Below is a chart that looks at how often Rays starting pitchers throw sliders since Andrew Friedman took over the front office in 2006. In Friedman’s second season (2007), the Rays starting pitchers were third in the American League with sliders representing 15.4% of the pitches thrown. Since then, the frequency of sliders has quickly fallen, to the point where it was non-existent in 2012* (AL Rank is in parentheses).

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This trend has not necessarily been intentional as the Rays traded Scott Kazmir, David Price stopped throwing his slider, and the Rays were not afraid to trade for Chris Archer and his slider which is waiting in the wings. But it could be another reason why the Rays went out and took a flyer on Roberto Hernandez. For his career, 12.8% of his pitches have been sliders. And in his last two full seasons, it was 18.3% and 13.3%.

Certainly the Rays are not going to add a slider to the rotation just for the sake of adding a slider. But if the flyer works, and Hernandez proves to be a better option than Jeff Niemann, it would be nice to be able to give opposing hitters a different look than the more common fastball-curve-changeup arsenals seen in the Rays rotation.

* Jeff Niemann will throw 8-10 sliders per start. And Matt Moore does throw a curveball that looks a lot like a slider.

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3 Comments

  1. robert mitchell says:

    What has Russell[da muscle]Branyan have to do with this index?

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  2. Don says:

    WE changed the "type"of pitches the Rays pitcher throw because of Friedman, coming here..really....I would think pitch "type" would have more to do with Hickey and the Quality of pitchers we have now instead of the bums before Friedman (2007)
    But I'm sure no name will help Price, Hell boy, Moore,Cobb,Nieman with their pitching.....maybe from the outfield bullpen, just in case we need more "sliders"
    Listening Hickey....

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  3. krewezer says:

    Many years ago (I mean like 50 or more) the Dodgers, who had the best pitching staff in baseball back then, refused to teach their young pitchers the slider, and even weaned them off it in the minors. They said it was to tough on the arm.

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