Finding the Best MLB Pitchers: Changeup Dominance


While a changeup is not always a pitcher’s go-to pitch, it’s often a vital piece in a starting pitcher’s repository. A changeup is an off-speed pitch (which means it has a lower velocity than a fastball), and its aim is deception – it’s relatively slow and can fool a batter into swinging before the ball gets to the plate. Adding to the deception is the fact that changeups are thrown with a similar motion as a fastball, which serves to trick the batter further.

Dominating With the Changeup

Let’s take a look at PITCHf/x data (wCH/C, weighted changeup runs per 100 pitches to be specific) for MLB pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched through Aug. 27, 2017, and see who dominates the changeup pitch.


This scatterplot compares dominance against the percentage of time a pitcher throws a changeup. The ideal location here is the upper left quadrant – it represents the pitchers who have had the best changeups and who use them frequently. Lefty starter for the Kansas City Royals Jason Vargas is well-known for the quality of his changeups, often relying on a changeup with a circle grip. While primarily making use of his fastball, teammate Danny Duffy also has a quality changeup in his arsenal. Carlos Carrasco and Gio González, of the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals respectively, also command a dominant changeup.

In the lower right quadrant, you’ll find pitchers who haven’t necessarily fared well with changeups, but they also don’t tend to use them very often. Mike Foltynewicz of the Atlanta Braves is one example – he uses his four-seam fastball most often but will utilize the changeup now and then. J.C. Ramírez is another example of a player who uses changeups very infrequently.

The upper right quadrant, interestingly, shows pitchers who use changeups frequently but aren’t necessarily performing well with this pitch. Jeremy Hellickson of the Baltimore Orioles is one such pitcher – changeups are his favorite, but he hasn’t had much success with them.

curveball_aug_27_asset_3 copy 2

This chart incorporates the same data as the scatterplot above but may be a bit clearer to see which pitchers are more dominant with the changeup when compared to their peers. Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers comes first in this category – although he doesn’t use a changeup frequently, he’s certainly mastered it. Carlos Carrasco is second, and his changeup frequency is higher than Kershaw’s, so he’s taking advantage of his changeup dominance.

At the opposite end, we find J.C. Ramírez, who uses his not-so-dominant changeup infrequently, as well as other pitchers like Drew Pomeranz of the Red Sox and Lance Lynn of the Cards.

Throwing a Change of Pace

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Fastball Dominance – MLB Pitching Analysis


The most common pitch thrown by a big league pitcher is a four-seam fastball. Although there are a few variations (two-seam, cutter, and so on), the fastball pitch is designed to blaze the ball by the batter before he can properly react to it, or sneak in some late movement to fool him.

We’re looking to analyze and conclude which pitchers are the most dominant when it comes to throwing specific types of pitches – in this case, the fastball.

Specifically, we’re looking at the statistic called “standardized runs by pitch” – in this case, the standardized runs by four-seam fastballs or wFA/C. This represents the amount of runs that the pitcher saved with their fastball over the course of 100 fastballs thrown.

We’re also using “dominance” as an abstract term to describe how well a pitcher has performed this season. This doesn’t mean they have the best or fastest fastball, but rather that their pitch has been the most difficult to hit.

Heaters and Dominance

Let’s take a look at PITCHf/x data for MLB pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched through Aug. 27, 2017, and see who dominates the fastball pitch.


This scatterplot compares dominance against the percentage of time a pitcher throws a fastball. The ideal location here is the upper left quadrant – it represents pitchers who have had the best pitches and used them most often. As of August 27th, one of the notable pitchers here is Clayton Kershaw, the now 16-win pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who is leading the majors with a 1.95 ERA. Justin Verlander, now of the Houston Astros and Ariel Miranda of the Seattle Mariners are also in this ideal quadrant.

In the lower right quadrant, you’ll find pitchers who haven’t fared well with fastballs, and they’re also not throwing them frequently. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however – they may rely on other pitches. Jason Vargas from the Kansas City Royals, for example, is not known for his fastball, instead relying on other pitches to paint those corners, such as change-ups and sinkers. Masahiro Tanaka from the New York Yankees is in a similar boat – he prefers to throw sliders and splitters.

