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July 12, 2013

Pebble Hunting

The Season's Best LOOGY

by Sam Miller


After 20 scoreless innings to start his career, Caleb Thielbar this week allowed his first run, on a front-row home run by Ben Zobrist. While he no longer has the 0.00 ERA, he has still allowed the lowest OPS in baseball against lefties, and his lead over no. 2 Alex Torres is as big as Torres’ lead over no. 18 Rex Brothers. Lefties are 1-for-30 against Thielbar, with a single, a walk, and 13 strikeouts: .033/.063/.033.

He’s also a contender for this year’s Kratz Award for Kratzing. Thielbar was released from the Brewers’ minor league system in 2011, because he was throwing 84 mph without any sort of changeup as a starter. He went to play for the independent league St. Paul Saints, who happen to be his hometown independent league team. Also, the Twins’ hometown independent league team. They signed him, sent him to High-A as a 24-year-old, watched him clean up his mechanics and pitch pretty well over parts of three minor league seasons (particularly against lefties), and brought him up for low-leverage scrub work. He’s in high leverage now. Twins fans call him … hang on, let me make sure I have this right... yup. Meat Raffle. Twins fans call him Meat Raffle.

What’s his secret? Apparently, the strengthening power of mundane quotes from his manager:

According to manager Ron Gardenhire, "[his] stuff, he comes right at you. He's flinging the ball. He hides the ball. He's got a nice little breaking ball. He can cut his fastball. He throws a nice little slider. Just looks like, to me, he hides the ball very well and, typical of a lefty, with a little bit of funk. He surprises people.”

There’s not a lot there. Let's categorize each thing he says based on how many pitchers it would apply to, in Manager Speak:

All of the pitchers:

  • “His stuff.”
  • “He’s got a nice little breaking ball.”
  • “He can cut his fastball.”

Very nearly all of the pitchers:

  • “He surprises people.”
  • "He comes right at you.”

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Related Content:  Loogy,  Caleb Thielbar

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (07/12)
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Pebble Hunting: The Sp... (07/15)
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