First let me thank you for your patience. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted an article. I have received many encouraging emails to share my insights pertaining to my performance this year. As I write this entry, It is now Saturday May 22nd, and we are currently 40 games into the season. Before the season started I made a promise to myself that I would not look at my cumulative stats until this point. As you know, I believe in a relevant sample size and for me that is completion of at least 30% of my season workload. I also evaluate my own performance differently than most other people.
After each outing I write a brief summary of how I think I pitched and how well I feel. In the summary, I include how I faced hitters and my plans for facing them in the future. I cannot divulge this information for obvious reasons, but I can give you insight on how I evaluate myself, and how each of my appearances has fared.
I break down each appearance into 2 criteria. First, I evaluate my performance based on results. I take into consideration the situation I was put in, and the results I achieved. I judge by the hitter’s reaction to my pitches as well as the quality of contact I get. I give each outing a numerical value; “1” being a good performance, “2” being a mediocre performance and “3” being a bad performance.
(Note: my quality of contact evaluation is different from most people. My goal as a pitcher is to force a hitter to swing from a powerless position, and have the ball contact the bat in a powerless spot. For example, If the hitter lounges for a ball and loses his legs, but somehow finds the barrel of the bat and hits a bleeder over the 2nd baseman’s head I consider that a success. Consequently, if a hitter takes a huge swing and hits a mile high pop up to the catcher, or beats the ball straight into the ground I consider that failure on my part because the hitter was only a few millimeters away from hitting a home run. Also if I get contact off the end of the bat, or on the handle of the bat, I consider that a success because those parts of the bat do not contain power).
Second, I evaluate my stuff on that day. Same scale applies with “1” being good, “2” being mediocre, and “3” being bad. When I judge my stuff, I take into consideration the life and deception of my fastball, the late break of my slider, and things of that nature. Also the evaluation of my “stuff” has absolutely nothing to do with radar gun readings. In fact, my radar gun readings are essentially the same weather my stuff is good or bad. This is in contrast to how I am evaluated by scouts of course. If you have read any of my other entries, you know that I think evaluating a pitcher based on radar gun readings is about as smart as evaluating a relief pitcher based on wins and losses. But, for those of you who are still curious about velocities, my fastball has been anywhere from 88-94, and my slider has been 82-88. When I judge my “stuff” I do not take velocity into consideration at all. For example, it is possible for me to have good stuff and have a bad performance and vice versa.
(Note: I only use the numbers to evaluate my performance; the terms “good, mediocre, and bad” are expressive terms for you, the reader, to understand the difference in levels. So when I use those terms throughout the column you know that I do not use them in my evaluations. Also, my determination of 1 (good), 2 (mediocre), or 3 (bad) is obviously all relative to me. It is not like VORP where I compare myself to the average of the league or anything like that.
You can find descriptions of my outings by going to the outing log found in “Michael Schwimer archives, and clicking on the post entitled, “outing log.”
As of May 22nd I have appeared in 17 games. Of those 17 games. I have performed well 9 times, or 53% of the time. My performance has been mediocre 7 times, or 41% of the time. And my performance has been bad 1 time, or 6% of the time. I have had dominant stuff 7 times, or 41% of the time. I have had mediocre stuff 8 times, or 47% of the time. Finally, I have had horrible stuff twice, or 12% of the time.
Totals in good performances… 9g, 12ip, 0r, 3h, 4bb, 18k
Totals in mediocre performances… 7g, 9ip, 3r, 11h, 2bb, 9k
Totals in bad performances… .1ip 5r 3h 2bb 0k
Totals with good stuff… 7g, 9.2ip, 1r, 5h, 3bb, 18k
Totals with mediocre stuff… 8g, 10.2ip, 2r, 8h, 3bb, 9k
Totals with bad stuff… 2g, 1.2ip, 5r, 4h, 2bb, 0k
When I have had good stuff I am happy that I can translate that into a lot of strike outs, but I am upset with the walks. Having 3 walks in 9 innings with my best stuff is simply unacceptable. I truly believe that when I have my best stuff no one in the world can consistently hit me. I might give up a hit or two, or even a run or two, but over the long haul I will be very successful. If that comes off as cocky or arrogant, all I can say is I go by the numbers, and at every level of baseball I have played to date, when I have my best stuff I am successful. The plan for the remainder of the season is to reduce the walks to “0”, especially when I have good stuff.
When I have had mediocre stuff I feel like I have done a good job of putting the hitters in situations and positions that make them uncomfortable. For the most part, they have not been taking confident swings and I hope to continue that for the rest of the season.
I have had bad stuff twice. One time I was able to change angles and speeds to keep the hitters off balance. The other time I completely gave in to the hitters and fed them exactly what they wanted when they wanted it. The only out I recorded was a warning track fly ball that should have been a 3rd home run that inning. I turned into a pitcher that I have never been before, and my explanation for this inning is in my see outing log that I mentioned earlier.
My growth as a pitcher has come when I have mediocre stuff. For the most part I have been able to battle through and draw off past experiences in order to get outs and help the team during those times. My goal as a pitcher is to have a good performance every single outing. I have learned that it is impossible to have your very best stuff every outing, but I have also learned that I can get outs successfully with any grade of “stuff.”