2013 Cardinals AFL pitchers PITCHf/x data

Looking behind the numbers put up by Sam Gaviglio, Anthony Ferrara and Dean Kiekhefer in Arizona.

A little-publicized fact is that two of the spring training ballparks used in the Arizona Fall League have the PITCHf/x tracking system installed and operational.

Unfortunately, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals players who were competing, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, is not one of them. As a result, there is limited data available.

I selected the most recent outings for three of the Cardinals pitchers, starter Sam Gaviglio plus relievers Anthony Ferrara and Dean Kiekhefer. Lee Stoppelman threw in games nine games this fall, but none were in Pitchf/x parks.

Throughout the AFL schedule, MLB.com's Gameday application included PITCHf/x data when available. While this is standard fare in the majors, getting the data for the minors in a consistent manner is uncommon. Yet the data was presented in its raw, pitch-by-pitch form.

Fortunately, Brooks Baseball has a tool that enables detailed analysis of every appearance with supporting charts and graphs. I encourage you to check it out, as I am providing only the most basic information here.

In the following tables, you can see average and maximum velocities for each hurler's offerings, the vertical and horizontal break and pitch counts and strikes.

Kiekhefer 11/8          
Pitch Velo avg Velo max H -break V-break Count Strikes
Fastball 89.6 90.8 8.84 10.11 4 4
Sinker 88.2 88.7 9.57 6.74 2 1
Changeup 82.9 83.6 9.59 5.32 5 2
Slider 78.1 79.6 -0.76 1.51 4 2
Ferrara 10/30          
Pitch Velo avg Velo max H -break V-break Count Strikes
Fastball 86.9 88.1 6.38 10.04 13 5
Changeup 73.3 73.7 5.58 3.32 2 0
Curve 72.7 72.7 -6.15 -3.81 1 0
Gaviglio 10/30          
Pitch Velo avg Velo max H -break V-break Count Strikes
Fastball 89.4 91.0 -7.79 8.06 10 4
Sinker 89.5 92.1 -10.01 5.22 40 30
Changeup 84.2 85.5 -8.57 5.4 8 4
Slider 83.9 84.8 2.55 -0.04 6 2
Curve 80.6 81.9 6.83 -5.75 4 2

Kiekhefer's and Gaviglio's fastballs were comparable – roughly 89 with a 91 max. Ferrara was three ticks slower. Kiekhefer's offerings showed the most break.

Gaviglio threw five pitches, with almost 70 percent of them being sinkers. His maximum velocity of 92.1 on his sinker was the highest of any of the Cardinals pitchers.

At least in this outing, Ferrara was highly reliant on his fastball while Kiekhefer mixed four pitches.

Despite this interesting data, one should be careful not to draw firm conclusions from such a small number of pitches from a single outing. One could easily go much further into the data. Still, an interesting snapshot is provided.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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