings, 37%)

By percentage: Steve Lombardozzi (50, 43%)

 

High Flyer (most swings at pitches above zone)

Most: Adam LaRoche (64 swings, 24%)

By percentage: Ramos (40, 40%)

 

Miscellaneous 

>>>Denard Span, Rendon and Suzuki saw more than 64 percent fastballs and sinkers while Harper, LaRoche and Tyler Moore saw less than 40 percent.

>>> Span (.456) and Rendon (.500) had double the slugging rate of Suzuki (.229) on four-seam fastballs. Only Rendon (.512) handled the two-seamers well (about .360 for Suzuki and Span).

Adam LaRoche (Jonathan Newton/TWP)
Adam LaRoche (Jonathan Newton/TWP)

>>> Only one Nationals hitter slugged more than .500 on curveballs: LaRoche (.724)

>>> LaRoche had the team’s worst slugging rate against sliders (.154)

>>> Espinosa was the most likely to chase a ball (.41), nearly twice the rate of the least likely, Rendon (.21).

>>> Harper and Ramos only took 24 percent of the strikes thrown to them. Zimmerman (46 percent) and Werth (43 percent) were far less aggressive.

>>> Ramos (58 percent) and Span (54 percent) led the team in ground ball rates. Which one is not like the other?

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James Wagner · December 21, 2013

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