Exploring the Arsenal: Previewing the Cubs’ 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


Monday, 7:05 PM – Carlos Zambrano

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Zambrano’s fastball sits around 90 MPH and can touch as high as 94. He also throws a two-seamer with good sinking movement and a cutter, both at similar velocities. Against left-handed batters, he generally throws the two-seamer on the outer half and uses the cutter to tie up the inside corner. He also throws a low 80’s changeup, a slider around 80 MPH, and an occasisonal slow curve in the low 70’s. Zambrano throws from a variety of arm angles, moving from a straight over the top delivery all the way to a three-quarters release point. He does not have a big swing-and-miss pitch, with most of his offerings generating a whiff rate near league average. He is allowing quite a bit more contact than usual this season, which has led to a significant drop in his strikeout rate.


Tuesday, 7:05 PM – Randy Wells

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Wells’ fastball velocity is down significantly this year, hovering in the 87 MPH range and rarely cracking 90 MPH. He throws both a four-seam fastball and a sinking two-seamer. He also mixes in a changeup and slider, both of which sit in the low 80’s. He uses the change heavily against left-handed batters, but is not afraid to go to it against righties. Wells does a good job of missing bats, particularly with his secondary stuff, but his strikeout rate has fallen well below average this year. The majority of his punchouts have been of the swinging variety, so he may be due for an increase in K’s in the future.