Sarris: Chris Young challenges the data on high fastballs

From SABR member Eno Sarris at FanGraphs on May 29, 2014:

“You should go look at the research again and see what the charts say,” Chris Young, the Seattle Mariners pitcher, emphatically told me one afternoon this season. We were talking about high fastballs and he didn’t agree with something I’d said.

 In particular, it was about his high fastballs. Only four starters are throwing the fastball more often than Chris Young this year. I asked him about the pitch. Did he trust it more than his off-speed stuff at this point in his career? “Fastball command is first and foremost for any pitcher,” he said. “If you throw the ball where you want, you can get outs”.

What’s interesting about this is, to some extent, the fastball is often treated as a way to get to breaking balls. The balls-to-strikes ratio on the pitch is best in baseball; the whiff rate, though, is worst. Get ahead and then put them away. Except for Young. For him, it’s use the fastball for all the strikes. “Every game I try to identify a plan,” he said. “I try to identify where I can put my fastball to each hitter so that it will hopefully result in soft contact or an out of some sort.” Notice he said “fastball.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 29, 2014. Last Updated: May 29, 2014.