Broxton’s Return: Velocity is Back, Movement is Not (Plus Some Kenley Jansen Stuff).

If you saw Jonathan Broxton‘s performance on Saturday, you were probably a little relieved. Broxton faced eight batters, gave up no hits and got six outs. The two walks made it interesting, but that seemed to be a little rust he was shaking off as they came against two of the first three batters.

The point, though, is that nobody really touched Broxton’s stuff. (All graphs provided by BrooksBaseball.net, please go visit their site and say thank you for all of the info).

Broxton's Box Score July 24, 2010

I don’t understand the bunt groundout–I do, but it was a silly move with Reyes at bat–but after the bunt, he got two strikeouts and three groundouts. Nobody hit anything to the outfield, which is lightyears better than he did last week, and best of all he mixed in his slider.

The funny thing is the velocity on his fastball is there, but the movement isn’t.

Jonathan Broxton PitchF/X July 24, 2010

Jonathan Broxton PitchF/X July 24, 2010

Looks like the healthy mixing of sliders kept batters from timing the fastball.

Broxton's Spin Axis Graph, July 24, 2010

This graph’s a little tricky, but just look at the dots. The ones up top are the fastballs, the ones on the bottom are the sliders. Three of the eight sliders were called strikes. Five fastballs were thrown for swinging strikes.

And even better:

Broxton Strikezone Plot July 24, 2010

Broxton Strikezone Plot July 24, 2010

Strikezone plots aren’t the most accurate thing, but Broxton was hitting the bottom edge of the zone and didn’t get the calls.

Broxton loves that high-and-inside fastball, mostly to set up a low and away one, so don’t pay much attention to that small grouping up there. The great news in this is that he kept the fastball down after that and it led to four groundouts. Looking at this opposed to last week’s Sunday appearance, where the game-tying and game-winning runs were scored off of well-hit singles, both of those pitches were fastballs left high in the zone.

You can take into context the opponents Broxton was facing; the Mets’ offense isn’t exactly world-stopping right now. But then again, in the St. Louis loss, Broxton gave up big hits to a AAA hitter and the world’s worst offensive catcher.

I’m still taking this as great news.

————-

I was at yesterday’s game and watching Kenley Jansen make his major league debut was nothing short of awesome. I tweeted during the game that he was commanding his fastball speed really well and it turns out it’s because he didn’t throw his fastball that much. He threw a four-seam fastball (that ranged 93-97, avg. 95), a cutter (92-94) and a curveball (low 80s). Jesus Christ.

His accuracy wasn’t there–he had five swinging strikes that were down the middle of the plate, for cripe’s sake–but good lord was he impressive. Five swinging strikes out of 14 pitches is incredible. I hope he gets more like that.

Edit: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Broxton’s movement not being there yet.  It may be he’s throwing the ball not as hard so he can maintain control and if that’s the case, then stick to it.  Not that this is a certainty, but it seems Broxton has his best outings when he’s got command.

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Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, pitch f/x

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