Friday, April 20, 2007

Charting Masahiro Tanaka

Hey, I'm in Pittsburgh for a college reunion (Carnegie Mellon Spring Carnival, for those who know it) until Monday night, so I'm not sure how much I'll be updating this blog in the next few days. There aren't even any baseball games going on while I'm in town unless I feel like going to Altoona, so. I did finish reading Zack Hample's book on the plane and I'll try to post a review soon.

I wrote up a script the other day to try to do pitch charting off the Yahoo Japan gameday logs. The game I ended up testing it on was the Hawks-Eagles game the other day, where Rakuten's rookie pitcher Masahiro Tanaka pitched a complete-game 13-strikeout 140-pitch win over the Hawks, winning 6-2.

I mostly had been wondering whether he was throwing mostly sliders or not, as I had vivid memories of watching him pitch at Koshien last year and thinking "wow, that's one hell of a slider". As it turns out, the breakdown of his pitches was something like:

Slider: 68 (48.57%)
Fastball: 44 (31.43%)
Curve: 14 (10%)
Shooto: 9 (6.43)
Fork: 3 (2.14%)
Changeup: 2 (1.43%)

Of the 9 hits he gave up, 4 came on fastballs, 4 on sliders, and one on a shooto.

Of the three times he struck out lefty Nobuhiko Matsunaka (who I think would offhand be the biggest threat in the Hawks lineup for him), the strikeout pitches were a forkball, a fastball, and a slider.

Overall he threw 48 balls and 92 strikes, for 65% strikes, which is pretty good.

He got 8 flyball outs and 6 groundball outs, though given the Rakuten defense it's possible that you'd want more flyballs than groundballs.

I have more data, but am not really sure exactly which parts of it to write about.

All in all, it's pretty impressive for an 18-year-old kid to pull off that sort of performance against the Hawks. It won't get the press to shut up about Yuki Saito, though.

Also, I hear that Felix is not dead. That is good.

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