The upper right quadrant, interestingly, shows pitchers who use the fastball frequently but aren’t necessarily performing well with this pitch. Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles is one example of a high percentage of fastballs paired with results he’d rather not have. Matt Moore from the San Francisco Giants is another pitcher who uses fastballs frequently despite his lack of dominance with this particular pitch.


This chart incorporates the same data but may be a bit clearer to see which pitchers are more dominant with the fastball when compared to their peers. While the top two dominant pitchers have a fastball that reaches blazing speed (Michael Fulmer of the Tigers averages 95.7 mph, and Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox is just slightly behind him at 94.6 mph), not every dominant pitcher throws lightning fastballs, and not every nondominant pitcher has a slow fastball.

This is evident when we check out the third dominant pitcher on the list. R.A. Dickey of the Atlanta Braves is No. 3 here. His fastball average of 83 mph is the opposite of heat – however, Dickey’s favorite pitch is not a fastball. Instead, he relies on knuckleballs, which is understandable due to its deceptive nature and his mastery of the pitch itself.

Toeing the Slab

As you continue to watch your favorite pitchers toe the slab as the season winds down (and as the postseason revs up), make sure you have all the authentic MLB gear you can handle by visiting Fanatics.


MLB Video Game Covers


Players Gracing the Covers

While your favorite MLB team – whether it’s the Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, or even the Chicago Cubs – only plays 162 regular season games a year, it’s not always enough. Even a trip from the postseason to the World Series may not entirely quench your thirst for nine more innings of baseball.

Thankfully, video game developers are aware of this need, and titles like “MLB: The Show” give the baseball-obsessed a chance to enjoy the sport year-round. These games, released across different video game systems over the years, allow fans to digitally guide their favorite players and help them achieve a career worthy of Cooperstown.

What baseball positions are most featured on the cover of these games, and who are some of the most famous faces on the packaging? Here’s a look at recent MLB video games and what their covers can tell us.

Select A Team


No player without their own video game franchise (sorry, Ken Griffey Jr.) appeared on more covers than former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. He graced the cover of “Major League Baseball 2K5”, “Major League Baseball 2K6,” and “Major League Baseball 2K7” – three consecutive years not just as the face of the Yankees’ franchise but of this particular video game series. Those were some of the best years of Jeter’s career. In 2006, he finished second overall in MVP balloting behind Minnesota Twins player Justin Morneau.

Ken Griffey Jr. was featured on four covers, all from the series using his name and image. While the other players rounding out the top five appeared on two or more covers, only one was a pitcher. Pedro Martínez, a 2004 World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox and Hall of Famer, lent his visage to the covers of “World Series Baseball 2K1” and “World Series Baseball 2K2.”

Super Sox

Seven video game series have had Boston Red Sox players featured on the cover, the most of any one team. In addition to Pedro, recently retired designated hitter David Ortiz was on the cover of “MLB 06: The Show.” The only currently active Red Sox to appear on a cover was second baseman Dustin Pedroia for “MLB 09: The Show.” Adrian Gonzalez and Nomar Garciaparra were also Red Sox players when chosen as cover boys.

Two teams – the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays – with only one MLB player on a video game cover have only done so very recently. In the last two years, Dodgers’ right fielder Yasiel Puig and Blue Jays’ third baseman Josh Donaldson shared the responsibility of gracing “MLB: The Shows” cover in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Puig was 19th in MVP voting in 2014, and Donaldson knocked in 41 home runs and 123 RBIs in 2015, where he finished first in MVP balloting.

Positional Awareness

After outfielders, shortstops and pitchers were the most common positions to be featured on the covers of baseball video games. At six apiece, there are plenty of famous faces in this bunch. Derek Jeter for “Major League Baseball 2K” and Pedro Martínez of the Boston Red Sox in “World Series Baseball 2K” help lead this group.

You’re less likely to be the face of a video game franchise if you’re a second or third baseman. Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox and David Wright from the Mets, helped to further the cause of being considered for cover-star greatness.

