MLB Pitch Values: Top 10 Splitters of 2010

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIMarch 31, 2011

MLB Pitch Values: Top 10 Splitters of 2010

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Dan Haren #24 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Cleveland Indians on September 6, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Before the start of the season, I wanted to see which pitchers statistically had the best fastballs, curveballs, sliders, cutters, changeups and splitters of the 2010 season.

    Here is a look at the top splitters of the 2010 season. A few notes:

    The Pitch Value data was created by Fangraphs.com. I will be using the statistic, wSF, which denotes the runs above average for a particular pitch—in this case a splitter.  

    The wSF stat benefits starting pitchers and pitchers who throw a certain pitch more often. Because the more often you throw a pitch, the better the chances are of it being successful.

    Sometimes, PITCH/FX does not sort pitches into the right category. For example, Brandon Morrow’s splitter was categorized as a fastball. 

    Best Fastballs

    Best Cutters

    Best Sliders

    Best Curveballs

    Best Changeups 

10. Brandon League

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Pitcher Brandon League #43 of the Seattle Mariners delivers a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 26, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    wSF: 3.8 

    Average Velocity: 86.8 MPH

    League will start this season as the Mariners' closer. The pitch doesn't dive all that much, but it has great horizontal movement away from left-handed batters. He threw the pitch 10 percent of the time last season.   

9. Nick Masset

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    SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 25:  Nick Masset #40 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 25, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    wSF: 4.5 

    Average Velocity: 89.0 MPH

    Masset throws the hardest splitter on this list. A lot of PITCH/FX data labeled the pitch as a fastball because of its velocity. He threw the pitch almost 11 percent of the time. 

8. Dan Haren

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    ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 15:  Dan Haren #24 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Angel Stadium on August 15, 2010 in Anaheim, California. The Blue Jays defeated the Angels 4-1.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    wSF: 4.8 

    Average Velocity: 85.3 MPH

    Haren used his splitter 18 percent of the time last season, and it has been a consistent pitch for him over his career. 

    He recorded a K/9 rate of 8.27 in 2010, and is primed for a big season in 2011. 

7. Edward Mujica

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    SAN DIEGO - APRIL 06:  Pitcher Edward Mujica #45 of the San Diego Padres throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 6, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.  The Dodgers won 4-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    wSF: 5 

    Average Velocity: 87.5 MPH

    Mujica had a great 2010 season with a 12.0 K/BB ratio, and his sharp downward splitter had a lot to do with that success. He threw the pitch 37.5 percent of the time and he got batter to chase at his pitches outside the strikezone 36 percent of the time. 

6. Hiroki Kuroda

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30:  Hiroki Kuroda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 30, 2010 at Dodger Stadium  in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    wSF: 5 

    Average Velocity: 87.3 MPH

    Kuroda used the pitch 12 percent of the time in 2010, and it is a key pitch that helps Kuroda record 50 percent of his outs on the groud. 

5. JJ Putz

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    CHICAGO - JULY 07: J.J. Putz #40 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at U.S. Cellular Field on July 7, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Angels 5-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    wSF: 5.1

    Average Velocity: 86.9 MPH

    Putz has one of the splitters in baseball, and increased his use of the pitch in 2010. He threw it close to 30 percent of the time, and he had his best strikeout rate since 2006 at 10.83 K/9. 

    The pitch has great downward movement and biting action away moving away across the plate from left-handed batters. 

4. Brad Penny

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    CINCINNATI - MAY 16:  Brad Penny #33 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 16, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    wSF: 5.7

    Average Velocity: 88.8 MPH

    Penny has had a splitter in his repertoire since 2008, but Dave Duncan helped Penny to develop the pitch last season. If Penny were healthy and able to pitch the entire season, he would have been at the top of this list. 

    It became his favorite secondary pitch and threw it at a 29 percent rate. 

3. Brian Sanches

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    WASHINGTON - AUGUST 06:  Relief pitcher Brian Sanches #44 of the Florida Marlins delivers against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 6, 2009 in Washington, DC. The Nationals defeated the Marlins 12-8.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Imag
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    wSF: 6.2 

    Average Velocity: 76.4 MPH

    Sanches throws the softest splitter on this list, and it was effective because of its downward movement and the 12 mph difference from his fastball.

    Sanches had to battle for a spot on the Marlins' roster this season, but he will be in Florida ready to showcase one the better splitters in baseball.  

2. Manny Parra

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    CINCINNATI - MAY 18:  Manny Parra #26 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 18, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    wSF: 6.3 

    Average Velocity: 85.0 MPH

    Manny Parra has struggled in his last two seasons with the Brewers with ERAs of 6.36 and 5.02. With that said, Parra would have had even worse seasons without the effectiveness of the pitch.

    His difficulties lie with his poor fastball command, but his splitter helped him to record a 9.52 K/9 rate.  

1. Jose Valverde

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 16:  Jose Valverde #46 of the Detroit Tigers deals a pitch against the New York Yankees on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Tigers defeated the Yankees 3-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    wSF: 6.6 

    Average Velocity: 86.5 MPH

    Valverde had the best splitter in baseball last season because of it's late downward movement. He used the pitch 53 percent of the time. 

    Valverde struck out a hitter per inning and recorded a 54 percent groundball rate. 

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