Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 6/12/12

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.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Adrien Broner uses Bruce Jenner zinger after win

ESPN explains reason for Dabo Swinney interview error

Brian Kelly: Kizer made right call on 2-point play

Jim Mora calls UCLA's upcoming schedule 'a complete injustice'

Tommy Tuberville returned to Auburn, lined up at Tiger Walk

WATCH: Arizona State pushes pile 20 yards on TD run


Jim McElwain still won't name Will Grier Florida's starter

Steve Smith has microfractures in back, out for Week 5

Cowboys want Brandon Weeden to attempt longer passes

Nebraska captain tells crowd 'I'm sorry we suck'

Report: Dolphins could fire some coaches if team loses to Jets

Georgia fans get #FireRicht trending on Twitter

Cormier tops Gustafsson at UFC 192

Robert Smith wants Braxton Miller back at QB

WATCH: Clemson, Swinney have locker room dance party

10 takeaways from Week 5 of the college football season

WATCH: Dabo Swinney interview awkwardly cut off

Ohio St. LB Darron Lee has message for fans after close win

WATCH: Swedish league player unties opponent's skates

Max Scherzer throws second no-hitter of the season

Ezekiel Elliott jokes he owes his OL a steak dinner

Mike Riley explains questionable pass play on third down

Torey Lovullo would be 'honored' by managerial offers

WATCH: Ohio State stops Indiana on 4th down to win game

McIlroy: Spieth, Day have made me hungry again

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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 takeaways from Week 5 of the college football season

Rick Pitino and the shadows that never leave

Chad Johnson ... Steelers kicker?

Flacco deserves more from the Ravens

Time for Neymar's Barcelona

Seth Rollins, WWE depth, Divas and winning

Madison Keys and the future of women’s tennis

Most underrated games in NFL Week 4

What to watch in CFB Week 5

Starter strategies for final, tie-breaker and wild card games

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker