clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Game #117 Preview: 8/17, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Pittsburgh Pirates

Into Pittsburgh go the Diamondbacks; will they have their bats with them?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Hellickson
RHP, 8-8, 4.73
Gerrit Cole
RHP, 14-6, 2.48
Ender Inciarte - RF Gregory Polanco - RF
A.J. Pollock - CF Starling Marte - LF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Andrew McCutchen - CF
David Peralta - LF Aramis Ramirez - 3B
Welington Castillo - C Jung-Ho Kang - SS
Jake Lamb - 3B Neil Walker - 2B
Chris Owings - 2B Pedro Alvarez - 1B
Nick Ahmed - SS Francisco Cervelli - C
Jeremy Hellickson - RHP Gerrit Cole - RHP

I was looking at the battling splits for the National League this season, and the D-backs seem to struggle against power pitchers [defined here as "pitchers [who] are in the top third of the league in strikeouts plus walks." Now, we're not alone there - overall, the NL OPS facing power pitchers is 111 points lower than against finesse ones. But for the Diamondbacks, the gap this season is 129 points. There are some players for whom the split is much wider, and I wonder if that could perhaps be used as a platooning tool; rather than just looking at the handedness of the pitcher, maybe we should be looking at the "type" of pitcher as well?

For example, Welington Castillo has feasted on finesse pitchers for us, with a line of .279/.392/.721, for an OPS of 1.113. That's almost four hundred OPS points above what he has managed against power pitchers. However, in this case, it may be the product of small sample size, as over his entire career, he has a "reverse split", having fared 75 points better against power ones. David Peralta and A.J. Pollock also have large splits this season: 275 and 224 points respectively., and with career figures of 166 and 156 points respectively. With Inciarte's career figure leaning the other way (65 points better vs. power), perhaps that can be used to factor into playing time.

There's not much evidence to suggest this may already be the case. Overall, the ratio of finesse PA/power PA for the team is 1.82. If we were not taking that into consideration, you'd expected players to be close to the same ratio. And we see Pollock and Peralta have had a total of 205 PA vs. power pitchers, and 361 against finesse ones, a ratio of 1.76, so if anything, they are seeing more power pitching than most. It might be worth considering, because that 111 point power/finesse gap overall in the National League, is significantly bigger than the traditional lefty/right split - 25 points for RHB and 85 points foe lefties.