April 12, 2012 at 11:56 am by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Randall Delgado had a superb first start for the Braves, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings, walking two and striking out six for a .072 WPA.
Delgado showed solid command throughout the five innings, and even though he allowed a run in the fifth as his pitch count increased, the ball never left the ground in the inning and he didn’t lose control of the situation.
Delgado’s four-seamer sat 92 and touched 95, which is right in line with his scouting report. He threw 63% strikes on the pitch, totaling 54 of them. What Brooks Baseball classifies as a two-seamer was thrown at almost the same speed but with a little tailing action, enough to make a difference on the map. But he was reported to have thrown only nine of them, five for strikes.
The changeup is what gave Delgado success against the Astros. He threw 17 of them, 11 for strikes, and received five swinging strikes, which is the second-highest swinging strike percentage of any pitch from any Braves pitcher so far this season – second to Tommy Hanson’s nine swinging strikes on the slider against the Astros the day before. Delgado’s changeup sat 81 and touched 84, and he showed excellent command of it.
I count just two changeups up and over the plate, the rest being in, out or down. When he missed, he missed down consistently, and that’s exactly what you want.
Delgado’s one big shot allowed was to J.D. Martinez in the first inning, a solo home run to center field. The pitch was a grooved fastball at 94 on a 3-1 count, and as any major league pitcher will tell you, you can’t groove a fastball at 94, no matter who you’re facing. It appeared to be the one slip-up in Delgado’s command on what was otherwise a fantastic first night for the rookie.