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November 21, 2008
  
Pedro Feliciano - Season Analysis 2008

I really wanted to once again highlight the work John’s been doing with the Mets’ pitching staff. If you haven’t been keeping up, browse his prior work here. –Alex

Pedro Feliciano – Season Analysis 2008

Basic Stats

After taking a look at Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis, we continue to take a look at the bullpen by looking at Pedro Feliciano’s 2008 season.Feliciano, much like Aaron Heilman, have taken drastic steps down since 2006.  After finishing 2006 with an outstanding ERA of 2.09 and finishing 2007 with an ERA of 3.09, his ERA dipped all the way down to 4.05 in 2008. Looking at his peripheral statistics, his K rate was actually pretty good and pretty consistent with his career average posting an 8.44 K/9 rate last season (career average of 8.13 K/9).  The biggest difference between his 2006 and 2008 season is his increased walk rate.  In 2006, his BB/9 rate was 2.98, in 2007 and 2008 that mark increased to 4.36 and 4.39 respectively.  Typically posting good HR/9 rates, Pedro struggled quite a bit in this regard giving up 7 home runs in 53 innings this season (after giving up a total of 7 home runs in 124 innings in 2006 and 2007 combined).  His BABIP was .332, again giving some evidence that maybe he was a bit on the unlucky side.  Later on we will look to see what specific pitches he struggled with as far as Home Runs and BABIP goes.

Much like Schoeneweis and Heilman before him, Feliciano had major split differences in 2008.  Throughout his career his OPS against numbers was .575 against lefties and .780 against the righties.  Last season, he was right on his career mark against lefties (.575) however righties hammered him (1.014).  So what we are seeing here from the three members of the bullpen that we profiled so far is that they are right on their career marks with same-handed batters, however the opposite handed batters are all hitting for MUCH higher marks.  This is why I believe developing a changeup is an absolute must for these players (Heilman to regain confidence in his).  It’s a bit strange that all have decided to have these extreme splits this season.  The reason I’m for using Feliciano as the LOOGY over Schoeneweis is that he has showed in the past an ability to get right handed outs whereas Schoeneweis has never been particularly effective against them.  Furthermore, Feliciano strikes batters out at a much higher rate than Schoeneweis.  The less a batter puts the ball in play, the less you can be hurt as a pitcher.  Lastly, I believe that since Heilman and Feliciano throw changeups, their platoon splits are more likely to be closer to their career averages then Schoeneweis.  Next, let’s take a look at what Pedro throws.

 Pitch F/X Data

1) What Does He Throw 

Using data from MLB Gameday application, we can look further in detail to what Pedro Feliciano threw in 2008.  Pedro threw 893 pitches during the 2008 season, of these gameday has tracked 830 of those pitches.

Pitch Type Count Pct Thrown Avg Speed Horizontal Move Vertical Move
Changeup 46 5.54% 74.12 9.34 -1.20
Fastball 457 55.06% 86.52 9.21 -0.95
Slider 327 39.40% 77.19 -6.96 0.65
Grand Total 830 100.00%      

A lot of weird things are happening here with Pedro Feliciano.  Let’s start with the fastball.  As you can see, he doesn’t get a whole lot of speed on his fastball at all.  Pedro’s fastball could be classified as changeups for most pitchers given the low amount of speed.  Pedro throws at a low 3/4th arm delivery and because of this you get all sorts of weird movements.  By sacrificing speed with the low arm delivery, Pedro gains in movement and deception.  Since the chart is kind of upside, I just classify this pitch as his fastball since I’m not really sure if it’s a two seamer or four seamer.  Regardless, you can see the incredible sink he gets on this pitch, making him an extreme groundball pitcher.

Pedro’s next pitch is his slider.  The thing that jumps out to me almost immediately is the difference in horizontal movement between is fastball and slider.  Pedro uses that sweeping slider as his strikeout pitch against the lefties.  The left-handed batter almost feels the ball is thrown behind him and then it breaks over the plate.  This is why Pedro is so tough on lefties.

