The issues that Francisco Rodriguez has been dealing with can be summed up in a chart and a few notes, provided here via John Fisher of ESPN Stats and Information, and our Inside Edge video analysis data.
Last 5 Seasons
• Rodriguez’s fastball velocity is down nearly four miles-per-hour from where it was in 2006. His average fastball currently: 91 miles-per-hour, which doesn’t rate high on the closer scale. Via Fangraphs.com, the only current pitchers whose fastball averages that velocity who are closing games at the moment: Jon Rauch (Twins), Brian Fuentes (Angels), Huston Street/Manny Corpas (Rockies), and Ryan Franklin (Cardinals).
• Decreased use of the curve and slider have led to increased use of the changeup. He’s throwing about half as many breaking balls as he did in 2006.
• When hitters make contact, they’re pummeling him this season, to the tune of a .340 batting average on balls in play. The typical major leaguers BABIP hovers around .300. There are usually three reasons why a pitchers BABIP may rise, the one most-often cited is bad luck, though that is far from always being the answer. The other two possibilities: Defensive issues by the team around him or just general ineffectiveness that makes a pitcher easily hittable.