PITCHf/x guru Harry Pavlidis answers your questions with stats and stuff.
Harry Pavlidis: Great day for baseball. Zack Wheeler debuts later, Matt Harvey is going now, and Wil Myers plays in his first two MLB games today. Lots to talk about, so let's get started.
Cal Guy (Cali): What stats do you look at most when evaluating pitching prospects?
Harry Pavlidis: the older the guy/higher the level the more the stats mean. But it always comes back to walks and strikeouts for me.
Nate Springfield (MidWest): What was Wacha's "downfall"? Mis-use of change-up or location issues?
Harry Pavlidis: He had one good start, one bad start, and one middling start. In such a short run, with such varied results, I would hesitate to try and point to any one thing. He did throw a lot of changes (almost 1 of 3 pitches) so that is something to at the very least consider. Too much of a good thing, perhaps.
Alex (UCLA): How much would a Pitch F/X system cost for say...a college team?
Harry Pavlidis: I don't know. Plenty of colleges have them, though. I think major programs can easily afford one in their stadium operations budget, I'm figuring it's a five figure not a six figure thing.
Benny (Quebec): Who is a 2013 first round player who is overrated in your eyes?
Harry Pavlidis: that's tough, I don't have a good set of knowledge on that many of the picks. But, I will say this again: I wasn't as high on Gray as most people. I was glad the Cubs didn't pick him, and there's a world of room between him and Appel. He's got some amazing upside but he could end up as a reliever in some realistic scenarios. That's not a high enough floor for a prime pick like that IMO.
BobbyA (NYC): Is Josh Johnson fixed?
Harry Pavlidis: that's between Josh and his veterinarian. I don't expect him to get back to the level he was a couple years back, but he can certainly learn to pitch at 93 instead of 95.
Matt (Chicago): From an F/X standpoint, what do you make of Castro's struggles? Simple slump or something deeper?
Harry Pavlidis: I don't f/x can tell us much more than what our eyes do. A ton of movement, late load and a head turning away from the pitch. He's quieting down, loading up in time and his head is staying in more. He'll be fine, he's just a young hitter who not only has to learn how to adjust his approach, but now he's having to discover that his mechanics can get out of whack, too.
Alex (Anaheim): Are you worried at all about how Anibal Sanchez will fare after his DL stint?
Harry Pavlidis: shoulders worry me, always. Perhaps irrationally so. So, yes. He has dealt with these things before, I'm not sure if that means "hey he'll be fine again" or "how many lives does this cat have?"
Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh): I think you'll agree my stuff is pretty awesome. So why the hell can't I strike guys out???
Harry Pavlidis: work on your command, like they've been saying since before you were drafted.
Prospect Owner (VA): I am in a ten man keeper league and was hoping you could assist in ranking the following prospects for their future fantasy baseball value. Singleton, Bogaerts, Buxton, Yelich, Castellanos, Hamilton
Harry Pavlidis: tough to consider position value/scarcity .... but I like Buxton the most, Hamilton the least. Probably Buxton and Yelich at the top...but that's not as clear in the middle as it is at the top and bottom for me
BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): How much do you need to train to actually work and be familiar with Pitch F/X?
Harry Pavlidis: I'll need a followup question, Bobcat. What kind of work?
Ashitaka1110 (Houston, TX): Jordan Lyles' recent breakout (1.67 ERA over last six starts); real, illusion, or somewhere in the middle?
Harry Pavlidis: obviously somewhere in the middle is the safest pick. I've liked him from the get-go. Now that he's got some big league innings under his belt he is probably better equipped to take advantage of his five pitch mix, led by that lovely power sinker. He should be a solid mid-rotation guy for the Astros for a while.
Klubes (Cleveland): Is Corey Kluber throwing a curve or a changeup? I'm confused.
Harry Pavlidis: confusion is a natural state. In unrelated news, Matt Harvey just hit 100 on the Turner Field "gun"
Kenny Holder (Omaha): Am I as good as Kenny Powers??
