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Perez -- pitching release points and performance

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So Joel Pineiro is "heartbroken" that Oquendo "disrespected him" by asking him to pitch out of the pen rather than start for Puerto Rico in the WBC. I really couldn’t care less about the effect on Puerto Rico’s, or the U.S.’s, team in the WBC but I can’t imagine that Tony’s going to like this. Geez, Joel, I’m glad you have confidence in your abilities but give us a break. You stink. You need to worry more about not stinking and less about how coaches treat you for stinking. We need a box of tissues and a diaper…stat! And, this just in….Jeff Gordon may know pouting but he doesn’t know pitching. Try out this gem from his article:
Accept some responsibility for the snub. Find motivation in it. Fulfill your vast potential for a change and win some games. Quit serving up meat to power hitters.
According to Jeff Gordon, Joel Pineiro has "vast potential." I presume he doesn’t mean vast potential for unnecessarily acting like a 12 year old who just got stood up at the cotillion. The words "vast potential" and "Joel Pineiro" don’t belong in the same sentence, paragraph, or article. Now I’m done w/ this. Anyone feel like taking the over on the number of starts McClellan makes this season?

On Monday, Harry Pavlidis over at BtB put together a terrific post about Chris Perez’s release points on his pitches. This is the 2nd time Harry’s looked at the Cards’ potential closers in the last few weeks as he compared Perez, Motte, and Carpenter just a few weeks back. The bottom line – Perez is all over the place w/ his release points. We know that Duncan is working w/ him on repairing it this spring so I wanted to try and discern the effect that his erratic release points had on his performance in ’08.

The first column is, obviously the date. The 2nd is the number of inches, as estimated from Harry’s graph, by which Perez’s slider’s release point differed from his fastball’s release point in the game. I’ve added the number of horizontal inches to the number of vertical inches in order to get a rough approximation of the distance between the two pitches’ release points. The 3rd column is the number of earned runs Perez allowed during that game.

Date # of inches ER
6/8 7 0
8/8 6.5 0
5/16 5 0
6/1 5 1
8/6 4.8 0
6/7 3.5 0
9/5 3.4 1
9/13 3.4 1
8/15 3.2 0
6/25 3 0
9/3 3 2
6/15 2.8 2
9/7 2.8 0
9/18 2.8 1
6/19 2.5 2
8/11 2.1 0
6/22 2 1
8/24 2 0
5/20 1.9 0
9/27 1.7 0
8/13 1.4 0
6/2 1.3 0
9/9 1.3 0
9/23 1.1 0
7/6 0.9 1
6/29 0.8 1
7/9 0.5 1
8/27 0.3 0

There’s clearly a difference between how Perez performed when there was less than 2 inches difference between his fastball delivery and his slider delivery and when there were 2 or more inches difference between the 2 deliveries. (Yes, I realize it’s not exactly 2 inches since we’re basically dealing w/ the hypotenuse of a right triangle. The point is that I’m dividing it between considerable distance between the 2 delivery spots and slight difference between the 2 delivery spots.)

ERA H/9 HR/9 BB/9 K/9
less than 2 inches difference 2.38 6.35 0.79 4.76 9.53
2 or more inches difference 5.21 9.00 1.42 5.68 9.95

Yes, I realize the sample sizes are ridiculously small. Still, there’s a noticeable difference. I’m not all that surprised that the K/9 is slightly higher when the distance between the two release points is greater. It’s gotta be more difficult to hit the ball when you don’t know where the hell it’s coming from. Still, when they did hit it, it got hit hard. When he was more consistent w/ his 2 release points, he was much better. It’ll be interesting to see if Duncan can have an impact on Perez’s release points and, therefore, his performance. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did. In the article I wrote for the (caution: Shameless Plug Alert!) Cards Maple Street Annual, I determined that Duncan had a noticeable impact on Cardinal pitchers since his arrival. Purchase it and check it out!