Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dickey's "Angry Knuckleball" Added To Baseball Mogul 2013

Photo by MG_4618 on Flickr (Creative Commons license)
Thanks to R.A. Dickey's recent success, we're adding a 3rd type of knuckleball to Baseball Mogul.

The game already had a "Knuckleball" and "Slow Knuckler" as options (Wakefield throws both of these). We also of course have a knuckle curve, but that isn't actually a knuckleball. With Dickey having a Cy Young season throwing what some have called a "Power Knuckleball", we're taking a close look at the physics behind this pitch and adding it to the game.

His fastball this year is averaging about 83 MPH, and his knuckleball is averaging about 77 MPH. In other words, the velocity difference between his fastball and knuckleball is about the same as the difference between a fastball and a hard slider. Dickey's "angry knuckler" moves less than a normal knuckler, but is thrown close to 80 MPH. As Jim Bouton said about Dickey's knuckleball"if you're throwing 80 mph, it only needs to break two inches."

Finally, I've noticed that it's hard to find a complete list of the 2-letter abbreviations that are commonly used for pitch types. So, without further ado, here's the list Baseball Mogul uses. This list is compatible with the columns headers used at FanGraphs, but also includes pitch types not listed there.

CH: Change Up. Includes the circle change, palm ball and fosh ball.
CU: Curve Ball. Includes all varieties from a "roundhouse" to a "12-6".
EP: Eephus.
FB: Fastball. Sometimes used when the data can't discern if the pitch is a 2-seam fastball or 4-seam fastball.
FC: Cut Fastball. (aka "cutter").
FF: 4-Seam Fastball.
FT: 2-Seam Fastball.
GY: Gyroball.
KC: Knuckle Curve. Despite its name, this is a variation on the curve ball, not the knuckleball.
KN: Knuckleball. Includes all knuckleballs, from Tom Candiotti's 55 MPH butterfly to Dickey's 80-MPH "angry knuckler".
SC: Screwball.
SI: Sinker. Includes sinking fastball (such as Derek Lowe's main pitch).
SL: Slider.
SP: Splitter. Including the split-finger fastball and forkball.
UN: Unknown. In Baseball Mogul, this includes illegal pitches such as the "spit ball" and "scuff ball".

Note: Baseball Mogul has 38 different pitches, dividing many of the above categories into individual pitch types, each with their own spin and velocity characteristics. However, the above categories are those used most often when breaking down MLB pitches.

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