Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/15/14

Right-hander Ernesto Frieri is currently closing games for the Los Angeles Angels of You-Know-Where. He also currently owns a strikeout rate of 43.2%, which mark is not only over 10 percentage points above his previous high (albeit, in a short career so far), but is also the second-highest rate among all pitchers who’ve thrown at least 10 innings — behind only Aroldis Chapman (46.6%).

A curious thing is how Frieri is getting those strikeouts — which is to say, largely by way of his fastball. According to Texas Leaguers, Frieri has gotten a swing and miss on roughly 20% of the fastballs he’s thrown, while the league-average fastball has induced a whiff only about 5% or 6% of the time*. Frieri’s breaking ball, alternately classified as a slider or curve, has gotten whiffs only about 8% of the time — almost half of league average.

*Note: there are indications that Frieri might be throwing two fastballs, a four- and a two-seamer. Even if that is the case, they’re both above average and all comments made here apply to both. For the sake of ease, I’ll just use the term “fastball,” singular.

Of particular note is Frieri’s effectiveness against left-handed batters: according to Texas Leaguers again, Frieri has a fastball whiff rate above 25% against lefties. It’s no surprise, then, that Frieri has also recorded a pretty significant platoon split so far. In 13.1 innings against 52 left-handed batters, Frieri has a 57.7% strikeout rate and 1.19 xFIP. His numbers in 15.2 innings against 66 right-handers aren’t as good: 31.8% K, 4.60 xFIP.

Last night, closing out a game against the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium, represented the first time this season that Frieri had appeared in front of a mostly decent center-field camera — giving viewers a chance to see the fastball at work. He induced just one whiff — but it was on a fastball, and it was against a left-handed batter.

Against the left-handed Dee Gordon, specifically:

The Dodger Stadium camera isn’t straight-on, so it still distorts some of the movement on Frieri’s fastball, but PITCHf/x (per Brooks Baseball) indicates that the pitch was thrown at about 94 mph with a little over 8 inches of arm-side run and just over 11 inches of “rise” (relative to a spinless ball). The latter number is normal for Frieri — he averages about 10 inches of rise on his fastball — but probably about 2-3 inches above average for major-league pitchers on that particular offering.

Other than that, however, Frieri’s fastball doesn’t look devastating on paper. Nor — speaking anecdotally, at least — does it look as effective on paper as it does in the footage above.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Will LaMarcus Aldridge leave the Portland Trailblazers?

Clippers defeat Spurs, even series at 2-2

JR Smith 'nervous as hell' about possible suspension

Dana White: No more WWE for Ronda Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk for 'bush league' play

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Eli Manning not concerned about contract

Several teams interested in Bucs' No. 1 overall pick?

Report: Marcus Smart overslept, could get less playing time

Report: Adam Wainwright likely done for the season

DeMarco Murray: 'I'm not worried about the Cowboys'

Turner has great quote in defense of Bridgewater

WATCH: Alex Gordon leaps into stands for incredible catch

WATCH: JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder in face

WATCH: Kevin Love leaves Game 4 with shoulder injury

Joe Flacco content with current Ravens receivers

WATCH: Demetrious Johnson wins with last-second submission

WATCH: Jerryd Bayless beats Bulls with buzzer-beater

John Legend catches Belichick checking out Chrissy Teigen

Jim Rice to Jim Palmer: 'Quit complaining'

Time Warner-Comcast failed merger hurts Dodgers fans

WATCH: Bucks mascot devours fan

Protestors tried to have Orioles-Red Sox game called off

Greg Hardy abandons his Bentley during flash flood

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Will Aldridge leave the Blazers?

Alex Gordon leaps into stands for catch

Dana White: No more WWE for Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk

JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder

Report: Wainwright likely done for year

UAB player brings helmet to graduation

Leah Still scores in Temple spring game

Sanchez shares thoughts on Tebow

Stephen A. Smith blasts Tom Brady

Kris Humphries apologizes for Jenner tweet

Five most boring NFL prime time matchups for 2015

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.