Rosenthal: How the Astros experiment and collaborate to get the most out of their pitchers

From Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic on May 22, 2019:

Upon walking into the visiting clubhouse during the late innings, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow came upon a remarkable scene Friday night: Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander engaged in a deep conversation about Cole’s just-completed five-inning outing at Fenway Park.

Cole had required 99 pitches to hold the Red Sox scoreless, and here he was replaying it all with Verlander moments later — his thought processes, his pitch selections, his sequencing. The discussion was so detailed, so intense, Luhnow had little doubt the two would continue exchanging ideas into the night, after the game was over.

The Astros’ success in transforming the usage patterns of their pitchers is well-documented. They advise virtually every starter and reliever they acquire to throw fewer sinking fastballs, more breaking balls, more four-seam fastballs in the upper part of the strike zone. Cole and Verlander were among those who embraced the data-driven adjustments to their repertoires, but both say analytics is not the sole reason for their excellence in Houston.

Read the full article here (subscription required):

Originally published: May 22, 2019. Last Updated: May 22, 2019.