Press Play to Play Ball

While there have certainly been players from small market teams who’ve made their way onto video game covers, stars from some of the MLB’s biggest teams – like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees – make more regular appearances on the boxes of these digital baseball games.

Don’t miss an opportunity to turn digital dreams into a reality by getting officially licensed MLB merchandise and apparel transported to you in the real world from Fanatics. It’s the best way to level up your fan experience!


Video Games Franchises Covered

MLB: The Show, Major League Baseball 2K, Triple Play, Ken Griffey Jr., The Bigs, Home Run King, World Series Baseball 2K, Microsoft Baseball, MLB ‘98, MVP Baseball.

The Most Attractive MLB Teams


Heating Up The Diamond

Baseball and basketball are unique in that the individual players’ faces are always visible, helping to make them some of the most recognizable athletes on the planet! Since we’re in the heat of the Major League Baseball season, we decided to take a closer look at the players running out onto the diamond every night. More specifically, we had thousands of people weigh in to determine which teams were the most attractive. Check out where your team ranks and if they’re making an impact both on and off the field.

Hottest Pennant Race Ever


Major League Baseball’s World Series of Attractiveness winners are the San Diego Padres.. They have a couple players to thank for their overall ranking, but most notably pitcher Third Baseman Ryan Schimpf who earned the highest rating on the team at a 7.2 out of 10.

They also could thank the bullpen for their contribution to their top rating. Three of the five most attractive players on the Padres are pitchers: Clayton Richard, Craig Stammen, and Wil Myers.

Good to see Dickie V today at the South Carolina Kentucky game

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The only teams in the top ten from the American League were the  Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers.

Every Team’s Hottest Stars, American League


Here are the top five hottest players for every one of MLB’s 30 franchises. Red Sox Right Fielder Mookie Betts, who finished second to Mike Trout in the AL MVP voting last season, had the team’s highest appearance rating of 6.6 out of 10.

All for Mama

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Only one team had more than two players rated at a 7.0 or above.The Kansas City Royals were that team, with Catcher Drew Butera and First Baseman Eric Hosmer at a 7.3 and 7.0 average attractiveness rating respectively.

Every Team’s Hottest Stars, National  League


In America’s Heartland, the St. Louis Cardinals command attention from baseball loving fanatics. While their scouts have signed exceptional players such as Matt Carpenter, their most attractive players are Tyler Lyons, Matthew Bowman, and Dexter Fowler. When they’re not taking the mound, as starters or in relief, these three gentlemen are finding ways to look their best outside of the bullpen.

Hey guys! Check me out on the cover of Cardinals Mag. Click the link on my bio to read 😃

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Throwing The Hot Stuff

If you’re heading out to the ballpark or turning on the game to see some of these gems, make sure you’re representing by stocking up on fan gear at Fanatics. We’ve got everything you need to look your best in official MLB apparel.

The 3,000 Hits Club: Adrián Beltré


Adrián Beltré, who currently plays for the Texas Rangers and is in his 20th Major League Baseball season, joined the exclusive 3,000 Hits Club on Sunday, July 30, 2017. This is a rare feat indeed – the third baseman is only the 31st player in MLB history to cross over the 3,000 mark. Let’s take a look back at Beltré’s career to see how he achieved this incredible goal.

Hittin’ That Cheese


Adrián Beltré hails from the Dominican Republic and was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers when he was only 15 years old – a controversial move considering he was technically too young to play for an MLB team. However, he persevered by competing in the Dominican Summer League in 1995 and left his island home for minor league ball the following summer. His minor league performance was impressive, and he was called up to the big leagues in 1998 at age 19.

While his rookie year wasn’t big on hits with only 42 knocks, Beltré soon grew to be a ball smasher in his own right. The following year, he nailed 148 hits and continued with over 100 hits per season every year after that. He reached 200 hits in a season while playing for the Dodgers in 2004, and came very close to doing it a second time while playing for the Rangers in 2013, with 199 hits.

Scroll to see Adrian's new favorite number.

