Wednesday, July 8, 2009

More on Gutierrez

With the news that Carlos Gutierrez was being moved back to the bullpen, this post started to seem a little superfluous. However, I already typed the data in and Gutierrez made a start on Independence Day in Trenton, so I'm not quite sure what lies ahead for him and I'll continue with this analysis. In Gutierrez's 2nd start that I saw (June 24th against Harrisburg), he changed his pitch usage markedly from his first start. He threw 70 pitches, apparently on a pitch count because of his planned move back to the bullpen, 66 of which were fastballs and only 4 of which were sliders. 94.2% of his pitches were fastballs, and yet he was much more effective in this start than in his previous start. That could easily be small sample size issues, as I'm considering only one start in each case, but it is still interesting to note. He had 4 strikeouts and no walks, compared to no strikeouts and 3 walks in his previous home start. He gave up only one hard hit ball in the start, a home run after he threw consecutive fastballs in the 87-88 MPH range. In this start, he also held his fastball velocity much better than his previous one. He averaged 91.1 MPH on his fastball, but maybe more importantly held it consistently for all five innings this time. Here's his velocity by pitch number plot, with the low 80s pitches being the four sliders that he threw.

As usual, Gutierrez got groundballs with his sinking fastball, with 9 of his 13 balls in play being grounders, and 1 of the fly balls was off a slider. This start was one of his best at AA, but most of his starts haven't been nearly as good, and the chances of a one-pitch starter having success at higher levels are pretty low. It's unclear whether this move to the bullpen is a permanent one or if it is to help limit his innings because of his previous shoulder surgery, but if he doesn't improve his secondary pitches it will certainly be the former.

Oh, and here's Deolis Guerra in the stands last night before his first AA start tonight.

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