Getting started doing baseball research

Research should start with a question.

In an article by Mike Petriello published on April 23, 2019 on titled “These 5 players have opened eyes in April,” he states that Braves pitcher Max Fried’s curveball has the “third-most drop” in the major leagues.

From that information, I generated my research question: How big a vertical “drop” does Fried’s curveball have?

Here is how I found the answer.

Clicking the “third-most drop” link takes you to, an excellent source of baseball information. The displayed FanGraphs page contains a table with these column headings: FA-Z, FC-Z, FS-Z, SI-Z, CH-Z, SL-Z, and CU-Z. The two letters before each dash are an abbreviation for the pitch type. You can find what each pair of letters (e.g., FA) represents on this FanGraphs page.

The “Z” indicates that the columns contain information about a pitch’s vertical movement.

The column that will be focused on is CU-Z, where “CU” stands for curveball. On the day I checked, April 24, the vertical movement for Fried’s curveball was -12.0, the fourth-best in the major leagues.

On the top of the FanGraphs page is the information in the image below. To access it, click the image.

Menu at top of FanGraphs page containing Vertical Movement info

When the FanGraphs’ page appears, while on it click “League Stats.” In the CS-Z column, in 2019 the average curveball’s vertical movement (again on April 24) was -8.3, thus Fried’s curveball drop was almost four inches better than the league average.

More articles about curveballs
The physics of throwing a perfect baseball pitch

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