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Beltré played for the Dodgers for seven seasons, racking up 949 hits in the process. He then entered MLB as a free agent and signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2005, netting 751 hits over five seasons. During a single season with the Boston Red Sox in 2010, he collected another 189 hits. He then headed over to the Texas Rangers, signing a contract worth $96 million over six years (this is his seventh year with the Rangers, by the way). So far, he’s accomplished more than 1,100 hits for the team.


Beltré joins 30 other MLB players in the 3,000 Hits Club. The most recent addition was Ichiro Suzuki, who nailed his 3,000th hit in 2016 and is the only other active MLB player in this exclusive club. Other baseball greats in the club include Willie Mays (his 3,000th hit was in 1970), Cal Ripken (2000), George Brett (1992), Wade Boggs (1999), Roberto Clemente (1972), Derek Jeter (whose 3,000th hit was a homer in 2011), Rod Carew (1985), and Alex Rodriguez (also with a homer in 2015). The first player to reach 3,000 hits was Cap Anson in 1897.


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Whether you’ve been rooting for Beltré since his Dodgers days or have been keeping tabs on him through his Rangers career, be sure to check out the selection of Beltré swag at Fanatics.


Boston Red Sox Home Run Hot Spots: Fenway Park


The Boston Red Sox have a long, storied history full of all-time greats, eight World Series championships, and great success as of late. From recently retired and likely future Hall-of-Famer David Ortiz to youngster Mookie Betts, the Sox roster was loaded with talent in 2016. The team has hopes to head to the postseason again in 2017.

Fenway History

Fenway Park, located in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still used today. The team, founded in 1901, wasn’t known as the Red Sox until 1908 and didn’t move into the comfy confines of Fenway until their owner had it built prior to the 1912 season.

The early days of the Red Sox were full of future greats that are remembered today, including the indomitable pitcher Cy Young, as well as Tris Speaker, Harry Hooper, and Smoky Joe Wood. The team captured the first modern-day World Series pennant in 1903 and went on to grab quite a few more before 1920 when the controversial trade of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees took place.

This exchange remains a sore spot for fans and led to years of disappointing play on the field. The team rebounded in the ’40s and returned to (and lost) the World Series in 1946. The Red Sox-Yankee rivalry is still strong and is not expected to die down anytime soon, as they both compete in the AL East.

We'll just leave this here. ⚾️

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In the early 20th century, the dimensions of Fenway Park were limited by its locale, and upgrades and additions only served to enhance the stadium’s quirkiness. For example, bullpens were installed in front of the bleachers in the ’40s, which shortened the distance down the right field line – a boon to lefty hitters like Ted Williams.

Fenway is probably most famous, though, for its enormous green wall, known as the Green Monster. Interestingly, the wall was not always green. Before 1947, it was plastered with advertisements. 

Catching Boston Bombs


Fenway Park is no stranger to home runs, as the park is one of the smaller ones in Major League Baseball. In 2016, 198 homers flew over the walls, with the longest coming off the bat of Hanley Ramirez – a 460-foot bomb.

If you’re hoping to grab a home run ball, there are a few places in Fenway where the odds are more in your favor. According to the heat map of Fenway, it’s clear the left field is tops. This means the Green Monster is the way to go, as those are the only seats in the left field. If a ball makes it up to the top of the Monster, your chances are excellent.

Other good spots are around the triangle area (section 40) – that odd little area where center field peaks – and the areas around it, specifically sections 35 and 41. There are a few juicy spots in right field, too – check out sections 1, 2, and 3, which are close to Pesky’s Pole.

As the Boston Red Sox ready themselves for the 2017 MLB season, fans are looking forward to grabbing a seat at Fenway Park and cheering on their favorites. If you’re hoping to grab a seat on the Green Monster this year, make sure you check out the amazing selection of Red Sox gear at and see if you can’t grab a souvenir while you’re at the game.


The Best Inaugural Seasons in MLB History


First Year Success in the Big Leagues

Late 19th-century baseball very clearly valued function over fashion, as deduced by the professional baseball monikers of the era. For example, the Los Angeles Dodgers of today were born from the: Brooklyn Atlantics (1884), Brooklyn Bridegrooms (1888), and Brooklyn Superbas (1899). After a stint as the Brooklyn Robins (1914) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1932), the franchise relocated to Los Angeles in 1958.

