Since signing with the Rays, Cory Wade has gotten a considerable amount of ink from The Process Report. After last week’s post on Wade’s fantastic curveball in 2008, I was reminded of this Derek Carty article from the same year examining the effectiveness of curveballs. In his study, he examined the different degrees of curveball success by a number of factors. One of those factors was speed differential.
In the original article on Wade’s curveball, I mentioned that the separation from his fastball to curveball was less than 10 miles per hour. According to Carty’s work, the most effective location for a curveball with 0-11 mph like Wade’s is away from the batter. This is true for batters on both sides of the plate.
Using the nifty heat maps on fangraphs.com, we can easily see where Wade located his effective breaking ball.
*Remember this comes from a catcher’s perspective.
As you can see, Wade did a fantastic job of burying his curveball away on both types of hitters. Going back to Carty’s analysis, this type of curveball could be even more effective if Wade elevates it slighly to batters on both sides. With pitchers and catchers reporting, here’s just another spring thing to observe over the next few weeks.