This is the post you’ve all been waiting for. Please, hold your excitement because I’m about to use PFX to look at Ryan Sadowski’s first major league start. Madison Bumgarner and Tim Alderson he’s not, but let’s check out what the 26-year-old was throwing in his first major league win.
Sadowski appears to work mainly off of three pitches. A fastball with some tailing action, a slider, and a curveball. PitchFX believes that he may have mixed in a couple of changeups, but after looking at the pitches, I’m not sure they weren’t fastballs. So, I eye-balled things and just called them fastballs. It’s not overly important because it seems that any changeup that Sadowski might be throwing is a 4th best pitch — ie: not something he’s going to throw 99% of the time.
Here’s the horizontal vs. vertical break for Sadowski’s pitches in graph form.
As you can see from the data table above, Sadowski’s curveball doesn’t have huge break. It’s more of your tight breaking curve. Depending on how he’s griping the fastball, it’s going to cut in on right-handed batters and the slider is something else for righties to think about. Looks like a pretty generic arsenal to me. Let’s check out Sadowski’s velo throughout the game.
Sadowski mainly worked in the upper-80′s with his fastball. He touched 92.5 mph once with the pitch but generally settled in around 89 mph. The fastball and slider are both around the mid-80′s and the curveball is only pitch that’s dropping below 80 mph.
Here’s how Sadowski pitched RHB’s
Right-handed batters got the fastball in and the slider away with a few curveballs down and out of the zone. From this graph, you can see that Sadowski did a nice job spotting his slider to right-handers. It looks like he put quite a few fastballs down the middle of the plate. But, that’s where he got most of groundballs.
And how he pitched LHB’s
Left-handed batters were pitched away from by Sadowski more than righties. There’s still some pitches in the middle of zone, but you can see that Sadowski make a conscious effort to stay away from lefties. Maybe not such a bad idea since lefties were hitting him the hardest in AAA.
It’s possible that Sadowski will be sent down soon to make room for an infielder like Kevin Frandsen. And if so, it’s not really a bad move to make. Sadowski’s stuff is borderline for a MLB starter. I think we can all agree that he pitched his heart out in his first major league career start. Still, the fact that he only struck out two hitters and walked three is pretty much what you should expect in the future. He did get quite a few groundballs, but getting groundballs is something he’s only been marginally good at in the minors. I’d love for Sadowski to stick around and go on an Aaron Small-type run for the Giants, but more often than not, the league catches up quickly to this type of pitcher.
What fans shouldn’t do is make more out of Sadowski’s start than needs to be. He came up, collected his first big league win, got a hit, and that should be enough for us. Congrats on your first major league win, Ryan.
UPDATE: Looks like for the time being, Sadowski is in the rotation. From Baggs:
As if Ryan Sadowski’s presence in a Giants uniform today wasn’t a big enough clue, Manager Bruce Bochy told us the right-hander will start Friday when the Giants begin a homestand against the Houston Astros.