Daily Archives: August 5, 2012

Freddy and his Mysterious Splitter

Freddy Garcia’s splitter in the above photo had extremely unusual movement, causing Juan Rivera to strike out.

Yesterday the New York Times published an extremely interesting article written by Zach Schonbrun about the uniqueness of Freddy Garcia’s splitter and how it has posed a large challenge to batters as well as physics experts. The author took specific note in the article of a splitter Garcia threw to Juan Rivera on April 29 last year. The unique pitch, instead of barreling straight down like a normal splitter, moved sharply down and to the right against the right-handed Rivera.

The game continued without any mention of the pitch. But Mike Fast, then a writer for Baseball Prospectus who happened to be watching on television, noticed the bizarre movement and reached out to a friend, Alan Nathan, a physics professor at the University of Illinois.

Nathan had published numerous papers on the physics of baseball and pitching. But he, too, had never seen anything like what Garcia had done. This was not simply the Magnus effect — the principle responsible for the curve in a curveball.

“There was something else going on,” Nathan said. “The left-right movement wasn’t determined primarily by the spin; it was determined by something else.”

Over the next months, Nathan analyzed frame-by-frame replays of the pitch to record its spin and looked at PitchF/X data to gather any clues about its movement.

I won’t recap the science behind this unusual instance (you can click on the link at the top of this article to read about what was found in the study) as Schonbrun did but I will say this- Garcia still has the tools to pitch effectively against good American League lineups. Other fans I have listened to seem to think it is simple as: Garcia will pitch well with his mixing up of pitches against the weaker lineups and not fare nearly as well against the good lineups. However, I don’t think this is necessarily the case. The movement he possesses on his pitches, such as the unique splitter investigated in the article, is very good and what it comes down to is whether or not Freddy has his command.

When he’s in control of his pitches, you’ll see that devastating splitter tailing down and away from a lefty. Even the best lefties in the league- Hamilton, Gonzalez, Dunn, etc. will struggle to hit that pitch if he locates it well. Now I don’t know what sort of role Garcia will have on the team in the postseason (probably in the bullpen), but if he can keep good command of that splitter, he should be a very useful piece on that pitching staff, in my opinion. Anyway, I just thought I would share the article with you, as it presents some pretty interesting stuff.

What do you all think about Freddy Garcia: what kind of role, if any, should he have on the Yankees postseason pitching staff? Any thoughts on the article regarding the science behind Freddy’s splitter?

*     *     *     *     *

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I have genuinely enjoyed my time here at YFU as an editor and writer. You guys, our supportive readership and commenters, have been fundamental in making this a fantastic, unforgettable experience for me. Now, I am leaving my position at the helm of YFU for personal reasons, but I do so knowing that the site will be in excellent hands and the quality you guys have come here for will be ever present. I look forward to seeing/talking to you all in the comments section as the Yankees make their pursuit of WS #28.

Game 107 Lineup: Mariners vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. Mariners:

Curtis Granderson CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Nick Swisher RF
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Jayson Nix 3B
Chris Stewart C

Freddy Garcia RHP


Morning Bits: King Felix, Rodriguez, Sabathia

Good morning everyone and a happy Sunday to you all! It’s get away day for the Yankees so first pitch is at 1:05pm! Here are your morning links.

— ESPN New York has some fun imagining if Felix Hernandez was a New York Yankee after he threw a complete game shutout vs. the Yankees.

— Alex Rodriguez continued his rehab yesterday at Yankee Stadium and one of the drills A-Rod did has him relieving his days as a quarterback.

— CC Sabathia loves watching the Olympic games, but did you know that CC was almost on the Olympic baseball team in the Sydney Games in 2000 just before he started his baseball career?

King Felix shuts out Yankees in 1-0 loss to Mariners

When you look at the final box score, you can come up with this assumption: Hiroki Kuroda was good. Felix Hernandez was better. The Yankees weren’t able to do anything off of Hernandez as the Yankees fell to the Mariners to even the series 1-0.

Hiroki Kuroda did his job this afternoon going 6 innings and only giving up 1 run, but the Yankees haven’t been able to come up with almost any hits. The Yankees were held by King Felix with a 2 hit shut out through 9 innings. Ichiro Suzuki had one of the Yankees 2 hits now giving him a hit in every game since his Yankee debut. Boone Logan, David Robertson and Clay Rapada all pitched for the Yankees after Kuroda departed–all of them putting up zeros.

Tomorrow the Yankees will play a get away day game as they try to take the series from the Mariners. If the Yankees want to win tomorrow, then they have to since Friday night they are facing the Tigers best pitcher–Justin Verlander. First pitch for the Yankees is at 1:05pm.