Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Cardinals’ Probable Starting Pitchers (Part 1)

Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each series, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitchers expected to oppose the Pirates. The charts below show the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2011. These charts are from the catcher’s point of view. For a general guide to pitch types for a right-handed pitcher, please check out this image created by Sons of Sam Horn. Graphs are courtesy of FanGraphs.

Pitch Types  
FA: Four-Seam Fastball FT: Two-Seam Fastball FC: Cutter
CU: Curveball SL: Slider CH: Changeup
FS: Splitter


Thursday, 8:15 PM – Edwin Jackson

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Jackson is your typical power pitcher, with a fastball that sits comfortably in the mid 90’s and can touch the 97-98 range. He also throws a hard slider in the upper 80’s that generates a good number of swings-and-misses. Occasionally, he will mix in a mid 80’s changeup to keep hitters honest. Despite the power repertoire, Jackson’s whiff rate is usually right around league average, as his fastball is surprisingly hittable. It seems that opposing teams tend to stack the lineup with left-handed batters when facing Jackson. He has faced more lefties than righties, both this season and over his entire career. That is unusual, especially considering the fact that he has never had much of a platoon split.


Friday, 8:15 PM – Jake Westbrook

(click to enlarge)

Westbrook does not miss many bats, with strikeout and whiff rates that are well below average. He lives on a plus sinker, a pitch that sits around 90 MPH and generates a ton of ground balls. His 80 MPH changeup also shows good sinking movement. He mixes in a mid 80’s slider and a curve that averages about 80 MPH. The change and curve both have above average whiff rates, which helps compensate for his hittable slider and the sinker that leads to plenty of balls in play. Westbrook currently leads the majors with a 61.0% ground ball rate, just a tick ahead of Charlie Morton’s 59.8%, which ranks second.

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