One of the benefits of having a team in the Florida State League that I cover is that it was one of two leagues that has public facing pitch and hit tracking data. Unfortunately there’s one team in the league that didn’t have it for their stadium and it was Daytona. We still got all of the data for their road games, though, so there was plenty to look at. Earlier this week I gathered the individual pitch data for the league’s pitchers who threw at least 50 innings, as well as every pitcher that came through Daytona.
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There were 70 pitchers in the league who threw at least 50 innings and nine of them played for the Tortugas. The pitchers for Daytona are going to have less overall data to parse through when it comes to pitchers with similar innings totals from other teams because of the lack of home park data.
With that said, some of the Daytona pitchers really had pitches stand out among the crowd. Let’s jump in to the data.
The 4-Seam Fastball
There were 64 pitchers in the league who threw a 4-seam fastball at least 10% of the time, though most were much higher than that. Three of the Cincinnati Reds prospects were in the top 10 in 4-seam fastball whiff rate among the pitchers who threw at least 50 innings. Javi Rivera was 3rd in the league with a 16.12% whiff rate. The league leader was Bryan Pope at 16.67% – but he also threw his 4-seamer just 10% of the time. His teammate Gustavo Rodriguez was second on the list at 16.59%, and he threw the pitch 70% of the time. Both are St. Louis Cardinal prospects. No other prospect was above 16%. Jose Franco was 8th in the league at 15.29%, and Ryan Cardona was 9th on the list at 14.8%.
Steven Hajjar never pitched for Daytona, but was with Fort Myers in the league before he was acquired by the Reds at the trade deadline. He didn’t quite throw 50 innings, but he had 43.2 of them. His 4-seam whiff rate would have been tied at the very top of the league at 16.67%. Jayvien Sandridge didn’t throw 50 innings in the league, but during his time in the Florida State League he had a whiff rate on his 4-seamer of 15.79% and threw the pitch 63% of the time.
The 2-Seam Fastball
Not nearly as many pitchers threw a sinker. Only 15 pitchers who threw at least 50 innings threw a 2-seamer at least 10% of the time. The top whiff rate among that group was 12.48%. Brett Lockwood was 4th on the list at 10.1%. Chase Petty was 9th at 9.47%. Luis Mey was the only other Tortugas who was throwing a 2-seamer, but he didn’t throw 50 innings to meet the threshold. He threw it just 15% of the time, but he had a whiff rate of 11.63% on it.
Only 12 of the 70 pitchers in the league with at least 50 innings thrown didn’t throw a slider at least 10% of the time. Among the group of 58 pitchers who did, Sam Benschoter topped the list with a whiff rate of 33.94%. The next closest player was at 29.86%. Jose Franco was 5th on the list at 26.02%.
Some of the relievers on the Tortugas staff performed well with the slider. Luis Mey had a 28.83% whiff rate. Jayvien Sandridge wasn’t far behind at 27.27%. Alex Johnson checked in at 26.32%.
Only 20 pitchers threw a curveball at least 10% of the time among the pitchers with at least 50 innings in the league. But among those 20 players it was once again Sam Benschoter who topped the list. His whiff percentage was 32.69%. That was more than 50% better than the next best rate in the league, which came from Edgar Sanchez of Jupiter (Marlins) who had a 21.52% whiff rate on his curveball. Jose Franco had a 20.99% whiff rate, which was 5th best in the league.
Two guys who didn’t meet that 50 inning requirement but showed off high whiff rate curveballs were Andrew Moore and Kevin Abel. Moore checked in with a 23.53% whiff rate on his curve, while Abel was at 23.38%.
The Change Up
43 pitchers in the league who threw 50 innings or more used a change up at least 10% of the time. Chase Petty checked in at #2 on the list with a 30.77% whiff rate on the pitch. Garrett Burhenn of Lakeland (Tigers) topped the league with a 32.12% whiff rate on his change up. The only other Reds prospect in the top 20 was Julian Aguiar, who came in at 19th with a 20.18 whiff rate.
Among Daytona pitchers who didn’t throw 50 innings there were two guys who stuck out. Owen Holt only used his change up 12% of the time but his whiff rate when he did was 36%. Kevin Abel threw his change up 18% of the time and had a whiff rate of 28.33%.
I was really impressed with the Daytona staff last year, including the lower profile guys like Franco. Assuming there is some correlation between the whiff rates (“It’s the whiff”), and pitchers stuff, I am encouraged by several guys. Good article.