Detroit Tigers eat up the fastball

The Tigers have hit a combined 27 home runs as a team so far this year with Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera tied for the team lead with 5 each. The team has found their power only recently with 12 of the home runs coming in the last 5 games. According to Sportvision‘s pitch f/x system used by MLB, the types of pitches that the Tigers have hit for homers this year is (pitch f/x only had data on 25 of the home runs):

Pitch Type Count
Fast (FA) 11
Sinker (SI) 7
Change (CH) 4
Fast (FF) 1
Splitter (FS) 1
Curve (CU) 1

The system has classified many fastballs here, but I’m skeptical as to the accuracy of the pitch identifications. For now though, I’ll have to trust that it’s correct or figure out what the type_confidence field means. That said, it’s probably not far off as thirteen of the pitches, in which we have data, are above 90MPH. The fastest ball that the team hit out was 94.7MPH, which was Miguel Cabrera’s third home run of the year against Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia. Below is a graph detailing the speed of each pitch the Tigers hit for a homer:

Home Run Pitch speed

The slowest was a 73.3MPH curveball to Marcus Thames, his only of the year so far. This particular ball hung right up into the middle of the strikezone and wasn’t inside (since those are normally the pitches that Marcus will take deep). Actually, most of the pitches that the Tigers have taken deep were right down the heart of the plate, as you can see below:

Homers Pitch f/x

The strike zone above is just an approximate since each batter will be slightly different, but this will give you an idea of pitch location. Tigers haven’t taken inside pitches deep much this year with the ball to the right of the image being a home run by Ivan Rodriguez.

To opposing pitchers, leave a fast ball up in the strike zone and the Tigers will make you pay, though this is likely true with any team. When compared against other teams in the Major Leagues, Detroit is now tied for 5th with the most home runs (10 teams have 27 or more home runs) and 8th in slugging percentage.

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