The Best Phillies Pitches in 2010 – Phillies Nation

The Best Phillies Pitches in 2010

At Baseball Analytics on Thursday, I took a look at the four best cut fastballs among relievers last season. Using their research tool and Fangraphs’ pitch run values, I assembled some heat maps that took a graphical look at what made each pitch different, yet similarly effective. I figured I could apply that same concept over here, where we all could take a look at the pitches Fangraphs ranked the best among the Philly staff. Why not?

The requirement is at least 40 innings pitched, and we’ll be using run value per 100 pitches to level the playing field among starters and relievers while ranking the three best pitchers per pitch.


1. Roy Oswalt (opponents hit .126/.184/.214)

2. Ryan Madson (.231/.314/.308)

3. Cole Hamels (.246/.307/.401)


1. Roy Oswalt (.138/.186/.237)

2. Ryan Madson (.127/.148/.241)

3. Chad Durbin (.156/.282/.188)


1. Brad Lidge (.148/.216/.222)

2. Jose Contreras (.200/.233/.200)

3. Roy Oswalt (.289/.302/.500)


1. Roy Halladay (.188/.213/.312)

2. Chad Durbin (.125/.160/.250)

3. Joe Blanton (.193/.202/.349)


1. Roy Halladay (.244/.257/.373)

2. Jamie Moyer (.244/.250/.488)

3. Joe Blanton (.233/.271/.300)

For a “quilt” of sorts comparing the top three pitchers for each pitch, click the corresponding thumbnails below.






Some Brief Observations

– Roy Halladay will throw his cutter where he darn well pleases, thank you very much.

– The strike rates for Lidge’s slider and Oswal’t changeup are interesting, with gaping holes right down the middle.

– Oswalt’s slider being third-best with that rather ugly slash line tells you all you need to know about slider quality depth on the staff.

– The precision of both Durbin’s change and Oswalt’s slider to righties is impressive.



  1. Garo

    December 3, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Hamels’ fastball is interesting. Throws to the entire strikezone to righties, and gets strikes everywhere. Seems to me a pretty powerful tool.

    Contreras (slider) and Durbin (curveball) slugging pct seem really discrete; small sample size? How on earth do you hit the balls showing on the bottom and far right of Contreras’ slider graphic (slug)?

  2. Phylan

    December 3, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    The In Play Slug map for Blanton’s curveball looks like the crime scene of a stabbing incident.

    I’m also wondering what accounts for the fact that Hamels’ fastball strike rate is by far the smoothest/most evenly-distributed of the bunch.

  3. The Dipsy

    December 3, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Paul, I am impressed by our passion and you offer much to PN. But its Christmas time my man. Go out and drink some egg nog. Chase some girls. If you could formulate the same kinda stats for use in picking up chicks, you’d never spend the night alone. Mazel.

    The Dipsy

  4. The Dipsy

    December 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    *your passion.

    The Dipsy

  5. Phylan

    December 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I guess the fact that Hamels added a cutter and fastball velocity helped him get more swing-and-misses in the zone, come to think of it. But then I looked at Fangraphs, and his Z-Swing% decreased from last year and Z-contact increased, so that’s probably not true, unless they were fouling stuff off a lot more.

  6. Paul Boye

    December 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Never change, Dipsy. If that’s how you want it, that’s how you’ll get it from now on.

  7. Publius

    December 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    This is gorgeous. Nice effortpost man, still trying to work through this amazing data.

    And Dipsy, it’s Christmas time my old coot. Go out and chase those kids throwing snowballs at your house away. If you could find some archaic, calls-em-as-I-see-em attributes to stubbornly cling to in picking up chicks, you’d never spend the night forlornly commenting against the tide of history on a small internet blog.


  8. The Dipsy

    December 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Actually, Paul (and my last post was meant with affection), the heat map I would really love to see is the Brad Lidge heat map. I would suspect that it would show burning red in the very top middle of the strike zone AND burning red out of the strike zone low middle for the slider with practically no red anywhere else. He started to pitch better when he stopped throwing his fastball for strike 1 and moved to that baby “get over” slider that starts out high and then drops into the very top of the zone. I always thought that pitch was a ball but he was getting the calls. I will say that I like looking at heat maps more than reading those whacky numbers that I’ve never seen before, and further, please work on that chick heat map because if you won’t use it, I will. Thanks.

    The Dipsy

  9. Lefty

    December 3, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Cool colors man, goes realllly great with Steve Miller band playin in the background. Anyone got any Nilla Wafers? I’ve got the munchies.

  10. brooks

    December 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Dipsy your nuts but well loved my friend. With the attention I see from Paul put into these stats, I have no doubt of his success during this holiday season. Chicks dig detailed guys

    Hey Lefty, save some of that for me will ya?

  11. Mike

    December 4, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Interesting that Hamels’ change isn’t one of the top three on the staff by these numbers.

  12. The Dipsy

    December 4, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Sorry I missed the Lidge map. Doesn’t throw his slider for strikes except in the tippy top of the strike zone. I don’t think he can keep pitching like that.

    The Dipsy

  13. Lefty

    December 4, 2010 at 9:53 am

    As J Spicoli would say, righteous man.

    Dipsy, why not? It’s a slider, it’s not meant to end up in the strike zone, right?

  14. The Dipsy

    December 4, 2010 at 10:27 am

    So true, Lefty. But I believe its supposed to start in the strike zone and drop out of it so it can’t be hit. Thats Lidge strike out slider. But as you have no doubt noticed, Lidge now throws that slider that doesn’t break as much, starts it high, and then has it break right into the top of the zone. This is the one he throws for strikes. If you miss your spot by an inch on that pitch it can a loooooong way. Thats why that red is in the top of the zone. There should be no red in the top of the zone for as slider or curve.

    The Dipsy

  15. Lefty

    December 4, 2010 at 10:52 am

    You are right. It means it’s not breaking. I wonder if we could get graph pictures by month or half season. I don’t bet but if I did, I’d say he was not throwing it there at the end of the season. He improved as his signature pitch improved.


    December 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    RT @jonmorosi: Source says Gonzalez wants a “Howard-like contract.” #RedSox #Padres #Phillies #MLB

  17. jeff

    December 5, 2010 at 12:01 am

    gonzo is so much better. now with boston. great trade. oh baby. now bring in werth. oh babby. go sox

  18. Greg

    December 5, 2010 at 12:23 am

    Hmm, they’re both pretty damn well even, in my perspective. Adrian is a bit more disciplined with the bat, but doesn’t hit as many homeruns. In 200 more AB’s, Howard has hit 69 more homers. It could be because of CBP vs. Petco, but Howard hits his everywhere, like Adrian. Adrian does hit more doubles than Howard, but that’s about it. In the end, a slug of .016 higher doesn’t really justify the words “So much better”.

    Defensively, however, Adrian wrecks Howard.

    Ryan Howard 7 year stats:

    HR: 253
    RBI: 748
    BB: 465
    BA: .279
    OBP: .353
    Slug: .505
    OPS: .859

    Adrian Gonzalez after 7 years:

    HR: 168
    RBI: 525
    BB: 415
    BA: .284
    OBP: .368
    Slug: .511
    OPS: .875

    Adrian’s a bit younger, and should definitely do well in Boston.

    Considering we’ve grown up with Howard, I’d much rather have him, just for that reason.

  19. Greg

    December 5, 2010 at 12:24 am

    *Correction* meant 85 more HR’s for Howard. Dunno where 69 came from.

  20. ActuallyChilled

    December 5, 2010 at 3:19 am

    publius – lol. thats it


    December 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    greg-add a WS ring also!!!!!!!!!!!!

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