MLB's Most Impressive Curves

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MLB's Most Impressive Curves
In Effective Curves, I looked at the best curveballs in terms of actual effectiveness. This time, it's impressive curveballs, the ones with the biggest drop or sweep.

I'm going to dump a lot of data on ya here, so hold on tight.

First the tables. Note the three Cubs lefty starters in the pfx_z (drop ball) group. If you're reading this on Cubs f/x, you can click and sort the columns.

For each group, I picked just the guys with curveballs that had either pfx_x or pfx_z of 8.5 inches or more. In the data below, everything is converted to positive numbers, so lefty and right curves break the same way, and the normally negative numbers for the pfx_z are positive. There are 15 in the Yakker group, 16 in the Sweeper group. Only submariner Chad Bradford appears on both groups. I think I'll re-visit him later. I really want to start getting at the pitch trajectory/arm angle thing somehow. You may have noticed some charts that included pitcher height with release points plotted, but I digress.....

Yakkers



















firstlastmphpfx_xpfx_z##SwBCSSSFXHRHR%SwRtWhiff%B:CS
RichHill737.68.53113111201078428573500.0%38.6%23.3%1.3
BrettMyers796.69.515815854614310222200.0%34.2%18.5%1.4
ChadBradford809.28.518218298503413444010.6%53.9%13.3%1.5
PhilHughes727.49.92152158481509344010.5%39.1%10.7%1.6
JasonHammel767.78.5494917201256600.0%34.7%29.4%1.7
MattHerges756.38.57878253518651400.0%32.1%24.0%1.9
TomShearn693.810.15959262211481311.7%44.1%15.4%2.0
RickVanden Hurk716.69.53434619921300.0%17.7%33.3%2.1
AdamWainwright737.29.0242242921044635302700.0%38.0%38.0%2.3
RandyWolf666.38.82020107313600.0%50.0%10.0%2.3
BarryZito701.711.11351355955217202932.2%43.7%11.9%2.6
TedLilly714.79.3241241931113717354010.4%38.6%18.3%3.0
DougDavis685.48.52692691191193137433810.4%44.2%31.1%3.8
JasonIsringhausen794.49.57474393051415911.4%52.7%35.9%6.0
SeanMarshall734.99.91021026037515232200.0%58.8%25.0%7.4


Barry Zito is Mr. 12-to-6. Tom Shearn is a distant second, with less drop and more sweep. Zito is a freak.

Sweepers



















firstlastmphpfx_xpfx_z##SwBCSSSFXHRHR%SwRtWhiff%B:CS
EricGagne709.16.380802828248101000.0%35.0%28.6%1.2
ChadBradford809.28.518218298503413444010.6%53.9%13.3%1.5
JavierLopez8110.13.996964829196202200.0%50.0%12.5%1.5
BronsonArroyo7111.22.712012061362315152921.7%50.8%24.6%1.6
YormanBazardo7910.02.9232399542300.0%39.1%44.4%1.8
KaneDavis818.83.53232915824300.0%28.1%22.2%1.9
AndySonnanstine748.83.2868641311414111600.0%47.7%34.2%2.2
JoeSmith8510.32.95555281985131000.0%50.9%17.9%2.4
SeanGreen889.33.32872871311124419625000.0%45.6%14.5%2.5
MattBelisle759.02.989893440151115800.0%38.2%32.4%2.7
JayMarshall8111.73.82032039380306464100.0%45.8%6.5%2.7
CaseyJanssen788.96.06666322599111111.5%48.5%28.1%2.8
VinnieChulk808.82.62323119343400.0%47.8%36.4%3.0
JameyWright7510.06.1888822501686800.0%25.0%36.4%3.1
RoyceRing729.33.27171243611105900.0%33.8%41.7%3.3
MattMorris718.86.92452458247244050200.8%47.4%20.7%1.7

As promised, today's Victim of the Occasionally Active Cubs' Bats, Matt Morris, makes the cut.




Here are a bunch of line graphs - each one sorted by a particular stat, to show the best-to-least for each group. There are a couple interesting things, and I'll have to go back and look at this across the whole population, not just one extreme or another. And re-evaluate the methodology.

MPH



pfx_z (vertical spin movement - drop caused by spin beyond the effects of gravity and trajectory)



pfx_x (horizontal spin movement)



Swing Rate



Whiff Rate



Balls to CS Ratio



In this last one, Sean Marshall and Jason Isringhausen are the outliers. They do have very high swing rates, too.
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