Cliff Lee Pitch F/X 2008
Pitch Types & Speeds
We can see that Lee has all but ditched the changeup, going from 16.7% in 2007 to 1.56% in 2008. The Curve has become his #2 pitch and would act as his secondary pitch but at only 7.5% he’s basically a one pitch pitcher in 2008. The Fastball itself is still a high rising 4 seamer but he’s added a significant amount of horizontal movement to the pitch (6.59 vs 3.83 inches).
Talk about consistency. The rise in his fastball was somewhat all over the place in 2007. In 2007 everything is tightly packed together. These graphs illustrate the added horizontal movement.
During both years of Pitch F/X data Lee has been consistent with his release point. This would be a bigger issue (same arm slot for secondary pitches) if Lee wasn’t having so much success with his fastball (85% of pitches thrown).
In terms of basic stats Lee has shaved nearly 4.5 runs off of his ERA. This obviously won’t keep. Note the amazing SO/BB ratio. In 2007 it was approximately 2 – 1. In 2008 its an unreal 19.5-1. Lee knows what he wants to do and has the impeccable to control to do it. For someone in the zone as often as Lee is the one HR against is simply amazing.
Hit Type Data
The D behind Lee has been great, at an unsustainable .789 DER ratio. His LD% is down, although only slightly, while his GB ratio is through the roof vs career norms. 85.9% LOB% is plain silly and so is his 2.4% flyball to HR ratio.
All told the conclusion here is obvious, this isn’t going to keep. The defense has been nothing short of awesome and the HR ratio’s are low. But Lee does look like the real deal in terms of his control. His pitches are going exactly where he wants them to. His game plan isn’t any secret either, with 85% fastballs. Opponents know what’s coming and they still can’t do anything with it. Once the weather heats up expect more of the flyballs to turn into HR.
With this great start Lee should be able to finish 2008 with close to a sub 3.00 ERA. The control is the key, so look to his game logs and in particular the BB ratio.