Another interesting statistical analysis by The Baseball Analysts. Excerpt:
"Takashi Saito has a very unique fastball. When batters swing at an average fastball, they miss 13% of the time, but with Saito's fastball, they miss 42% of the time.... there still aren't any pitches that can compare to the results that Saito gets with his fastball. The different results that come about from pitches that move almost identically further highlights the importance of the "hidden" aspects of pitching that are slightly harder to quantify, like deception, arm angle and pitch selection.... The thing that really stands out here is how effective Saito's fastball is against right-handed hitters. 60% of the time, when a RHH swings against Saito's fastball, he misses it, which is an amazingly high amount of misses, for any type of pitch. Saito's fastball is still really good against LHH, but it's unbelievable (twice as good) against RHH."
"Rivera is much harder on LHH than RHH, which is explained by his cut fastball, which moves in on LHH and is nearly impossible to hit with power.... The thing to notice here is that Rivera throws only cut-fastballs when facing LHH. Of the 188 pitches he threw to LHH, 187 were cutters.
Wow. Up in the count, down in the count, with runners on, or with the bases empty, LHH know with almost total certainty that Rivera is coming with a cutter. There is no other pitch in the back of their mind that they might see...yet they still can't hit it. They miss 23% of the time they swing and even when the ball is put in play, it isn't hit with any type of authority. I'm completely mystified at how Rivera is able to be a one pitch pitcher to lefties. I'm open to suggestions, but I think Rivera's cutter to a left-handed hitter is the best pitch in baseball."http://www.baseballanalysts.com/