Daily Notes: The League’s Most Valuable Pitches So Far

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. The League’s Most Valuable Pitches So Far
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

The Best Pitches in the Majors So Far This Season
It’s a fact as old as the sands of the deserts — or at least as old as the expensive laptops which utilize semiconductors fashioned from the silicon extracted from those sands — that, within the electronic pages of FanGraphs, one can find the run values relative to league average for every pitcher’s respective pitch types. The point is self-evident.

The bright idea which has stopped the reader in his tracks this morning, however — not unlike Paul on the Damascus Road, really — is to combine all the respective pitch-type run values into a single leaderboard, such that the public might better discern which pitches have been most valuable this season.

This step having been taken by the author during his breakfast, the reader is invited to find the results of same reproduced in the table below.

Leaderboard: Most Valuable Pitches in 2013, Thus Far
Here, according to pitch-type run values available here at the site, are the top-10 most valuable pitches so far this season relative to league average:

Rank Name Team IP Runs Type
1 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 204.0 34.5 Four-Seam Fastball
2 Matt Harvey Mets 178.1 31.1 Four-Seam Fastball
3 Yu Darvish Rangers 168.0 30.5 Slider
4 Max Scherzer Tigers 178.1 26.8 Four-Seam Fastball
5 Cole Hamels Phillies 179.0 24.7 Changeup
6 Kenley Jansen Dodgers 64.2 19.5 Cut Fastball
7 Jose Fernandez Marlins 152.2 18.3 Curveball
8 Justin Masterson Indians 182.1 18.3 Slider
9 Jose Quintana White Sox 164.2 16.3 Four-Seam Fastball
10 Bronson Arroyo Reds 168.2 15.6 Slider

Three Notes
• Of all the league’s pitches, Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw’s fastball has been the most valuable this season in terms of runs prevented relative to league average. For a number of reasons — the most basic of which is that Kershaw’s fastball is very good — this is unsurprising. Among those unsurprising reasons, however, is this: between 2009 and -12, Kershaw’s fastball was worth an average of +22.2 runs per season, a mark that would place sixth on this list by itself.

• Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has thrown precisely 90 fewer innings than the next least prolific pitcher (Miami’s Jose Fernandez) on this list. This also isn’t particularly surprising: in both 2011 and -12, Jansen’s cutter was worth at least +12 runs.

• Here’s action footage of that same cutter — in this case, at 93 mph to Giancarlo Stanton for a strikeout on August 21st:

Jansen Stanton Fast

And here’s that same pitch in slow-motion:

Jansen Stanton

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Los Angeles AL at Tampa Bay | 19:10 ET
Garrett Richards faces Chris Archer (95.1 IP, 108 xFIP-, 0.7 WAR). While the latter has received considerable attention, it’s actually the former (Richards) who’s posted both the better defense-independent numbers (85 vs. 108 xFIP-) and slightly higher average fastball velocity (95.0 vs. 94.8 mph, according to PITCHf/x) — this, with the caveat that Richards has thrown some number of innings in relief.

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Tampa Bay Radio, Probably.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 6.1.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Edwin Jackson CHN 5 4 5 3 5 LAN Ricky Nolasco 15:10
Martin Perez TEX 7 3 7 4 9 SEA Felix Hernandez 15:40
H. Alvarez MIA 6 1 7 3 10 WAS St. Strasburg 19:05
Tom Gorzelanny MIL 6 4 6 6 7 PIT Charlie Morton 19:05
Hiroki Kuroda NYA 5 3 5 6 5 TOR Todd Redmond 19:07
Dan Straily OAK 5 7 6 7 7 DET Doug Fister 19:08
Garrett Richards LAA 8 8 7 10 5 TB Chris Archer 19:10
Bud Norris BAL 3 9 6 9 7 BOS John Lackey 19:10
Justin Masterson CLE 8 7 7 8 5 ATL Paul Maholm 19:10
Cole Hamels PHI 8 0 6 6 5 NYN D. Matsuzaka* 19:10
Jarred Cosart HOU 2 4 5 1 10 CHA Chris Sale 20:10
Danny Duffy* KC 7 8 5 3 3 MIN Andrew Albers 20:10
Homer Bailey CIN 9 3 8 3 9 STL A. Wainwright 20:15
M. Bumgarner SF 7 4 6 7 5 COL Jhoulys Chacin 20:40
Robbie Erlin SD 5 6 5 3 6 AZ Wade Miley 21:40

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.

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10 years ago

Does Kershaw get the most ‘rise’ on his fastball out of all pitchers? He has to be in the discussion if he’s not the leader.

10 years ago
Reply to  Resolution

He gets 11.3 inches of rise which is the most of anyone who has thrown 100 IP or more. Although he’s basically even with about 20 other guys incl. Miguel Gonzalez, Weaver, and Chris Tillman. He has very little horizontal movement, and I’m curious how this compares to other lefthanders but, as far as I’m aware, fangraphs doesn’t searches by handedness or sorting by handedness in their leaderboards.

10 years ago
Reply to  payroll

Really? The original comment has been up for over an hour now and no one has made a joke about how much “rise” they get from Kershaw’s fastball? For shame, Daily Notes readers, for shame.

10 years ago
Reply to  CB

It is then incumbent upon you, sir to make the joke rather than to scold the masses.

10 years ago
Reply to  CB

I got most of my rise out of Harvey’s slider, but sadly I’m only experiencing sinkers right now 🙁