Thursday, June 22, 2006

Groundball Pitching

It is truly fun to watch Liriano pitch. It is rare for a pitcher to be both a groundball pitcher and a strikeout pitcher. When you have this combination you are going to have a good pitcher.

Though it is still early, Liriano puts it together like no other pitcher this year. There are only 3 starting pitchers who strikeout more than 8 batters per 9 innings and also have a groundball percentage over 60%. After these 3 there really isn’t anyone close to these numbers. The other 2 are Bonderman and Heredia. They have a K rate of 8.55 and 8.8 respectively. Both have a groundball percentage of 67%.

Liriano beats them both with a GB% of 69.4% and a K rate of 10 per 9 innings. With stats like that it is easy to see why Liriano is doing so well. And the defense is now playing better behind him. He has lowered his BAPIP to .294. As a reliver it was about .350, blame Batista and Castro.

Why are groundballs and strikeouts so important for a pitcher?

First of all, strikeouts are so great because they are nearly always turned into outs.

Groundballs are good because they are rarely turned into extra base hits. It is impossible to hit a homerun with a groundball and generally only grounders down the line are turned into doubles or triples.

It is generally easier to get a hit with a groundball but as I have stated earlier they are almost always turned into singles if they are hits. The other positive is that groundballs are the easiest way to get a double play.

So a high strikeout pitcher will allow less balls in play which will reduce the number of hits, including homeruns, allowed. And groundballs will then reduce the number of homeruns allowed even further. All of this will combine to give you a quality pitcher, if he has good control.

We saw how important all of this was tonight. Liriano induced 3 double plays with his groundballs. And the 1 of the few flyballs was turned into a homerun.

It was a ridiculous homerun. That left field porch is ridiculous. It is way too easy to hit a homerun to left field. That ball tonight was not well hit. I guess it makes it more important to get groundballs and strikeouts in Houston.


Post a Comment

<< Home