• Wang Trending In A Bad Direction?

    Posted by on April 8th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Chien-Ming Wang got roughed up in his first start of the 2009 season.

    Now, in the past, the key for Worm Killer Wang has been to keep the ball on the ground (and that didn’t happen tonight in Baltimore). Check out these career stats, through last season, for Wanger (via Baseball-Reference.com) in terms of how he does when he keeps the grounders coming (or not):

               Split  G   PA   AB  R   H 2B 3B HR   BA   OBP  SLG  BAbip
        Ground Balls 97 1274 1274 85 260 16  1  0  .204 .204 .218  .204
           Fly Balls 95  435  423 76  97 35  3 29  .229 .223 .532  .167
         Line Drives 93  391  391 88 263 66  6  5  .673 .673 .910  .668
               Bunts 25   32   24  0  14  0  0  0  .583 .583 .583  .583

    As you can see, when Wang makes batters hit it on the ground, they don’t reach base. And, when they hit flyballs against him that stay in the park, he’s pretty darn good too. However, when a batter squares him up and hits a liner, Wang is in big trouble.

    O.K., here comes the bad part, it’s Wang’s career stats (via FanGraphs.com) also throuh 2008, in terms of what type of batted balls he has allowed through the last four seasons:

    Season	GB/FB	LD%	GB%	FB%
    2005	2.91	14.1	63.9	22.0
    2006	3.09	16.9	62.8	20.3
    2007	2.51	18.3	58.4	23.3
    2008	2.41	22.1	55.0	22.8

    Note that Wang’s FB% is pretty consistent each season. However, his GB/FB and GB% have gone down for three years in a row whereas his LD% has gone up the last three years in a row.

    Does this mean that Wang is throwing less grounders and allowing more liners? Yup. And, we know what happens when Wang throws less grounders and allows more liners (thanks to that first set of career stats shown herein) – batters, as a whole, have a lot more success against him.

    Clearly, this is a trend that the Yankees, and their fans, would like to see Wang reverse. Sadly, it didn’t happen in his first start this season. Hopefully, it will start to happen in his next.

    Comments on Wang Trending In A Bad Direction?

    1. April 9th, 2009 | 1:44 am

      [...] Joba reacts to his DUI tape / Wang Trending In A Bad Direction? [...]

    2. Corey
      April 9th, 2009 | 9:24 am

      one plus about Wang’s start yesterday was that he threw a nasty change up…I think less grounders is more of a product of wang trying to get his secondary pitches in more than anything

    3. clintfsu813
      April 9th, 2009 | 9:46 am

      He better pitch well his next start..ill be watching in person!

    4. thenewguy
      April 9th, 2009 | 9:48 am

      I’m with you Corey. It seems like Wang has been trying to get some secondary pitches going the last couple of seasons. (I think) his K/9 has gone up slightly while his GB% is falling.

      I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that Wang is working on secondary pitches. I sort of figure, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Mo doesn’t need to work on secondary pitches. Of course, I’m no manager or player, so maybe his sinker was (or was going to be) too recognizable to ML hitters.

    5. thenewguy
      April 9th, 2009 | 9:53 am

      FWIW, Wang’s K/9:

      ’05: 3.6
      ’06: 3.1
      ’07: 4.7
      ’08: 5.1

      HR/9
      ’05: .7
      ’06: .5
      ’07: .4
      ’08: .4

      So I dunno. His K/9 is going up slightly, and his HRs/9 aren’t. I think he’ll be fine.

    6. April 9th, 2009 | 9:55 am

      I’ve been thinking about Wang’s declining grounder rate and increasing liner rate. It could be that his sinker is losing something. Or, it could be that the batters have learned to let the sinker go and are now just hacking at his secondary pitches. Or, maybe it’s a little of both? Don’t get me wrong, he still gets grounders – it’s just that he’s not getting them at the awesome rate that he was three years ago. He should be OK – but, this could mean that he’s not going to be an ace with an unhittable sinker and that he’s going to be more like a #3 or #4 starter with a good sinker. Again, I stress “could” – as we need to wait and see…

    7. Corey
      April 9th, 2009 | 9:56 am

      i dunno why but one specific change-up he threw last night got me so excited, it looked exactly like the sinker comin out of his hand except it bugs bunny’s its way down and away to the lefty (i forget who was at the plate)

    8. clintfsu813
      April 9th, 2009 | 10:43 am

      I remember Singleton saying something about one of his pitches having best the appearance of 2 seperate pitches. I didnt watch much after it went 7-1 though.

    9. Corey
      April 9th, 2009 | 10:48 am

      singleton was just referring to Wang’s sinker cause he throws it hard enough to be a fastball but it has the break of a breaking ball…i watched the whole game, as I plan on doing for every game this season

    10. clintfsu813
      April 9th, 2009 | 10:58 am

      I like your dedication. I also liked the bullpen after Wang yesterday..kept us in the game at least.

    11. Corey
      April 9th, 2009 | 11:10 am

      i picked albaladejo for MY bullpen way back

    12. clintfsu813
      April 9th, 2009 | 11:20 am

      Yeah..i see good things from him. Also, I like opposing commentators mispronouncing his name..heck, ours too, lol

    13. Corey
      April 9th, 2009 | 11:24 am

      lol, can’t wait to hear morgan try to say it

    14. Evan3457
      April 9th, 2009 | 12:13 pm

      I’m not sure any clear trend is dectectable at all there.

      The first season was 2005, in which he missed two months with a shoulder injury just as the league might have been starting to figure him out.

      Last season, had a bad stretch just before he got hurt, and was possibly starting to heat up when he fractured/sprained his foot. He had pitched four poor games in a row, before pitching a good one in Oakland, and was throwing a shutout in Houston when he hurt himself running the bases.

      So, it may be a clear trend toward a higher line drive percentage, or it may be that he would’ve pitched better as the season went along.

      If it is a trend, than maybe the league has caught up to him, and he’ll have to adjust. I think he will if he stays healthy; he has the raw stuff to remain effective.

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