The beginnings of professional baseball are choppy with leagues forming and dissolving, but some original clubs are among the most heralded. Today’s Chicago Cubs were sculpted from an upstart 1876 inaugural season by the Chicago White Stockings as they went 52-14 in their first year, with a win/loss percentage of .788. This is the best win/loss percentage of any team – historical or current – during their inaugural season. The White Stockings carried this early success into the still-green National League, leading the league for six of their first 11 seasons.

In 1883, the Boston Beaneaters formed from the Boston Red Stockings. They had an outstanding inaugural season, going 63-35 with a win/loss percentage of .643 (sixth best in the history of baseball), which carried into a decent 24-year run for the team. They then became the: Boston Doves (1907), Boston Rustlers (1911), Boston Braves (1912), Boston Bees (1936), Boston Braves (1941), Milwaukee Braves (1953), and finally your present-day Atlanta Braves (since 1966). Yes, your storied Atlanta Braves were once the Beaneaters.

All-Star Starters


Today’s Cubs had an excellent first season of their own in 1903, with a 59.4 win/loss percentage and an 82-56 record. They were World Series champions in back-to-back years (1907 and 1908), and have appeared in 11 championship series. Before becoming the reigning champions of MLB with their 2016 title, the Cubs didn’t appear in a World Series for 71 years (1945 World Series vs. the Detroit Tigers).

This was when the Cubbies’ curse was put in motion, as a local bar owner of The Billy Goat Tavern apparently attempted to bring his goat through the turnstiles with him. The 1940s were a simpler time, yes, but you still couldn’t bring goats into ballparks. As the gentleman and his goat were sensibly turned away, he bellowed a curse on the Cubs into the Wrigley Field gates, and the longest drought in sports then commenced.

Getting a Good Leadoff


Additional noteworthy historical MLB teams include the 1885 New York Giants (win/loss percentage of .759); the 1882 Cincinnati Red Stockings (win/loss percentage of 68.8); the 1899 Brooklyn Superbas (win/loss percentage of .682), and the 1883 St. Louis Browns (win/loss percentage of .663).

The Red Stockings were a charter member of the first National League before being excommunicated by the baseball saints in 1880 for refusing to stop selling beer during games and for refusing to stop renting out the stadium on Sundays. They went on to help establish the American Association (who had no quarrel with hoppy refreshments) in 1881 and shined throughout the third finest inaugural baseball season in history.

Superbas – because you’re wondering – is a reference to a successful Broadway act of the late 19th century. As was popular during this era, team names sprung from newspaper print into game day programs. The Dodgers, rumor has it, ultimately received their name as a derivation of the nickname, Trolley Dodgers – a reference to the winding mass of trolley tracks within the borough.

Vintage Winners


In 1901, MLB added the American League into the fold, introducing eight teams into play: the Chicago White Stockings, Boston Somersets, Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, Cleveland Blues, and the Milwaukee Brewers. More than just an expansion experiment, this laid the groundwork for the next century of baseball in America.

Of the best win/loss percentages for MLB inaugural seasons, three of the teams still exist today: the White Sox, Tigers, and Athletics.

The Chicago White Sox played the first official game of the American League in 1901. They won their first game and 82 more en route to a current MLB best of .61. 1901 was a strong year for inaugural season records, but Chicago claims top honors. The Motor City owns the sixth best current win/loss percentage (.548) for the Tigers’ 1901 debut season, going 74-61. Being ever so slightly edged out, the 1901 Athletics (74-62 with a .544 win/loss percentage) take seventh for active teams.

Of these three American League strongholds, Detroit has appeared in 11 World Series. They’ve won four championships; however, the last was in 1984. The White Sox have appeared in less than half as many World Series, but claimed victory in 2005 against the Houston Astros.

Two late-model teams to crack the top five active teams with the best inaugural seasons are the Tampa Bay Rays (2008) and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2005). The Rays went 97-68 in their debut season, finishing with a 59.9 win/loss percentage – the second highest among active teams. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have the fifth best active win/loss percentage (.586). While somewhat successful, neither team has managed to find success in the postseason.

