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Pitchf/x Data

Pitchf/x Data and How It Helps Analyze Pitchers for Daily Fantasy Baseball
By Adam, Daily Fantasy MLB Player,

The amount of baseball data available to us is astounding. At, we have access to what is called Pitchf/x data. Everything you need to know about a pitcher is there: release points, velocity, number of pitches, movement of pitches, etc. For the hardcore daily fantasy player, using pitchf/x data will only strengthen their skills and help give them the edge over their opponents.

The first data you can look at is called tabular data. No graphs, just tables of data. The main table is trajectory and movement of a pitcher's pitches. Included in this table are the pitcher's pitches, along with number of times each is thrown, the percentage of all pitches each pitch is thrown, velocity, and movement both horizontally and vertically. This table can be sorted by year or career and the data can be displayed as numbers or particular scores which are meant to compare the pitcher in question to the rest of the league.

This tabular data table tells you everything you need to know about the pitcher's "stuff". When you hear that a pitcher has great stuff, the statement can easily be validated with the tabular data table. Pitches are divided into three main categories as far as I am concerned: velocity, movement, and location. You can throw in the fourth dynamic of frequency that a pitch is thrown. The tabular data shows you the velocity, movement, and frequency.

At first glance, we can see what pitches a pitcher throws, and at what frequency. Tabs on the left and up top allow you to sort in any way you want: pitches with two strikes, pitch usage in specific counts, etc. We want to look for trends, both positive and negative when analyzing a pitcher. Is velocity decreasing as the year goes on? Is there a smaller difference between the fastball and changeup velocity than in years past? Are the breaking balls moving as much as they used to for this pitcher? How does that movement compare to the rest of the league?

We then look at usage and outcomes to see what has resulted from each pitch type. Like tabular data, you can sort it any way you feel fit. Which pitches are getting smashed, and which pitches have a high swinging strike percentage rate? These are two important questions.

As I previously stated, we are now interested in pitch location and that would complete the puzzle of any given pitcher. Using the Zone Profile, you can choose data, and it will be displayed in a five by five grid representing the strike zone and its outskirts. You can see where a pitcher is throwing and the results of particular pitches in particular zones. Is the pitcher painting the corners with his fastball? Is his changeup low and away? Is there a certain part of the strike zone where the pitcher is unsuccessful? Has he tried to change his approach recently?


Finally, I always like to use Fangraphs or Baseball Reference to get the overall statistical picture of a pitcher; specifically his splits. Check to see how the pitcher fares against lefties and righties, then check the opposing lineup to see what kind of damage can be done. Also check to see if the pitcher plays well at home and/or away, at night, and at day.

Lastly, we can check ballpark factors and team tendencies to strikeout. I'll help you out and give you all the relevant information below.

The best stadiums to pitch in:
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Mets
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Tampa Bay Rays

The stadiums of these teams are the worst places to pitch:
Colorado Rockies (I would never start a pitcher at Coors Field)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Boston Red Sox
Chicago Cubs
Texas Rangers

Note: I listed the teams because the damn stadium names change on a regular basis and I don't want to come back here ever year and have to update!

You also want to choose a team who strikes out a lot against the handedness of your pitcher.

This information will change from year to year, but as an example I'll use info from the 2013 MLB season.

These are the most strikeout prone teams versus LEFT HANDED PITCHERS:
Houston Astros
Chicago Cubs
Atlanta Braves
Seattle Mariners
New York Mets
Minnesota Twins
Pittsburgh Pirates

Again, using 2013 as an example:

And these are the most strikeout prone teams versus RIGHT HANDED PITCHERS:
Houston Astros
Atlanta Braves
New York Mets
San Diego Padres
Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Indians


As you can see, there are an infinite amount of possible factors to consider when choosing a pitcher. Just remember, it does not have to all line up perfectly, as it almost never does. However, the more knowledge you have of pitching statistics, and where to find them, the bigger the edge you will have on your competition. Pitchf/x allows creativity and a bit of detective work. All of the evidence is there. It is up to you to dig through it and find your answer. Maybe it will be your name on the leaderboards at the DFS sites!

Good luck and as always, thanks for reading!

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