Great Lakes Analytics in Sports Conference

Collin Kannenberg

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Hendricks vs. Scherzer: A Comparable Analysis

Using Spin Rates and Pitch Tunneling

The 2016 MLB season witnessed some incredible pitching from the entire league. There was much attention paid to the National League Cy Young Award race in particular. The front running candidates included the Chicago Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester, and Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer. This presentation focuses on the comparison between Hendricks and Scherzer. Hendricks made his name by putting up an incredible ERA among other surface level stats. Scherzer on the other hand did not have as good surface level stats as Hendricks, yet won the Cy Young Award. This presentation compares both pitchers by the use of spin rates and pitch tunneling data courtesy of Baseball Savant and Baseball Prospectus respectively. By looking into how these pitchers compare in these two metrics, it gives a better illustration of what pitcher is more difficult to hit. Surface level stats such as ERA, WHIP, and HR/9 among others give an overall description of how a pitcher is doing, but does not consider the pitches themselves, and how difficult they are to hit. The Cy Young award should go to the pitcher that is most difficult to hit during the course of the entire season, and that pitcher was Max Scherzer.

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