Harry Pavlidis: aren't we all?
hotstatrat (Torontonian from Connecticut): No doubt this has been analyzed, but I don't know where to find it: How does this year's first round June draft compare to previous drafts?
Harry Pavlidis: In what regard? For example, I think more high school catchers were picked than in recent memory. Every year is different (gee, that's helpful, Harry) but I feel like we'll look at next year as being deeper than this.
Tony (Work): I know Julio Urias is only 16 - but he could legitimately be the next teenager to pitch in the MLB, right? Is his ceiling a future 1 or lower?
Harry Pavlidis: Yes, I think he'll make it in a couple years and yes, his ceiling is a 1.
Alex (UCLA): Could even small D1 colleges have them? How do the colleges use them?
Harry Pavlidis: don't know, but I wonder if they could afford the cost and the resource to run it during the games. How they use them? Not sure, but I would use the data for draft prepping!
BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): I guess to work in a ballpark with the pitch f/x system.
Harry Pavlidis: MLBAM does hire operators for their systems and AFAIK they provide the training. I think if you searched for "pitchf/x operator" or checked the careers section at mlb.com (assuming they have one) you'll see what they're looking for. Or tweet at Cory Schwartz! He'll know for sure.
Greg (The Office): What are your thoughts on Eric Hosmer? Ever since George Brett was hired on as hitting coach he seems to have turned some things around. Is he making his way back to fantasy relevance? Thanks!
Harry Pavlidis: I would be truly surprised if Brett had anything to do with that ... I know that's not the question, but I have to put that out there. Hosmer is young, the tools are still there. So his ceiling may not be as high as hoped, but there's more power to come as he ages. So, yes, he's making his way back, but don't expect it to be a quantum leap.
BobbyA (NYC): Hi Harry! What's your take on Eric Stults? In his success this year just a case of a guy having a nice couple of months? Has his slow curve become a real weapon? He's been relying on offspeed stuff, what do you think? Thanks!
Harry Pavlidis: he's officially a crafty lefty. He'll have good games, he'll get lit up more, though.
Tony (Work): Was Urias as recently discovered as it seems? Had any one outside a scout or two even seen or heard of him at this point last year?
Harry Pavlidis: I don't know, I actually hadn't heard of him until he got the ball in the MWL. I was freaked, and then I turned on the video stream on MiLB.tv and I was in awe. If he was truly unknown, someone was doing a helluva job hiding him.
Mike (CT): What do you think about Felix Hernandez's velocity drop over the past few years? He continues to have excellent results despite the loss in velocity. Do you expect him to continue to be this effective in the years to come?
Harry Pavlidis: Velocity drops, some guys adapt and others don't. Certain types of pitchers have a better chance at adapting. Felix is going to be effective, if not dominant, for a while. His stuff is still very good and his command world class.
BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): Awesome thanks! I agree with Alex, I would love to have a Pitch F/X system here! Would be really cool to have and be able to learn from. How practical is it though at college level?
Harry Pavlidis: tell your AD to call Ryan Zander at Sportvision. Make it happen!
dseals (Marshalltown, Iowa): What is the information you most wish/want Pitch f/x to provide that it currently doesn't? How would you want them to go about getting that information?
Harry Pavlidis: the one thing we are missing is a more precise estimate of release point (extension). It's a project that I gave a false start to recently, should be picking back up very soon. It will be derived from the data, nothing new in the pitchfx itself.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Who has the single nastiest pitch in the Show this year, and what is it?
Harry Pavlidis: Kimbrel's spike-curve is the champion until further notice.
DanDaMan (SeaCliff): Harry- what has been wrong with Matt Moore lately and do you think his problems will persist? Thanks
Harry Pavlidis: 3 pitch starter who lost velocity quickly at an early age. Needs to learn how to pitch "that way" while in the AL East, gonna be some speed bumps.
Mike (NYC): How can I build my own Pitch f/x database?
