Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/10/14
Twins_vs_royals_74fd

The numbers show that Glen Perkins has been an effective pitcher since moving from the starting rotation and into the bullpen. The Minnesota Twins southpaw knows those numbers as well as anyone, and not just his won-lost record, his ERA and his WHIP. He’s also aware of his BABiP, his FIP and his WAR, as well as most anything that can found in his PITCHf/x data.

Prior to a recent game at Target Field, the 29-year-old talked about his move to the bullpen, his repertoire and his interest in stats.

——

Perkins on his success pitching out of the bullpen: “A big reason has been more confidence, and the mental side of it came with the physical side. Going to the bullpen allowed me to get healthy. As a starter, I had just worn down.

“A positive was that pitching with inferior stuff taught me to be able to command the ball. It also taught me to set up hitters and recognize what they’re trying to do. There are nuances in the batter’s box that I can pick up on now that I never used to be able to. I needed to get any kind of advantage when I had bad stuff.

“My stuff got better when I went to the bullpen. I got healthy and started throwing harder. I actually kind of went back to my first year in the big leagues. In 2007, I was a reliever and was throwing a lot harder than I did in 2008 and 2009. Along with the increase in fastball velocity, I’ve become a lot more comfortable with my slider. I have a two-pitch mix that I’ve learned to work with. When you throw 95-96 [mph], hitters can’t stay on a fastball that quick, and then a slider.

“I got pounded pretty good in 2009, my last year as a starter in the big leagues. I wouldn’t say that I had confidence issues, but in the back of my mind I kind of wondered if I could get big-league hitters out. Last year, as the season went on, I got more and more confident and I’ve taken that into this year. I think that’s probably why my strikeout totals are higher than they were last year. I realize when to attack. I realize when a guy is vulnerable to a strikeout and can take advantage of that.”

On his slider: “My fastball and slider are both better than they were in 2009 and 2010. They’ve also gotten better from last year. My fastball velocity is up a little bit and I think I have a better thought process on my slider. When I miss with sliders, they don’t hang like a typical slider and just kind of spin up there. I’ll spike them into the ground. I can probably count on one hand how many I’ve hung this year. [Alfonso] Soriano hit a home run on one of them.

“I’m maintaining arm speed on my slider, and I have a better feel for it. I had never thrown a slider until the middle of the 2008 season. I had never thrown one in my life. It started getting really comfortable in 2010, when I was in Triple-A. I turned the corner when my slider really took off. If there’s a time where I really need to get a strikeout, I’m probably going to throw my slider.

“When I throw my slider, it looks to me like it breaks a lot. When I look at PITCHf/x and see the numbers on my horizontal and vertical movement… I have an idea of how that works, but last year it was classifying a lot of my sliders as changeups. I’d look at them on video and it certainly didn’t look like they were breaking [the wrong] way. They were still breaking to the back foot of a right-handed batter. I haven’t seen that problem since midway last year, though. I actually told our video coordinator about it, so maybe he put a call in to ask them to check it out. I’m not sure.”

On velocity, location and his fastball: “I go to Brooksbaseball.net to look at the locations. I like to see how close I can get to the corners. You can only learn so much from what you see on video — where the pitches actually cross the plate. I’ll go there to see if I’m getting my pitches on any of the four edges of the strike zone. I don’t rely on movement with my fastball. I rely more on velocity and location.

“I’ve been able to command my four-seamer this year, so that’s the one I’ve been going with. Last year I was at about 50% with my ground balls, and in a way I’d like to be there, because ground balls don’t get hit for home runs. I guess I’ve traded ground balls for strikeouts and that’s a good trade off as long as I’m not giving up home runs.

“As a pitcher, it’s hard not to be aware of your velocity. It’s on the top of the page and there are radar readings all over the stadium. If you turn around, you’ll see them. If you see your outing on TV, there’s a radar reading there. If a guy says he doesn’t know, he’s usually lying.

“I’m not really throwing a changeup anymore. I’ve probably only thrown three all year. I threw two to Michael Young. He had about a nine-pitch at bat and I couldn’t bury a slider or get a fastball by him, so I threw him a changeup and he flew out. Usually, when I’m feeling good on the mound, the at bat is going to be over in three or four pitches.”

On FIP, BABiP and WAR: “I like a lot of stats and go onto FanGraphs pretty much every day. I like FIP and xFIP, which give you an idea of whether you’re doing the right things. Not that it’s something you can control, but you know that if it’s down — and you keep doing what you’re doing — the balls are going to find fielders. If your FIP is one thing and your ERA is higher, they’re probably going to meet in the middle. My ERA this year started out high and came down to closer to what my fielding-independent is.

“I didn’t get frustrated with my bad ERA. I had given up a couple of home runs and felt that maybe some balls were finding holes. You can’t start thinking, ‘Now I have to strike every guy out.’ Understanding that things should even out gives me confidence in what I’ve done. [FIP] shows that I should be here, and not here.

“I do get a little frustrated with my BABiP. I’ve always had a high one, and it’s high again this year. I also don’t have my ground-ball rate down, but I’ve focused more on fastballs up in the zone and sliders down in the zone. Last year, my two-seam and four-seam were a more even distribution. It’s more four-seamers this year, so I’m getting more fly outs.

“I like WAR, but I don’t like it for relievers. I think it’s a good stat for starting pitchers and everyday players, because it’s a bulk stat. I don’t think you can quantify relievers the same way you can quantify a starter. You need to break off them into a separate group to see where they stand. My numbers as a reliever are going to be different than they were as a starter.”

——

Note: Perkins has agreed to be the featured guest on FanGraphs Audio this Thursday. Readers are invited to include questions for him in the comments section of this interview. Many of those questions will be included in the conversation. The deadline for questions is 2 p.m. [EST] on Wednesday.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Saints love TE Josh Hill following Jimmy Graham trade

Darren Sproles' role is growing for the Eagles

Barkley, Reggie Miller condemn Indiana religious freedom bill

Report: Rick Barnes not expected back at Texas

Metta World Peace interested in coaching at St John's

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Knicks want Marc Gasol, do they know what they’re asking for?

New York Rangers are the first team to clinch a playoff spot

Victorino: I plan on playing every day for Red Sox in 2015

The Rams are still planning on drafting a quarterback

Howard willing to make 'ultimate sacrifice' for Rockets

Pacquiao bought P. Diddy’s house for $12.5M, fight tickets

Winnipeg Jets prospect had a rough night on the ice

Russell Wilson to suit up for Texas Rangers Saturday

Did Dean Smith’s gifts to former players violate NCAA rules?

WWE unveils Ultimate Warrior statue

WATCH: Tom Brady jumps off tall cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Dominique Wilkins in HORSE

Angels remove Josh Hamilton banner from front of stadium

Elite Eight preview: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

Support for relocation growing among NFL powers

Mother says special needs son forced to remove varsity letter

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Minnesota Timberwolves: Should they tank?

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

Rick Barnes not returning to Texas?

WATCH: Brady jumps off cliff in Costa Rica

WATCH: 2 Chainz beats Nique in HORSE

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Notre Dame vs. Kentucky

Elite Eight preview and predictions: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

NFL owners chose cost over game integrity

Be careful how loudly you cheer on Mo'ne Davis' olive branch

James Harden and the collective consciousness

Hottest coaching seats in NBA

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

The last Expo standing

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.