(azru: I asked Steve Sommer if he would toss together the limited pitch f/x data from the Futures Game for us. Minuscule sample size alert as Steve will note so don’t make any life decisions from this. You can find more of Steve’s work at various joints including ESPN, Beyond the Box Score and Play A Hard Nine. Thanks, Steve.)
One of the best aspects of the Futures Game is that we get some Pitch F/X data on pitchers that we otherwise would not have any data on. This is especially useful for those of us that will not get to see these guys pitch until they reach MLB. Clearly we will be doing some analysis and making some observations with extremely small samples, but it is still useful to get a feel for each pitcher’s fastballs if nothing else.
With that caveat in mind, here is a chart that places both Miller’s and Sanchez’s velocity in context with their Futures Game counterparts.
The chart reads as pitches across the x axis and velocity along the y. The Cardinal guys are called out with their respective colors. Diamonds represent all types of off speed pitches and the squares represent all types of fastballs. The Cards guys held their own in terms of velocity, with Miller slightly edging out Sanchez on the gun. In terms of average fastball velocity on the day Miller’s (94.9) was 5th and Sanchez’s (94.6) was 7th out of the 20 pitchers captured.
Clearly velocity isn’t the only measure of a pitcher’s fastball (especially with the MLB philosophies of the Cardinals), so let’s take a look at the movement plots as well. First Miller
Remember these charts are based on a comparison to a ball thrown with no spin (for example a good sinker still has +4-5 inches of vertical movment). At first glance it looks like Miller’s fastball had occasional good tailing action, but not a whole lot of sink. That being said, in a game like this he’s probably not going to try and turn over many fastballs even if he had a quality sinker. The curveball is just on there for informational purposes; it’s clearly impossible to know how representative that one curveball was.
Now for Sanchez
Sanchez had a little less tailing action, but a little more sink.
Unfortunately both of these guys only got to throw a handful of pitches (in which they were likely just trying to “air it out”) so keep that in mind before you try and draw any conclusions from the presented data. I think all we can say with much confidence is that both guys have plus velocity (which we already knew).