Monday, June 9, 2008

A scout's look at Wang

I had been doing a review of Wang's starts though as he's struggled, there's been less to be really interested in. Biased, you betchya! Well, that's half the story. The other half is that I don't have the trained eye of a scout to tell you if he's "flying open" or where else he could be messing with his mechanics.

That said, here is part of ESPN's Jason Grey's dissection of Wang (insider access required for full article, sorry):

With a sinkerballer such as Wang, the first thing we want to do is take a look at his groundball numbers and his average on balls in play to see if there is anything out of the ordinary. His groundball-to-flyball ratio is 2.37, which is lower than the past two seasons, but still a very healthy number. His average on balls in play is .284, a number that is also not out of line in any way. He hasn't always been helped by his bullpen this season, which inflates his ERA slightly, but that doesn't explain how the baserunners got on in the first place.

When he was running well, Wang was walking fewer than three batters per nine innings. In his past four outings, that number has risen to almost five and a half, with his strikeout rate dropping from close to six per nine innings down to almost four. His strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first seven starts was 32-to-13. In his past six, it has been 17-to-20.
So why has his strikeout-to-walk ratio gone awry lately?

To answer that question, I went back to the video of a number of Wang's starts this season, both when he was running well and his recent outings.

Nothing has really changed about the actual way he's been pitching. He still has the same plan on the mound and is still getting his groundballs by the truckload as he usually does. He's throwing the same pitches, roughly the same amount of times, and his velocity isn't down.

The raw stuff is still there.

Therefore, the answer is likely that he is struggling with his mechanics. But how? He told the team's Web site he feels "he may be overthrowing" lately, but he simply has not been repeating his delivery well. There are two issues:

  1. Sometimes his arm is getting out of sync with rest of his body on his fastball, so he can't hit his spots consistently.

  2. Tipping his secondary stuff with his arm angle.
Well, there ya have it. I promise I will revise my reviews and try to take some of the things that Jason looked at and see how Wang fares.


Chris H. said...

I'd just like to say that "A scout's look at Wang" is the most unintentionally hilarious article headline I've read in some time.

That is all.

Jason said...

Chris, and that was the third attempt at a headline that wasn't a blatant double entendre.

Finally, I just gave up and went with it!

themarksmith said...

Yeah, essentially any headline with his name is going to be hilarious. Nice attempt. Some others:

What's Wrong With Wang?
Is Wang Pitching From Correct Angle?
Wang Having Control Issues
Wang Can't Hit the Spot