Analyzing Liriano's release point from last night's win.

Fransisco Lirano pitched 6 innings in the Twins' victory against Seattle, in which he allowed only 3 hits, 1 ER, 5 strikeouts, but 4 BB as well. After his previous start, I demonstrated that his release point was all over the place. I wanted to follow his release point closely in yesterday's game and I got inning by inning snapshots of his release point of various pitches, to see if it could tell a better story. The following pitchFX graphs (from Brooksbaseball.net) are graphs of his release point of pitches he threw up and including the indicated inning. Without further ado:

Inning 1 release point:

Fransisco's release point is all over the place again.

Innings 1-2 release point:

You see that a nicer core release point is been established

Innings 1-3 release point:

the core is continuing to be established, few more pitches outside the core

Innings 1-4 release point:

Even nicer core

Innings 1-5 release point:

It really appears that there are two core release points established, one to the left of the other

Innings 1-6 (his whole performance) release point:

The two cores are even more established...

What does that mean? I was really surprised to see two different release points, so I wanted to look more into it, so I looked into release vs lefties and righties to see whether the chirality of the batter he faced made a difference.

Here is his release point against RHB:

nice and tight (well, as far as Liriano goes.) It coincides with the left-most core in the total.

and here is his release point against LHB:

Less tight, but it coincides with the right-most core in the total.

The conclusion here is that Liriano has two different release points. He drops his arm to the right (from batter's view) when he faces lefties and pitches consistently upright when he faces righties. Is this just a coincidence in this game?

Let's look at his splits from that 5/30 game.

Here is his release point against RHB:

decent core to the left with about 3 pitches probably slipping off his fingers

a core more to the right with a few pitches even further away.

Still, the core release points are there, but are not tight. And I am not sure what having 2 different release points does to someone's ability to throw the ball accurately where he wants, but I suspect that it is not good. Let's look at a very good tight core release point.

This is Kevin Slowey's release point from his last game

Total pitches:

Against RHB:

Against LHB:

No difference against LHB and RHB and an extremely tight core. I think that the differences between Slowey's tight release point and Liriano's dual and loose release point translate to their differences in command and control: Slowey rarely walks anyone and has very good command of all his pitches, while Liriano has problems with his command and control. A single consistent release point could go a long way for Fransisco.


White Mamba said...

Thrylos -

Great post, as usual. You write a fantastic blog. Just wondering if you know whether or not Liriano has better control versus righties or lefties.

thrylos98 said...

White Mamba,

thanks. Based on the data, if my hypothesis was correct, you would assume that it would translate to worse control against LHB, correct?

Well, it does:

Here is Liriano's control splits

against RHB: K/BB = 2.00 BB/9 = 3.06
against LHB: K/BB = 1.10 BB/9 = 4.91