More Farnsworth? | The Process Report

More Farnsworth?

Kyle Farnsworth has struggled in 2013 in terms of results, but Joe Maddon feels the answer is to use him more frequently?

Farnsworth’s velocity on all of his pitches is indeed down from 2012, which was also down from 2011. This is not not an unusual trend as older pitchers lose velocity in their later years.

chart (2)

More concerning than the decline in velocity is the decline in results as Farnsworth has struggled to miss bats and opposing hitters are striking the ball hard.

2011-2012 0.603 22% 7% 47% 24% 53% 13%
2013 1.104 10% 6% 48% 21% 38% 35%

According to the data from ESPN Stats & Info, Farnsworth had a .187 well-hit average against from 2011 to 2012 and an overall batting average on balls in play of .258. This season, those numbers are .378 and .405 respectively. The most frequent culprit in the unfortunate batted ball outcomes is the fastball.

Farnsworth has thrown 60 fastballs in 2013, enticing 32 swings, only four of which have come up empty. 22 of those fastballs have been put into play, 11 of which have gone for hits. Opposing hitters are hitting .458 off his fastball with a 1.208 OPS which is a dramatic increase from the previous two seasons when hitters had a .248 average against his fastball with a .669 OPS.  The change in results may come from decreased velocity, but Farnsworth appears to have lost his ability to consistently locate his fastball.

Part of what made Farnsworth successful in 2011 and once he returned in 2012 was his ability to locate his pitches low in the zone so even when he failed to miss bats, he generated groundballs. (click images to enlarge)

strike-zone (6)This season, Farnsworth has had a tendency to elevate that fastball over the plate, which has led to an increase of well-struck baseballs by the opposition.

strike-zone (7)Maddon’s defense of the veteran reliever makes sense in that regular usage helps pitchers stay sharp with their craft. Farnsworth can survive with decreased stuff, but if he cannot locate his pitches, then his roster spot may not survive the month once Brandon Gomes is ready to come off the disabled list.

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