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Washburn's Off the Mark vs. Lefties
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 3/4/2007 12:55:00 PM
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The Mariners story of the day in the Seattle-area Sunday papers is Jarrod Washburn's goal of improving against left-handed hitters this season. Last year he allowed career highs of .317 AVG against and .875 OPS against.

Washburn's theory, quoted in each of the papers, as to why he sucked against lefties last year:

"I used to throw inside to lefties all the time. For some reason and I don't know what it was I got away from that last year."

Sounds good, but it's not true. Here's his percentage of inside pitches to lefties since 2002, according to Stats Inc. (the data dated to only 2002).

2006: 84 inside pitches of 586 total pitches to LH -- 14.3%
2005: 79 of 533 -- 14.8%
2004: 72 of 590 -- 12.2%
2003: 159 of 704 -- 22.5%
2002: 190 of 684 -- 27.7%

And his AVG and OPS against vs. LH:

2006: .317/.875
2005: .266/.687
2004: .225/.664
2003: .230/.682
2002: .199/.618

It's not the sheer number of inside pitches that is impacting his fate. He did used to throw inside more, but the frequency started ebbing in 2004, not last year. And there doesn't necessarily seem to be a correlation between the number of inside pitches and success (see 2003 vs. 2004).

This doesn't identify why he was so bad against lefties last year, just that the reason likely isn't what Washburn thinks it is -- which is a problem in and of itself.


I also read the article and was surprised at Washouts comments. I did not know the stats, so his excuse seemed reasonable. Then I wondered why this adjustment couldn't have been made during the season...or at least noticed that his inside pitch rate has dropped over the years.
Posted by seattle_silverbacks at 3/5/2007 3:19:00 PM

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