MLB Pitchers: Top Ten Effective Curveballs

Harry PavlidisSenior Analyst IApril 8, 2008

Who has the most effective curveball? Taking all the curveballs together, the average outcomes in terms of Home Runs allowed, Swings and Whiffs, B:CS ratio were calculated.

First, the benchmarks - league averages.

Swing Rate 40.8%
Whiff Rate 25.3 %
B:CS 2.1:1
HR% 4.6%

So, if you're better than average on all these, you throw strikes, get hitters to swing and miss, and don't give up homers.

Who makes the cut? Ten pitchers. Some superstars, some not. Here is their PFX chart - I'm using the absolute value of pfx_x to show lefties and righties together.

Here are the numbers for each pitcher

Ruddy Lugo1560.0%45.5%28.2%1.575.57.77.4226.61093.7
Juan Gutierrez380.0%47.4%27.8%1.576.06.37.4219.71009.8
Pedro Martinez420.0%54.8%39.1%1.771.17.35.7228.6990.7
Justin Germano3060.3%42.5%26.2%1.468.17.97.6226.3977.2
Roy Halladay1920.0%42.2%39.5%1.977.87.33.2244.9865.3
Bobby Seay1050.0%41.0%34.9%1.376.86.83.0115.3802.7
Ben Sheets1440.0%45.1%26.2%1.980.14.44.3225.8694.6
Eric O'Flaherty220.0%40.9%44.4%
Manny Parra700.0%54.3%31.6%1.576.23.54.5144.7627.3
Victor Santos220.0%45.5%30.0%1.476.13.84.1220.9601.1

Wednesday night I'll post on Impressive Curves. Hill and Zito come to mind.