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Raising Aces 

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10-17

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2

Raising Aces: Brandon Finnegan, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

10-14

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13

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot, Reliever Edition
by
Doug Thorburn

10-03

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0

Raising Aces: Daniel Norris, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

09-30

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16

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot
by
Doug Thorburn

09-19

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3

Raising Aces: Carlos in Charge
by
Doug Thorburn

09-12

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2

Raising Aces: Angelic Arms
by
Doug Thorburn

09-05

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3

Raising Aces: Cub Replacement Level
by
Doug Thorburn

08-29

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1

Raising Aces: Mis-Priced
by
Doug Thorburn

08-22

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7

Raising Aces: Police and Thieves
by
Doug Thorburn

08-15

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14

Raising Aces: Have Pitch Counts Gone Too Far?
by
Doug Thorburn

08-08

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6

Raising Aces: The Road to Recovery
by
Doug Thorburn

08-01

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3

Raising Aces: The Rabbit Hole
by
Doug Thorburn

07-25

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6

Raising Aces: Shelby Miller's Fall From Grace
by
Doug Thorburn

07-18

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1

Raising Aces: Outta Nowhere
by
Doug Thorburn

07-11

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2

Raising Aces: Breakout Breakdown: Corey Kluber and Garrett Richards
by
Doug Thorburn

06-27

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4

Raising Aces: Houston, We Have Lift-Off
by
Doug Thorburn

06-20

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6

Raising Aces: A Tale of Two Aces
by
Doug Thorburn

06-13

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1

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Three
by
Doug Thorburn

06-06

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0

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Two
by
Doug Thorburn

05-30

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4

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part One
by
Doug Thorburn

05-23

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6

Raising Aces: Going Vertical
by
Doug Thorburn

05-16

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13

Raising Aces: The Injury Puzzle
by
Doug Thorburn

05-09

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4

Raising Aces: Making Setup Man Magic
by
Doug Thorburn

05-02

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7

Raising Aces: Too Early to Worry?
by
Doug Thorburn

04-25

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6

Raising Aces: Too Soon to Swoon?
by
Doug Thorburn

04-18

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5

Raising Aces: Masahiro Tanaka, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

04-11

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11

Raising Aces: Starting Pitcher Four-Pack
by
Doug Thorburn

04-04

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1

Raising Aces: The Aces of Opening Day
by
Doug Thorburn

03-28

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10

Raising Aces: Out on a Limb: 2014 Pitcher Predictions
by
Doug Thorburn

03-21

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3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Eddie Butler, Tyler Glasnow, and Alex Meyer
by
Doug Thorburn

03-14

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7

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jonathan Gray
by
Doug Thorburn

03-07

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9

Raising Aces: Over the Radar 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

03-03

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17

Raising Aces: Under the Gun 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

02-28

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1

Raising Aces: Bush League: Andrew Heaney
by
Doug Thorburn

02-21

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3

Raising Aces: Organizational Trends: Looking for Mechanical Hallmarks
by
Doug Thorburn

02-14

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12

Raising Aces: Bush League: Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez
by
Doug Thorburn

02-07

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5

Raising Aces: Bush League: Archie Bradley
by
Doug Thorburn

01-31

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12

Raising Aces: The Evolution of Pitching Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

01-24

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19

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Fade to Black and White
by
Doug Thorburn

01-17

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees 1980-89
by
Doug Thorburn

01-10

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9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees of 1990-94
by
Doug Thorburn

01-03

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9

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Nolan Ryan
by
Doug Thorburn

12-27

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19

Raising Aces: Examining Masahiro Tanaka's Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

12-20

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2

Raising Aces: Bush League: Julio Urias
by
Doug Thorburn

12-13

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3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jameson Taillon
by
Doug Thorburn

12-06

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2

Raising Aces: Diff'rent Strikes
by
Doug Thorburn

11-22

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6

Raising Aces: Bush League: Robert Stephenson
by
Doug Thorburn

11-15

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18

Raising Aces: Bush League: Noah Syndergaard
by
Doug Thorburn

11-08

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11

Raising Aces: Great Pitchers, Flawed Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

11-01

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2

Raising Aces: Bush League: Kyle Zimmer
by
Doug Thorburn

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October 17, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Brandon Finnegan, the Debut Ante

2

Doug Thorburn

The young lefty has ascended through the Royals system in just a few months and now finds himself being used in high-leverage situations during a World Series run. But is his future as a starter or in the pen?

Just four months ago, Brandon Finnegan showed up in these pages as part of a three-part review of the 2014 draft. Now, he has a shot at a World Series ring.

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October 14, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot, Reliever Edition

13

Doug Thorburn

The best pitches delivered by relief pitchers in 2014 are broken down.

Two weeks ago, we covered the best stuff among starting pitchers for the 2014 season, and this time we tackle the relievers. The same rules apply, with a mix of objective and subjective info determining the finalists, and categories split into fastballs, breaking balls, and off-speed. But before we dive into the best reliever stuff of 2014, let's review the polling results from the starter edition.

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October 3, 2014 10:33 am

Raising Aces: Daniel Norris, the Debut Ante

0

Doug Thorburn

Daniel Norris looked strong in his first taste of the big leagues and still has room to grow.

