Welcome to this week's edition of Kicking and Screaming, a Walkoff Walk introduction to Pitch F/x. Last week we looked at the system and its ability to determine balls and strikes. This week, we'll look at movement and Zack Greinke's superlative slider.
As anyone that who's favorite team features a right handed slugger not named "Albert Pujols" knows, the slider is a most bedeviling pitch. Countless times we watch our big right handed bats waving at pitches bouncing in the other batters box. "Just lay off!" we scream at the TV in unison. The combination of speed and movement make the slider a most effective pitch, and as we'll learn, most effective when thrown outside the strike zone.
Zack Greinke's slider rates as the best in baseball this season, according to Fangraphs pitch type linear weights. Friday night, he put that slider to good use in beating the Rangers. The Royals ace scattered 3 hits over 7 innings while striking out 10. Zack's slider was in fine form, registering but a single hit against his mean slide piece.
The next step in our Pitch F/x journey is movement; charting how much Zack's slider moved down and away. Comparing Friday's start to Zack's worst of the year (7 runs and two tots allowed in June against the not-yet-worsening Blue Jays) we see that more movement isn't always better. Hit the jump to get into the graphy goodness!