Adding to the deception is Pedro’s last pitch, the changeup.  The movement is exactly similar to the movement on this fastball, however the ball is thrown around 12mph slower on average.  This large difference between the two makes means it’s hard for the batter to adapt if he’s looking for the fastball.

There one more thing regarding Pedro Feliciano.  In 2006, Fangraphs has him throwing a curveball 19.3% of the time.  In 2008, that was down to 0.2%.  In my analysis, I did not classify any curveballs.  His slider is thrown so slow and because of his movements, it’s difficult sometimes to tell the difference between curveballs and sliders.  Since I did not classify any and Fangraphs only has him throwing 0.2% (2 pitches) I’m fairly confident those pitches are all indeed sliders and not curves.

 2) When Does He Throw It?

Next lets breakdown Pedro’s pitches between Lefty vs. Righty 

Pitch Type Pct Thrown All Vs Lefty Vs Righty
Changeup 5.54%

0.00%

11.79%

Fastball 55.06%

48.64%

62.31%

Slider 39.40%

51.36%

25.90%

Grand Total 100.00%

100.00%

100.00%

Pedro has huge success against lefties as you all know.  Pedro’s slider is so devastating against the lefties that he only throws his slider/fastball against him and completely ditches the changeup.  Realizing he needs another pitch against the righties, Pedro starts throwing the changeup against them.  I know he didn’t do well against righties this season but this is the main reason I believe Pedro has a lot more ability to be successful in the future against righties then Scott Schoeneweis.

 3) What Happens When He Throws It?

Here is a breakdown on what happens when Pedro throws each type of pitch.  I will begin by giving total data and then I’ll breakdown the data between lefties and righties.

 Total 

Outcome/Pitch Changeup Fastball Slider Grand Total
Double

1

5

2

8

Field Error

0

2

0

2

Fly Out

0

6

15

21

Force Out

0

4

1

5

Ground Out

2

29

11

42

GIDP

0

8

1

9

Home Run

0

4

3

7

Line Out

1

4

0

5

Pop Out

0

0

9

9

Sac Bunt

0

2

0

2

Sac Fly

1

1

1

3

Single

0

27

13

40

Grand Total

5

92

56

153

Looking at the totals chart, the changeup was only put into play 5 times but he did have success with it giving up just one hit (a double).  His fastball is where trouble began.  Out of 92 balls in play, he gave up 36 hits.  In 2006, he only threw his fastball 46.4% of the time.  This amount increased to 55.4% this season.  As we noted above, his fastball isn’t thrown very hard and relies on deception and movement for it to be effective and this data clearly shows that he wasn’t fooling many batters last season.  His slider was somewhere between his changeup and slider.  I’m willing to bet that when we break the data down lefty/righty, most of the damage done would be because of the righties.

 Lefties 

Outcome/Pitch Fastball Slider Grand Total
Double

2

1

3

Field Error

2

0

2

Fly Out

2

11

13

Force Out

1

1

2

Ground Out

10

10

20

GIDP

3

1

4

Home Run

0

2

2

Line Out

1

0

1

Pop Out

0

5

5

Sac Bunt

1

0

1

Sac Fly

1

1

2

Single

10

7

17

Grand Total

33

39

72

Here we see that the slider was extremely effective among left handed batters.  The fastball didn’t seem to fool anyone although.

Righties

Outcome/Pitch Changeup Fastball Slider Grand Total
Double

1

3

1

5

Fly Out

0

4

4

8

Force Out

0

3

0

3

Ground Out

2

19

1

22

GIDP

0

5

0

5

Home Run

0

4

1

5

Line Out

1

3

0

4

Pop Out

0

0

4

4

Sac Bunt

0

1

0

1

Sac Fly

1

0

0

1

Single

0

17

6

23

Grand Total

5

59

17

81

As effective as the slider was against the lefties, the slider against the righties was not good.  Pedro should throw a higher percentage of changeup to righties than sliders.

 4) Percentage of Strikes Thrown Per Pitch Type  

As stated above, Pedro’s BB/9 rate has risen since 2006.  Let’s see how Pedro Feliciano did as far as controlling his pitches go.  Remember the average strike percentage for fastball and slider are 64% and the average strike percentage for curveball and changeup are 60%.   

