Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Will Wakefield Fare in Denver?

With Tim Wakefield probably in line to pitch game 4, Buster Olney brings up an interesting question in yesterday's chat (Insider required):
Wakefield's knuckler... If anybody wants to send in Wakefield's career numbers in Denver, I'll post them, but in general, the conventional wisdom on knucklers is that thin air is bad and thick air is good.
That got me looking up the stats. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned elsewhere yet since I've been too busy to read much, but here goes.

Basically, the answer is that Wake does not have any history at Coors and not much history at the old Mile High: 9.2 innings pitched. 0-2 record. 9.31 ERA, 2.38 WHIP, and a .386 BAA. Yikes.

But that is a seriously small sample size and it all happened prior to 2002. So read into it as you wish.

EDIT: This is a moot point now, as Wake has been left off the Series roster.

2 comments:

Nathan said...

At the risk of being a compete geek, I did some non-baseball research. The numbers may be a small sample size, but the could definitely represent the truth.

Essentially, thinner air will reduce the drag on the ball. That drag is what's essential to the kunckleball bouncing all over the place on he way to the plate.

Take away that drag and the ball will bounce less. So batters will see a slower ball that doesn't move all over the place. Without ever changing from hitting 90mph pitches to those much slower, I would say batters could adjust to this.

Wake may also be able to adjust his pitching, so we'll know more on game 4. For those interested, here's some further reading:

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/columns/?article=BNKnuckleballs
http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/balldrag.html

Nathan said...

http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/
columns/?article=BNKnuckleballs
http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/
airplane/balldrag.html

Sorry, web pages didn't wrap well.