Is Javy Guerra Relying On His Fastball Too Much?

Everybody wants to find the reason that Javy Guerra is struggling in 2012, especially after he burst onto the scene with a too-good-to-be-true 2011.

One common theory? He’s throwing too many fastballs.

I was skeptical at first, as I am with everybody’s observations, including my own. Yet after I did some research, it does seem like the theory has validity.

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2011 – All

2012 – All

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So in 2011, Guerra was throwing 61% fastballs and 39% breaking balls, but the number has jumped to 74% fastballs and 26% breaking balls in 2012.

So he is indeed throwing more fastballs than he did last year, in general, but how about with two strikes on the hitter?

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2011 – Two Strikes

2012 – Two Strikes

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The trend holds with two strikes, as Guerra went with 59% fastballs and 41% breaking balls in 2011, but has gone with 69% fastballs and 31% breaking balls in 2012.

Furthermore, in the three appearances this year in which he has given up runs, Guerra has thrown 44 fastballs and 11 breaking balls for an 80% to 20% ratio that might indicate he gets fastball happy when he gets in trouble.

While this isn’t conclusive, it’s certainly a trend, and it bears watching for 2012.

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It’s worth mentioning that despite his 5.59 ERA, Guerra has actually pitched better on paper in 2012 than in 2011, as he holds a 1.55 FIP on the strength of striking out 27.5% of batters and walking only 7.5%, both rates an improvement over last year (19.5%/9.2%).

So why all the runs? Well his LOB% checks in at 57.1 and he has a .423 BABIP, both of which are quite unfortunate compared to league averages of 73.2% and .285.

As I said before, Guerra is going to be a valuable member of the 2012 bullpen, regardless of his role, it’s just that not everyday can you get a triple play on a bunt. A little luck can go a long way, good or bad.

About Chad Moriyama

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