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Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Changeup keying Silva's 8-0 record


Second FanGraphs post today ... Jack Moore's postmortem of Carlos silva's eighth victory:



Including this season, Silva's posted excellent ERAs twice: this year, and in 2005.

In 2005, he did throw his fastball more than 80 percent of the time: 84 percent of the time, almost exactly the same as he did last year. I'll also mention that Silva's repertoire (according to Pitchf/x looks almost exactly the same in 2007 as in 2008. His fastball/slider/changeup percentages in those two seasons, with ERA:

68/9/23 - 4.19 (2007)
69/9/21 - 6.46 (2008)

Actually, in 2006 Silva had started throwing fewer fastballs and didn't go back to throwing a million of them until his abbreviated (30 innings) 2009, and that might be a sample-size issue.

Still, his fastball frequency is obviously far lower this season than it's ever been, and he's throwing more changeups than ever before (and slightly more sliders, too). Oddly, his changeup has never been a good pitch; usually it's been a bad pitch for him. And yet this year it's a great pitch. Go figure.

There is (as you might guess) one real similarity between Silva's 2005 season and his 2010 season: luck. In Silva's career, he's given up a .311 batting average on balls in play (batted balls minus home runs). In 2005, though, his BABiP allowed was just .293, which wasn't crazy-lucky but does help explain -- along with his absurdly low walk rate -- his 3.44 ERA.

This year he's given up a .262 batting average on balls in play, which as any schoolboy can tell you just isn't sustainable. Regardless of which pitches he's throwing and how well he's throwing them, Silva's BABiP will probably regress to roughly .300 from now through the end of the season. And his ERA is going to rise concomitantly.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. If he's healthy, Silva's going to finish the season with 14 or 15 wins and an ERA in the low 4s. Pretty good for a guy who wasn't supposed to do anything at all.