Vance Worley finished his first full season of major league ball in 2011, and appeared to be a solid middle of the rotation pitcher for the Phillies. He ended the year with a solid 3.32 FIP, 21% K%, and an average 8% BB%. Worley took a step back in 2012, but suffered through an injured elbow throughout the season. His FIP returned to a slightly above average 3.85 FIP, and his strikeout rate dipped from three percent. Being fully healthy, what kind of success can we expect from Worley, and what pitches does he throw?
Worley primarily uses his fourseam fastball, but only averages around 90 miles per hour when he throws it, It does have some movement, fourseamers usually have a small platoon split, meaning pitchers tend to throw it more often against same handed hitters but in Worley's case he threw it more often against left handed hitters in 2012. He generated a fair amount of whiffs when throwing it, but fastballs don't get many whiffs in general.
He also features a sinker, and throws it roughly the same speed as his fastball. Generally sinkers have a fairly high platoon split, but in Worley's case he threw it roughly 8% to lefties in 2012. When he threw it against lefties it did tend to get hit around quite a bit. Lefties managed to hit line drives nearly a third of the time, and flyballs were also a problem.
It was much more successful against righties, seeing as how they hit groundballs over half the time. Going forward Worley should work on throwing his sinker more against righties, and less against lefties.
His slider has fairly average movement, and throws it in the mid-eighties. Sliders are also a pitch that should be thrown to same handed pitchers, and for the most part have a fairly large platoon split. Worley threw his slider 6% more against lefties than he did against righties. When Worley threw his slider against lefties he did a fairly good job at generating groundballs, but was still hurt by a fairly high line drive rate. Against righties he managed to induce groundballs a little more than half the time, and kept the line drive rate under 20%.
Again, it might be beneficial if Worley made an adjustment, and started throwing more sliders to righties than lefties.
Worley does have a curveball, but he doesn't throw it as often. Curvebals have a small reverse platoon split, meaning you should throw it more against opposite handed hitters. Against left handed hitters he saw a good amount of success, hardly giving up any line drives and getting groundballs over 50% of the time. He didn't generate a ton of whiffs but it was still effective nonetheless.
When facing righties it was still a solid pitch, getting a fair amount of groundballs while also limiting the number of line drives and flyballs. His curveball has the potential to be one of his better pitches going forward.
His changeup is primarily used against left handed hitters, and it was also fairly successful. It generated a solid number of whiffs, and was able to keep the ball out of the air. When he threw it against righties it did not return the best results, so going forward it would probably be best to avoid using it.
Playing in Target Field should help Worley as look ahead to 2013. Target Field suppresses home runs a lot more than Citizens Bank does, and that was a department where Worley struggled in 2012. Being healthy will also be a big factor, and if everything works out he should be a solid middle of the rotation guy for the next few seasons.