View Full Version : Brian Bannister Interview

Johnny Footstool
07-30-2009, 11:16 AM
It's very refreshing hearing a jock talk about PITCHf/x and "the numbers behind the numbers." What's even more interesting is hearing how big league scouts and coaches discouraged him from featuring his cutter, but he finally realized that they were wrong. Now he throws his cutter 65% of the time with great success.


07-31-2009, 11:21 AM

I'm not sure if this has been posted yet, but I think it's absolutely fascinating.

Bannister, a sabermetrics devotee and SP for the Royals is in the process of reinventing himself as a pitcher based on sabermetric principals -- and it's working. He recently gave an interview about his new approach.

The article has the charts and graphs to demonstrate the change, but I think this is a pretty nice summary:

You can listen to or download the interview (http://www.stationcaster.com/player.php?s=26&c=377&f=30683)in a new window. One comment at Tom Tango's blog included a brief transcription of a key piece of the interview:

I know how the numbers work. I know how OBP works. I know all the numbers that will never be printed in the newspaper. They're slowly working their way on to major league scoreboards. But, how the game really works, it's not what you see out there, and it’s not about short term emotions in games. It's numbers behind numbers… it's how the game works.

I've sold out to those numbers, and I've finally found a way, and by throwing that cutter 60 times a game to get the hitters to consistently hit the top half of the ball, and its the difference between being a 5.70 ERA guy and a 3.70 ERA guy.

Here are some of my takeaways from the podcasted interview:

* Stopped relying on a rising four-seam fastball since the side effect of trying for more strike outs was a high flyball rate
* Went to a cutter that that moves like a Derek Lowe fastball in terms of rise and gets more grounders
* Throws a power change than sinks like Brandon Webb's fastball; grip is from James Shields
* Was discouraged from featuring a cutter due to the lack of righties who rely on cutters in big league rotations
* Figured his cutter was fast enough, just a "couple" mph less than his fastball
* No longer watches video or reads scouting reports; believes in the law of averages (a good sinker will be hit on the ground by anyone)
* Knows an ERA+ around 100 and 180 innings a year equals a pitcher with value to big league teams

Just great stuff.

07-31-2009, 11:26 AM
Very interesting. Listening now!

07-31-2009, 11:43 AM
obm started a thread on Bannister last year too:

07-31-2009, 11:47 AM
That was an excellent interview. He didn't say "he's just here to help the team any way he can and the good Lord willing, it'll work out" once!