Pitch Selection and the Reliance on Fastballs- St. Louis Cardinals

Here are some numbers from last season to chew on during this long, cold, snowy Central Illinois weather.

We can’t argue with success but we can refine what we have. Also, if pitchers become too predictable then sometimes they lose their edge. Let’s examine many of the Cardinal pitchers and what pitches they prefer to throw and see if we can make an analysis from it.

Let’s look at the stats from the Bill James Handbook 2014.

Pitcher Speed Fastball Cutter Curve Slider Change Splitter
Wainwright 91.1
40
28 27 0 4 0
Kelly 94.9 67 0 8 11 14 0
Miller 93.7 71 4 18 0 6 0
Lynn 92.4 73 0 10 13 4 0
Wacha 93.5 65 3 5 0 27 0
Rosenthal 97.3 79 1 5 0 15 0
Mujica 91.9 40 0 0 4 0 56
Choate 85.8 70 0 0 30 <1 0
Maness 90.5 71 0 4 4 20 0
Siegrist 95.2 85 0 0 9 6 0
Martinez 96.7 78 0 16 0 6 0

Note: Speed is measured in MPH and the pitches are the % they throw them in a game.

No surprise the Cardinals are a fastball throwing pitching squad. In fact, a 90+
MPH team for the most part. But the other pitches just don’t come often enough in most cases.

Let’s examine Adam Wainwright who is considered the ace of the staff. What makes him an ace? Simplistically, it is the fact that he throws several different pitches on varied counts on the batter. Only 40% fastballs but complimented by the 28% cutter and 27% curve come from his arsenal. He is mixing it up and not relying on one pitch too much.

Then there is Shelby Miller. The young rookie has probably never had to mix pitches in Little League, High School or Minor Leagues as his fastball is outstanding and very few could touch it. Now he is in the Major Leagues and just finished his first season. What do the opponents expect next season when they step into the box against Miller?

The same thing can be said about Carlos Martinez now that he wants to become a starter. Reliance on the fastball may be a concern.

Look at the numbers and see what strikes you about them. Thoughts?