SABR

Laurila: Q&A with David Cone, stat-head all-star

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on November 20, 2012:

As many FanGraphs readers know, David Cone is more than a former All-Star pitcher and current color commentator for the New York Yankees. He is also a stat-head. The borderline Hall of Famer — he ranks 50th all-time in pitcher WAR — has shown a willingness to introduce sabermetric concepts to the listening audience. Cone talked about his appreciation for advanced metrics, and his evolution as a pitcher over 17 seasons, during a late-summer visit to Fenway Park.

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David Cone: “I was fairly far along as a pitcher when I started out — that was in 1986, with the Royals — because I had several years in the minor leagues and a couple of years of winter ball. Going to Puerto Rico for two years really helped me as far as my overall command and style. I then evolved more at the big-league level, as far as secondary pitches.

“I really learned how to pitch later in my career, when I lost a little velocity and my skills and my arm speed started to diminish a little bit. I continued to evolve in terms of arm angles and different grips. Early on, I relied more on power. My first few years with the Mets, I was probably more of a thrower than a pitcher. I spent six years with Mets and six with the Yankees, and I’d say that my Yankees years were more my pitching years, and my Mets years were more my strikeout-power years. In between, I had the shorter stints with the Royals — my second time with them — and Blue Jays.

“Early on, I was a fastball-slider guy. I threw a four-seam fastball for the most part. I threw an occasional curve. Later, with the Mets, I developed a splitter. Ron Darling had a good splitter and I watched him. It took me probably three or four years to really develop a good feel for it.

“We didn’t have nearly as much data when I pitched.  I think it would have helped me. I would have loved to have seen the hitters’ tendencies, as well as data on my own pitches. I’d have liked data on which hitters were more selective, and which hitters chased out of the zone more. And if they did, which pitches did they chase?

Read the full article here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-david-cone-stat-head-all-star/

This page was last updated November 20, 2012 at 11:25 am MST.

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