Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dice K Still Injured?

Well Dice K came off the DL last night after his shoulder injury and got rocked in just over one inning of work. He is still hurt, just trying to regain form or was last night just unfortunate luck?

Looking at pitch f/x data from last night compared to his other 6 home starts, we can see some obvious things. I am only using starts at Fenway so that we can be sure the data is fairly stable.

Here is his horizontal vs vertical movement from all of his home starts before last night compared to last night:
That chart is showing some unfortunate news for Red Sox fans. Let us break down the clusters first. We will go left to right. The small cluster in the lower left is his changeup and splitter. The next cluster over, the biggest cluster on the graph, is his fastballs. The cluster right on the 0 for horizontal movement is his slider and cutter, and finally the cluster in the far right is his curveball.

Now let us break each cluster down. First, he barely threw a changeup or splitter last night. In fact, it looks like he threw 3 total. Because that is such a small amount, we can't really make any conclusions from that. In the fastball cluster, we can see both the horizontal and vertical movement from last night's start was much less than his other home starts. One reason for this is because his speed was significantly down. This chart will show that:

The next cluster, his slider, looks normal. So if Dice K still has any injury, it does not seem to be affecting his slider. Unfortunately, we can't say the same about his curveball. His curveball barely had any bite on it. An average curveball from Dice K has more horizontal movement than vertical anyways. In fact, it would be described as a sweeping curve. Last night, he threw 3 good curves and the rest were terrible.

So after looking at his pitch movement last night, something is wrong with Dice K. His fastball did not have any life and his curveball was severely affected by the injury.

If he does have a shoulder injury, we should expect a change in release point. Here is that chart:
OK well that looks fine. No issues there. I don't have enough knowledge about how shoulder pain affects release points according to pitch f/x, but I would have to assume that he would drop his arm slot down if he was feeling pain. So if we can assume that, we can say he wasn't feeling pain. How about this theory: He is continuing to have shoulder fatigue, which causes less velocity and prevents him from getting much movement on his curveball, but it is not a painful injury that causes his arm slot to drop.

The only definitive conclusion we can make from last night's data is that there is still something bothering Dice K.


Anonymous said...

His fastball did not have any life and his curveball was severely affected by the injury.
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Anonymous said...

Very nice study...