You’ve probably noticed myself and other writers here post heat maps and spray charts on the blog. They all come from Pitch F/X, a service ESPN grants us access to for statistical analysis. If you’ve ever noticed coaches or players flipping through a giant binder in the dugout during games, they’re probably looking at the same stuff.

This year Pitch F/X has added a new feature to their site which allows us to chart player performance in various categories, so I thought I’d play around with it to see how we can use it on the site this year.

The image below shows all qualifying pitchers charted based on their percentage of pitches in the strike zone (on the x-axis) and their percentage of non-strikes chased by opposing hitters (on the y-axis).

Each logo corresponds to a pitcher for that team from 2012. I’ve labeled a few notable names on the chart.

The perfect pitcher would throw a high number of pitches in the zone, and get a high number of swings out of the zone, which would land them in the upper right quadrant of the chart. Last year, R.A. Dickey and Cliff Lee were head and shoulders above the competition based on this measurement.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Ubaldo Jimenez. While his zone percentage was slightly above average, his chance percentage was horrendous.

So what does this mean?

Basically what this chart shows is that Jimenez wasn’t fooling anyone last  year. When he threw the ball out of the zone, hitters weren’t offering at it.

No pitcher can get away with throwing all strikes (although Cliff Lee has challenged this notion in recent years) so it’s crucial for pitchers to be able to induce swings on pitches out of the zone.

Note: since this is a large image, you may not be seeing the full chart depending on the size of your screen. If you can’t see Cliff Lee labeled on the far right, click on the chart and it should open up the full image in a new page. 

Follow Ryan on twitter @TribeFanMcC


  • Sean Porter says:

    A very scientific way to measure what we as Indians fans have seen since he was traded for: Ubaldo stinks.

    He’s our personal Nuke Laloosh – a million dollar arm and a ten-cent head. I hope I’m wrong and the Jimenez of a few years ago magically re-appears, but this trade was a disaster and I’ll be thrilled when he’s no longer on this team.

  • Ryan McCrystal says:

    I’m optimistic going into this year. He’s given up just 3 walks in 18 innings so far in spring training. He averaged just over 4 walks per 9 last season, so let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. If he limits the walks, I think everything else falls into place.

  • Sean Porter says:

    He did pitch seven very solid innings today, I’ll give him that.

  • medfest says:

    I have never seen a pitcher with so many mechanical quirks in his motion as Ubaldo had.Even the stripped down wind up he uses now is a hot mess.
    If Mickey Calloway can coax any kind of consistency out of Jimenez this season I will be shocked,pleased to high heaven,but speechless.
    I think Ubaldo will be on a relatively short leash,especially if Carrasco and Bauer start pitching well at Columbus.I can’t see any way the Indians would pick up his option for next season unless he pulls a Cy Young type season out of………..thin air.

    I’ve had to put up with Fausto Carmona and Ubaldo Jimenez for seven years and I’ve never broken a mirror.Karma owes me big time!

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