by Mike Rogers
Clayton Richard made his San Diego Padres debut on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers after being acquired by the Pads for Jake Peavy (trade valuation coming from me sometime tomorrow on Beyond the Boxscore where I’ll be joining the BtB team of writers) on Friday. Before we jump into the PITCHf/x, lets look at the start through the numbers:
5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 90 pitches (49 strikes), 8 ground outs, 4 fly outs.
Now, onto the graph-y goodness. First up is the release points (click images to enlarge):
Richard stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 240-pounds, but he was consistently “releasing” the baseball at just under 6-foot. So, he comes from a 3/4 arm slot. But, he repeats his delivery well and comes from a very consistent release point.
Now, the strikezone plot:
He only threw 49 strikes out of the 90 total pitches, so he was a bit wild. The view is from the catcher’s perspective, so he worked away from right-handed hitters for most of the night, but given the amount of right-handers he faced, that’s not surprising.
And speaking of how he attacked right-handed and left-handed batters, here’s a couple pie graphs:
Typical platoon split: drops the change-up versus left-handed hitters, and picks it back up against right-handers. Overall, though, he worked the fastball (either four-seam [FF] or two-seam [FT]) all night.
And now the pitch flight graph (again, courtesy of Harry Pavlidis):
My breakdown of Clayton Richard differs a bit from Myron Logan’s. I attempted to split up the four-seam and two-seam fastballs as best I could, but I still might be/am probably wrong on some of them. I wound up with 48 four-seamers and 21 two-seamers while averaging 91.7 MPH on the former and 90.4 on the latter. His four-seamer seemed to have a bit more arm-side run, but less sink (minimally). Just keep in mind that I was eye-balling the fastballs and made some judgement calls, so they aren’t anywhere near 100% accurate (and if they are, it’s absolute luck on my part).
As far as his breaking ball goes, MLB Gameday classified three of them as curveballs, but after graphing them out, there was virtually no difference in flight path from his slider. I don’t know if he throws a curveball or a slider, but on the flight paths I went with curveball as I believe that’s what the scouting report on him says. As you probably noticed, I classified them all as sliders on the other graphs — that’s just a little mistake on my part, but they’re still depicting the same data set. Either way, he’s got a bit of “sweep” on his slider and some decent downward movement.
Meanwhile, his change-up has some arm-side run but very little sinking action.
On the whole, Richard looks to have pretty average stuff for a big, tall lefty, but his results speak for themselves thus far: 4.32 FIP in 142.1 big league innings pitched. So, he’s definitely a back-end starter, but he’s got value as he’s probably above-average for a number 5 starter.
Overall, the Padres got a good haul in the Jake Peavy deal.