Review on Wang’s StartsApril 19, 2009
Well, to put it mildly, Wang’s start today did not go well. By that I mean the Yankees would’ve been better off setting up a tee for the Indians hitters because maybe then they wouldn’t have been able to go so dinger-crazy.
I mentioned last night (in the post just below) that I thought there was a problem with Wang’s delivery, and his release point was not right. He doesn’t seem to be pushing off of the mound like he should, and he’s letting the ball fly out too high. I just took a look at the pitch fx data from his start today, and compared it to last season. All of these charts and data are from brooksbaseball.net, which has data for every game and is an amazing site.
The first graph is from Wang’s best start last season, a complete game against the Red Sox last April in which he did not walk a batter and allowed a single run:
You can see here that his average release point is a shade below 6 feet vertically and -2.5 feet horizontally.
This graph is the same set of data from Wang’s last start against the Indians, May 7th, 2008:
Here, Wang’s release is higher than in the start vs. Boston, but still relatively consistent throughout the whole game. On the horizontal axis it is slightly closer to third base than the previous graph, but once again it is consistent through the whole game. This is as high as Wang’s release got all of last season.
This last graph is for Wang’s start today:
And for Wang’s previous shellacking in Tampa:
Not only is his delivery regularly well above six feet, but it varies more frequently horizontally. Each of his starts this season also had many more “outlier pitches,” meaning pitches released farther away from the cluster.
Essentially, Wang’s delivery is completely screwed up. His motion looks okay, but he isn’t putting his usual force on his right foot and it is resulting in his pitches flying high (in the zone and in the stands). A stint in AAA seems inevitable, with perhaps Phil Hughes or Alfredo Aceves getting the nod to come up and make a few starts.
I don’t know if it’s simply confidence, a lack of rhythm from missing so much time last year, or actual physical problems that are the cause of his problems, but hopefully this gets worked out in the short term.