Sunday, April 27, 2008

Re-examining Wang

After Chien-Ming Wang's last start, I noted a few of the different trends that were starting to appear that I hadn't seen before, namely a boost in his K rates at the expense of his GB:FB ratios. Then he had his outing today (which, I didn't get to see live, sorry).

His line: 113 PC, 7 INN, 4 HA, 2 BBI, 9 K, W, HB

Nine K's in 7 IP. Who does he think he is, Jake Peavy?

His K-rate jumped from 5.06 to 6.23, well over 1 K/9 IP over his career high of 4.70 he achieved last year. His GB:FB ratio remains at 2.00:1, his most "even" since the 2.68 he posted last year (note: these stats might change as I am not sure if the GB:FB ratio has been updated in ESPN, source for the stats shown in my graph to the right). Still no reason to worry.

Or is there?

Note, too, that he needed 113 pitches to get thru 7 IP. I'm not so concerned with the number of pitches but rather that he needed that many to get thru 7 IP. He's usually more economical, however, with this newer approach, we're seeing a shift. The 14.56 avg pitches per inning is also a career high.

Fewer grounders and double plays but more K's and pitches. And his ERA stands at 3.23, also a career low (after 6 starts). And he's won 5 games this April and holds a career 51-18 record. Pretty darn impressive, any way you slice it.

Can Wang continue to evolve before our eyes? Not sure but I am watching (well, except for the game yesterday, naturally).

Did you see anything different today? Tell me if I missed something since I didn't get to see it live.

Related Posts:
Examining Wang

Also see: Wang dominates Indians to cap 5-0 April (at River Ave. Blues, who are also "onto" the new Wang)


Joey said...

I was surprised when I saw his PC in the 6th. I know he had one batter early that battled (9 or 10 pitches to get out), but other than that nothing appeared out of norm for me. Ben K. from RAB summed it up pretty nicely:

"For Wang, today’s line is a departure from what we’ve come to expect from the sinkerball specialist over the year, but it is a welcome departure. Wang recorded five ground-ball outs and six fly-ball outs today while retiring nine by the K. We’re used to seeing few strike outs, few fly outs and many more ground balls, and as some fans in the game thread wondered, what has changed with Wang this year?

From watching him work, Wang seems to have a better idea how to keep hitters off balance. Last season, when October rolled around and the Yanks trekked out to Cleveland, the Indians hit Wang around because they knew what was coming. They knew he would throw mainly sinkers, and they knew they could him them. This year, Wang is going more to his slider and his splitters. Considering that he throws in the mid-90s, this diverse repertoire of pitches will keep hitters guessing. Wang is, in other words, really maturing as a pitcher."

Jason said...

I didn't realize the fine guys at RAB were on it, too. But good that they are.

The pitch count could be a concern, but he's proven himself capable of handling the increased load so far.

Thanks for the heads up, Joey!