Posted By Sean S

Last season, according to Fangraphs, the injury-ravaged Ervin Santana's average fastball velocity dropped from 94.4 to 92.3.  His results had a much worse decline, the ERA went from 3.49 to 5.03, and his FIP from 3.30 to 5.02.

Ervin's results did show improvement as the season went on, with a 7.81 ERA in the first half, and a 3.90 ERA in the second. (Splits from baseball reference) His velocity seems like a decent gauge for both his health and effectiveness, so how does his velocity look by month?

I've been spending the past week getting the MLBAM pitch f/x data on my computer.  I may be the first person on earth to do so primarily using microsoft tools (excel & access 2007).  I haven't had time for much else, but a few people have asked about projection spreadsheets, I'll try to get those up later today.

Anyway, once I got all the data a query to look at fastball velocity by month was a snap, and Ervin's shows strong improvement as the year went on:

May 91.0 June 91.2 July 92.4 August 92.9 September 93.3

Even at year's end, he still wasn't quite back to where he was in 2008, so unless he's still gaining strength and doesn't get hurt again, it's probably best not to expect a dominant season like 2008.  But I think he should be able to beat the 4.40 computer projection, that doesn't know anything (yet) about pitch f/x or recovery from injuries.  If I were to bet I'd place him around 3.90 for 2010.

3 Comment(s):
Sean S said...
Also, I should say I used the perl script to get the data on my PC. I used VBA to take the approximately 20,000 inning files and get them into an access database.
February 28, 2010 07:00:24
Sean S said...
To get where I've gotten so far, I owe a lot to many people, from Joe Adler (author of baseball hacks) to Mike Fast for sharing his scripts, to MLBAM for making this stuff freely available. I won't keep any secrets. But I'm not ready to stop and document this stuff yet, too much more to do (minor leagues). When I'm ready I'll write an article explaining how I did what I did, and show the code.
February 28, 2010 06:53:31
Katie said...
Very interested to learn how you got the pitch f/x data on your computer only using excel and access. I am much familiar with those tools than with SQL and would love to be able to to do it. You can email me if you're willing to disclose your secrets. Thanks!
February 28, 2010 12:48:56
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Sean S
Maryland, USA


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