Pitch Type Ball % Strike % Total %

Fastball

35.76%

64.24%

100.00%

Slider

36.09%

63.91%

100.00%

Grand Total

37.23%

62.77%

100.00%

He was about average as far as fastballs and sliders go, however he had major issues as far as controlling his changeup.  Control of his changeup in the strike zone will allow more righties to put that pitch into play and it might help him as far as right-handed batters goes.

What’s In Store for 2009 

I like Pedro Feliciano a lot more then I like Show.  Pedro is effective against the lefties and up until last season was decent against righties which is exactly what a “LOOGY” must be.  Right now, Pedro’s OPS against righties is .780 (that’s factoring in the 1.014 OPS against this season).  He’s been better then that .780 mark in both 2006 and 2007.  Even if he was to revert back to the career mark of .780 that’s still a huge difference between this season and 2009.  As a LOOGY he doesn’t have to be outstanding against the righties, just decent.  Show has never proven to get righties out.  If I was the Mets, I’d dump Show and keep Feliciano.  There’s no doubt in my mind he can be an effective LOOGY for us in 2009 and beyond


9 Responses to “Pedro Feliciano - Season Analysis 2008”

  1. Comment posted by TheWiseMan on November 20, 2008 at 12:46 am (#896445)

    Excellent analysis as always.

  2. Gravatar
  3. Comment posted by Simons on November 21, 2008 at 12:59 am (#897180)

    My God john, have you been doing this for every pitcher we have? You’re an animal!

  4. Comment posted by john on November 21, 2008 at 9:08 am (#897203)

    I been doing most of the major ppl’s. I’ve done
    Santana
    Maine
    Pelfrey
    Feliciano
    Heilman
    Show

    I got Sanchez and Joe Smith next and that will cover the major of innings pitched last season. If we resign Pedro or Ollie ill do ones on them. Then I wanna look at the younger ones.

  5. Gravatar
  6. Comment posted by Mike Newman on November 21, 2008 at 9:36 am (#897207)

    Excellent work. Too bad the hardest pitch to throw well in baseball is the change. It’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks. Expecting older relievers to improve or master a change up is more wishful thinking than true possibility.

  7. Comment posted by john on November 21, 2008 at 9:42 am (#897210)

    The changeup strike pct was 47.83%……..im not sure why that didnt show up (I had copy/paste issues lol), but yeah he had some issues there with control lol.

  8. Comment posted by marc on November 21, 2008 at 11:34 am (#897355)

    This analysis is really great. I think when you combine it with the other half of the equation, which is the psychological one, you’re seeing a tail off in performance due to a lot of these pitchers being stretched to roles beyond their capabilities. With the loss of Wagner and a largely unreliable staff, someone like Feliciano who probably kept his ERA down in the past not only by pitching well but pitching rested, knowing his role and being in the best possible matchups for him was suddenly relied on as the “I really hope YOU can do it because no one else seems to be able to” role that everyone had put on them at one point or another in the bullpen. So if he came in a situation where there was no confidence in any other member of the staff and still coughed it up, who is to say that if we had better members of the bullpen that he would have been put in that situation?

    I agree - more cowbell…uh I mean changeups, and keep him off the righties until he masters it.

  9. Gravatar
  10. Comment posted by Dep on November 21, 2008 at 12:18 pm (#897446)

    Pedro2 just needs to handle the 1st batter he faces

    he absolutely sucked at that in 2008 and if you cant trust him to get the 1st guy out (the guy he’s most likely brought in for) he is ABSOLUTELY USELESS

    I hope 2008 was just an anomaly, i’m nervous his time of being good is over though. its not like the dude has a ton of history to look at. he’s been all over.

  11. Gravatar
  12. Comment posted by Chris in Ga on November 21, 2008 at 4:01 pm (#897748)

    Pedro2 just needs to handle the 1st batter he faces

    Although John’s analysis was nice and thorough *Touch me in a place…oh nevermind*, this statement describes what Pedro needs to improve on effectively

  13. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on November 21, 2008 at 5:57 pm (#897921)

    ¨Coach, what´s my role in the pen?¨

    ¨Get the hitter out.¨

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