The Blue Jays have opened up the coffers of their pitching-rich farm system in 2014. Marcus Stroman (the top prospect in the system preseason) has established himself as a rotation fixture while Aaron Sanchez (prospect no. two) may have found a home in the Toronto bullpen. The newest addition is left-hander Daniel Norris, ranked fourth in the organization entering the year (just missing the BP Top 101), and who bumped up to no. 33 in the BP mid-season rankings. Norris made his big-league debut on September 5th, and after four appearances out of the bullpen he was given his first big-league start, toeing the rubber at home against the Mariners in game number 159.

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September 30, 2014 10:22 am

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot

16

Doug Thorburn

The best "stuff" of 2014.

With the end of the regular season comes the start of awards season, kicking off debates over the ballplayers who had the most remarkable performances in 2014. MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year—these are the mainstream awards that will be wrestled over the next month—but here at Raising Aces we like to acknowledge another set of awards: the best stuff of the past season.

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September 19, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Carlos in Charge

3

Doug Thorburn

On Carlos Carrasco's excellent six weeks in Cleveland

The Cleveland Indians retain the slimmest hopes of postseason baseball, but the team could be surprisingly dangerous in October if they happen to get red hot for the final week of regular-season play. The emergence of Corey Kluber has given the Tribe a legitimate ace who can face off against any pitcher in the American League, but the meteoric rise of another pitcher has caught the rest of the league off guard while giving Cleveland a potentially devastating one-two punch at the front of their rotation.

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September 12, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Angelic Arms

2

Doug Thorburn

The lesser-known Angels starters have kept the rotation above water.

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September 5, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Cub Replacement Level

3

Doug Thorburn

How have Kyle Hendricks and Tsuyoshi Wada done so well replacing Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel?

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August 29, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Mis-Priced

1

Doug Thorburn

David Price allowed eight earned runs without getting out of the third inning. How did that happen?

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August 22, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Police and Thieves

7

Doug Thorburn

An examination of the deliveries of the best and worst right-handers at controlling the running game

The pitcher is only partly responsible for preventing the stolen base, as the process also involves the catcher, the infielders, and the baserunner himself. This reality is a major part of my personal disdain for the slide step, given the importance of pitcher timing and how that is disrupted when a pitcher compromises his delivery in an attempt to thwart the running game. That said, there is certainly an ability to limit opposing base-thieves that varies from pitcher to pitcher, including one's pace to the plate and the quality of a pitcher's pickoff move. These differences are better understood by examining those players who are at the extreme ends of the stolen-base spectrum.

We will be looking only at right-handed pitchers for the purpose of this analysis, as to avoid the additional variables that come into play with a southpaw on the mound. Let's start with the worst pitchers in the game with respect to policing the basepaths this season before we move onto those hurlers who keep runners handcuffed to first.

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August 15, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Have Pitch Counts Gone Too Far?

14

Doug Thorburn

Teams aren't letting pitchers throw 140 pitches in a game anymore, so why are they still getting hurt?

Pitcher workloads have been decreasing on a linear path for the past thirty years, yet injuries are at an all-time high. What gives?

The situation has become particularly glaring in the past few seasons, a period in which workloads are at an all-time low yet arm injuries are skyrocketing. Consider:

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August 8, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: The Road to Recovery

6

Doug Thorburn

What does recovery from Tommy John surgery look like for elite pitchers? Doug Thorburn examines Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, and Adam Wainwright to find out.

Much of the focus of the 2014 season has been on pitchers and their busted UCLs, as the ever-growing list of arms that have gone under the knife is scary both for its volume and the level of high-profile names that the list contains. The relative success of Tommy John surgery has somewhat shrouded the reality of the procedure, simultaneously trivializing the difficult decision for a pitcher to cut into his moneymaker while raising the performance expectations when a player returns.

Some pitchers don't come all the back to previous levels of performance, and in extreme cases a comeback can be derailed when the new ligament is compromised during the rehab process, with players such as Cory Luebke and Daniel Hudson requiring a second surgery before getting back on a major-league mound. It is critical to temper expectations for pitchers who are on the road to recovery from UCL replacement, and to appreciate that the comeback trail can be long, with twists and turns along the way.

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August 1, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: The Rabbit Hole

3

Doug Thorburn

Doug trains his lens on deliveries weird, unwieldy, and wackadoodle.

The typical focus here at Raising Aces is mechanical efficiency, analyzing how a pitcher makes the most of his athleticism to promote pitch command, velocity, and movement. Every once in a while, though, I like to delve into the realm of the weird. Today is one of those times.

Even at the highest level, there are a number of pitchers who exhibit bizarre quirks to their mechanics. Some of these oddities are merely an entertaining sidebar to an otherwise efficient delivery, serving as an amusing anecdote without deterring from the pitcher's task at hand, while other quirks throw a monkey wrench into the delivery and interfere with the basic task of throwing a baseball to a glove-sized target. That said, some of the best pitchers in the game have idiosyncrasies that appear to fly in the face of mechanical efficiency, yet they have overcome the physical obstacles to get the most out of their stuff.

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