Harry Pavlidis: get baseball on a stick (google it)
JT (Michigan): Any hope for Moustakas?
Harry Pavlidis: his glove, I guess. He's in a deeper hole than Hosmer and showing far fewer signs of coming out of it.
Biscuits2 (The Bay): Does Cesar Puello get a phone call in the second half? #mets
Harry Pavlidis: if he's on the 40, maybe in September. No need to rush him for this year's club.
Shawn (My Cubicle): Are there any pitchers that should be doing much better than they are based on Pitch f/x (buy-low candidates for the fantasy folks)?
Harry Pavlidis: that's a great question --- the trick (which I'm not prepared with at the moment, need a hat and a rabbit) is splitting out good stuff-bad command-bad performance guys from good stuff-good command-bad performance guys
BobcatBaseball (Athens, OH): I think we need to start winning more games first (14-39 in 2013) before we start spending money on expensive equipment. What do you think most people struggle with when looking at Pitch F/X data?
Harry Pavlidis: as soon as someone sees data that is either mislabeled or from a poorly calibrated ballpark, they may barf.
Shawnykid23 (CT): Is Javier Baez a 30 HR middle of the lineup bat in his prime?
Harry Pavlidis: I'm optimistic., he has the tools. He could also flame out.
Jeff (St. Louis): What are your thoughts on Max Muncy and Stetson Allie? Which is the more legit prospect? Both 22 and are on pace for a 30/100 season but Muncy is doing it at a higher level. Thanks for the chat!
Harry Pavlidis: multiple Muncy inquiries, try to cover them here: Let's shelf the "on pace" and wait out some time, Allie is much more highly regarded by the scouts, and that should matter more now than any A/A+ level stats (and let's remember park factors, quality of competition etc isn't even across leagues within levels etc). So, no, he's not on any 'fast track' until he shows he can rake at AA. If you're not a blue chip, dues most be paid--for good reason.
cabuendia (VA): Is Scott Kazmir back to stay? What do you think of the Tribe rotation going forward?
Harry Pavlidis: I'm skeptical of Kazmir's "resurgence". The Indians sure do have some talent in the minors, but mostly on the field. So look for some trades to fill that in. Berrios could be front line, Gibson middle tier, Bauer is a wildcard.
dseals (Marshalltown, Iowa): Are there specific pitchers/parks that have a tough signal-to-noise ratio, or is this mostly extremely isolated and a non-issue? Also, is Travis Wood mostly smoke-and-mirrors or is there actually some sort of skill in what we've seen him do early this season?
Harry Pavlidis: Coors is though, Target can be, too. Tampa and Houston are shifted, Toronto tends to 'sink'. KC is hot. Wood is real, he's learned how to use his cutter and sinker on both sides of the plate. Something he got done when he was sent down to Iowa last year. I've always like him, was very happy when the Cubs got him.
Jim (Seattle): Looking for the light at the end of the tunnel here. What do you think Seattle's starting rotation will be on opening day 2014? Who will be their closer?
Harry Pavlidis: Closers I don't think much about, but I'd expect their rotation to include Walker in 2014. Him, Felix, Iwakuma, and who knows. I like Maurer, we'll see if he can adjust. Hultzen/Paxon, I guess maybe.
JoeMauer (Twin Cities): Berrios and Gibson are on the Twinny Twin Twins..... aren't they?
Harry Pavlidis: crikey, I answered two questions in one .... cut and past failure :)
Biscuits2 (The Bay): Biggest impact in 2013: Pomeranz, Z. Lee, or S. Gray? #A's #Rockies #dodgers
Harry Pavlidis: none of the above
Harry Pavlidis: and an hour is gone ... but you got a bonus note on the Twins prospects! Quick answers from the back up in the queue: Helly I like, he'll recover form. Walker should be on the farm most of the year, should get a look and be in the rotation next year. Danish and Winker I don't know about enough to answer and ... that's it! Thanks all.