Ball Game

In the nonstop thrill ride of MLB, there’s no telling the success a future expansion team or relocated ballclub may find. Will anyone ever top the White Stockings’ debut? Well, it’s been over 140 years, and no team has managed to top them. We’ll have to tune in and see.

So if your Beaneaters jersey is now just a sash of cascading threads, and your Bridegrooms cap has become a tattered woolen sweatband, maybe it’s time to head to Fanatics to upgrade your MLB apparel.


Sports Traditions: Boston Red Sox


Sports are wild and wonderful and full of traditions you may not understand. From not talking to a pitcher who is on a perfect game to not shaving as long as your team is winning in the playoffs, there are countless examples throughout the years. Today we’re answering the question: Why do Boston Red Sox fans sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at home games?

My favorite tradition #middleofthe8th #sweetcaroline #redsox

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Diamonds Are Forever

Boston Red Sox fans and curious sports fans alike have Amy Tobey to thank for that sweet selection. Between 1998 and 2004, she was in charge of selecting the music for Fenway Park. She had heard “Sweet Caroline” played during other sporting events and added it to the Sox’s in-game playlist. Toby “considered it a good luck charm,” and it eventually made its way into the eighth inning of every Red Sox home game.

One of the most memorable performances actually involved Neil Diamond on April 20, 2013. In the first Boston Red Sox home game played after the Boston Marathon Bombings, Diamond flew himself to the city so he could take part in the eighth inning tradition and help the city heal.

Good Times Never Felt So Good

Boston Red Sox fans get loud in the eighth inning, but they always make a statement when they’re wearing the latest officially licensed merchandise and apparel. All looks are available right now on Fanatics.


Boston Red Sox Walk-Up Songs


Head down Yawkey Way in Boston, Massachusetts during the summer and you’ll be greeted by the joyful noise of fans taking in a baseball game at Fenway Park. Home to the Boston Red Sox, this iconic ballpark has been in operation since 1912 and and earned honors as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.”

Just because it’s a living piece of history doesn’t mean this stadium and its team haven’t kept up with the times. They’ve performed multiple updates to stay current with what the newest offerings from the latest and greatest ballparks; from high-definition video boards to seat renovations and even expanded concessions.

The Fenway Faithful also get to enjoy plenty of great music piped through the hallowed grounds as players for their team walk-up to the plate. Here’s the rundown of exactly what type of music genres are most popular amongst the team.

Fenway Favorites


Out of the 30 songs selected by Boston Red Sox players, almost half are rap and hip-hop. Boston is a rock and roll type of town, serving as the staging ground for several successful rock bands (Aerosmith, Boston, and The Cars), but that isn’t the players’ genre of choice. It is worth noting, even those that chose rock didn’t select a song by any of the hometown heroes.

Beats by Boston

Those making their walk to home plate with songs from the rap and hip-hop genre treat game day guests to songs both old and new. First baseman Hanley Ramirez, closing in on 20 home runs for the season, uses 2Pac’s “Hail Mary” to psyche himself up for his at-bats. Designated hitter and future Hall of Famer, David Ortiz, alternates between two different latin artists, Arcangel and De La Ghetto. Right fielder Markus Lynn Betts, better known as Mookie who lets Gucci Mane’s “Heavy” or Rocko’s “UOENO” announce his arrival at the plate.

Rock Your Sox Off

Offering to share some classic rock, the second genre in the lineup, with the fans are pitchers Craig Kimbrel (Guns N’ Roses “Welcome To The Jungle”), David Price (Jimi Hendrix “All Along The Watchtower”) and third baseman Aaron Hill (Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks”). Opting for some more modern choices, pitcher Drew Pomeranz went with Volbeat’s “Still Counting” and left fielder Brock Holt chose Reckless Kelly’s “Ragged As The Road.”

Interestingly, Rihanna is the only artists to appear multiple times, three in fact, thanks to shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Travis Shaw.

