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Soria's Command Issues Examined

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On Wednesday night Joakim Soria threw 40 pitches against the Yankees and he seemed to be all over the place.  I decided to go see if there have been any changes in his approach using Pitch FX data.

First, here is a plot of his fastball speeds over the past 4 years.  As it can be seen, his last game was near an all time low in speed with not one of fastball touching 93 MPH

6941_p_fa_20110817_medium

via www.fangraphs.com

The decrease in speed over the last few games is fairly noticeable.

Another factor I noticed is a change in his release point.  I took a game at home (same Pitch FX system) that he threw quite a few pitches (28) and a June 9th game made the cut.  Here is a comp of the two release points:

It can be seen that he is releasing the ball closer to 3B (image from catcher's perspective). I don't know if this is due to a new foot placement on the mount or a new arm angle, but it about a 6" difference.  This change in release point, no matter what the cause, could definately be effecting his control.

Soria has not been himself recently and it could be caused by a drop in velocity and a new release point.