Monday April 27, 2009
What is wrong with Jake Peavy?
The most consistent question or concern I have seen recently in regards to the San Diego Padres is what is wrong with Jake Peavy?
Peavy’s results have been very inconsistent so far in 2009 with 1 mediocre start to lead off the season, 2 good starts and 2 straight poor starts in which he has given up at least 5 earned runs.
The positives – Peavy’s K/9 is up to 9.19. Last season he was at 8.60 K/9 and for his career he is at 8.97 K/9. Peavy is also seeing much more movement on his curveball, giving him another out pitch. Peavy is also inducing ground balls at a higher rate.
The negatives – At 3.73 bb/9, Peavy’s bb/9 is up nearly a walk per 9 ip over his career average of 2.90 and 2008’s 3.06. More base runners generally means more runs scored. Peavy’s HR/9 is also up substantially over his 2008 numbers. 1.15 so far this season to .88 in 2008 and .92 for his career. Walk more guys and give up an extra home run every other outing and you are definitely going to see more runs scored. Finally you have his .340 babip. Babip is base hits on balls in play. Subtract home runs from total hits and you get babip. For most pitchers this averages out at about .300 If the babip for a particualr pitcher is over .300 then he has run into a spell of bad luck. So combine more walks and home runs than normal with a a few extra hits falling than would normally fall and you have what we have seen this season.
So what is causing Peavy’s apparent decline?
In my opinion the thing that has changed the most in Jake Peavy’s pitching in 2009 and what is most responsible for his increased number of walks and pitches thrown is the placement of his pitches.
For some reason Peavy seems to be nibbling more.
In the past Peavy has always been a power pitcher that challenged hitters. In 2009 he is nibbling at the corners more than ever.
The biggest culprit in the lowered fastball speed has been the nibbling at the corners instead of blowing it by the hitter at or above the waist.
I have not looked at Pitch F/X, but after having watched all of Peavy’s starts this season it is apparent he is nibbling more. I would love to see a chart of his location, especially on fastballs this season as compared to seasons past.
Peavy may be suffering from the misguided notion that the Padres have a poor offensive team. Maybe he should be reading this blog.
He may be nibbling because he feels he has to be perfect because the Padres won’t score enough runs to support him. As I have already shown, the Padres offense rates quite well compared to the rest of the NL West and is average or above average in the NL as a whole.
So STOP that Jake. Go out and do your thing and let the hitters do theirs and it will all work out.
I believe that Peavy will rebound as the season progresses and we will see more of Jake of old as Balsley and others point out that he is not doing the things that made him successful as a pitcher in the past.
I would sure like to see Peavy challenging more batters with his fastball up in the zone. Take that 4 seamer up the ladder and see if they can hit his chest high heater. I think the results would be better than so many fastballs down and away.
I have had my say. Now what do you think?
What is wrong with Jake Peavy?