The Players’ Playlist

In between the hooting and hollering, the footlong franks and the fun times, there’s still a ballgame taking place. Whether it’s hip-hop and rap or rock, Red Sox fans just want to see their team make a run for the World Series. Show your pride for the Red Sox by sporting the best officially licensed MLB apparel and merchandise at


Mapping the Red Sox Pitches


Every season, thousands of fans flock to Fenway Stadium (the oldest ballpark in MLB history) to witness the highly praised Boston Red Sox dominate their enemies.

The immense pressure between the pitcher and batter seconds before he throws a payoff pitch is exactly the type of suspense that fans are craving. Some like to predict what pitch is coming next, but these edgy flamethrowers are known for throwing an unexpected pitch from their repertoire. So keep your heads up high and your eyes on the ball because you’ll never know what pitch will soar across the dirt strip next.

Using Carson Sievert’s PITCHf/x tool, we took a deeper look into this pitch data by visualizing each pitch type over the past nine seasons. Read on to explore the modern-day pitch type of the beloved Red Sox pitchers.

A Whole Lotta Pitches

After analyzing all pitch types and trends, we decided to visualize the path of every pitch thrown by famed Sox pitchers throughout the past nine seasons. The pitch-zone charts are quite simple to follow – each chart represents the stance of the player at bat (lefty or righty), while the different pitch types are identified by color.

At a glance, the first colors that stand out are blue and green – the majority of these pitches being four-seam and two-seam fastballs. No surprises here: The four-seam fastball is considered one of the easiest pitch types to control. Their speedy tactics may be working; the Red Sox are currently ranked second in the American League East – treading closely behind division rivals, the Baltimore Orioles.

Setting aside the overwhelming number of fastballs, curveballs, knuckleballs, change-ups, and sliders make up the rest of the crowd. Our analysis shows that this repertoire of pitches is responsible for about 50% of pitches thrown so far this season. As you may have noticed, some of the pitch types break back across the plate – displaying the typical path for the change-up or cutter. Often pitched by the trickiest pitchers to take the mound – both pitches are thrown as an attempt to confuse or disgruntle the player at bat.

Mix-Up Pitches


The Boston Red Sox have some interesting percentages among their pitch count distribution. As mentioned earlier, the four-seam (31.12%) and two-seam fastball (18.67%) take the cake – comprising just about half of their entire pitch count.

It’s safe to say that any opposing batter has a 50-50 chance of getting a taste of fastball zipping down the dirt mound. When this power-pitch is not being thrown, the Sox also enjoy beaming curveballs (9.55%), change-ups (10.57%), sliders (7.03%), and knuckleballs (10.78%) across home plate. Although their pitching team has not been the most successful this year – ranking 19th out of the 30 teams – they were able to nail down a definitive rotation that is surprisingly producing fan-pleasing results.

Taking a closer look at the starting pitcher rotation for the Red Sox, we identified each pitcher’s hardest-thrown pitch type (computed as the highest average exit velocity):

David Price (No. 24) – Two-Seam Fastball, 90.88 mph

Steven Wright (No. 35) – Knuckleball, 86.80 mph

Rick Porcello (No. 22) – Two-Seam Fastball, 91.24 mph

Drew Pomeranz (No. 31) – Knuckle Curve, 91.91 mph

Eduardo Rodriguez (No. 52) – Four-Seam Fastball, 89.83 mph

Three of the five pitchers in the rotation throw variations of the fastball the hardest – a typical stat among MLB pitchers. Pomeranz appears to be the black sheep of the herd, as the Knuckle-Curve only makes up 2.39% of the total pitch count. Needless to say, these flamethrowers must maintain this momentum if they’re looking for success heading into the playoffs.

Right Down Broadway

Pitching is widely considered to be a form of art rather than a calculated science. The beauty of pitching derives from the freedom of the man at the mound to pitch whatever comes naturally to him. Perfecting this craft takes practice, and honing specific mechanics may take years – these are the applications a major league pitcher must dedicate himself to.

Before stepping up to the mound, or heading to Fenway Park, make sure you’re decked out in the latest #RedSox gear. Look no further than for all of your Boston sports merchandise and memorabilia.