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Raising Aces 

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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

10-25

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0

Raising Aces: How Long Home Runs Happen
by
Doug Thorburn

10-18

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7

Raising Aces: Bush League: Previewing the Winter's Pitching Prospect Breakdowns
by
Doug Thorburn

10-11

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2

Raising Aces: Set-up the Fall Guy
by
Doug Thorburn

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April 4, 2014 6:45 am

Raising Aces: The Aces of Opening Day

1

Doug Thorburn

A close look at four aces in action in week one.

All of the great holidays are marked by high levels of anticipation. But Opening Day stands out among the more traditional observances because it is merely the beginning of the celebration to follow: seven months of 6-4-3 double plays, exploding sliders, and that sweet sound when lumber meets horsehide. It’s easy to fall pretty to the trap of overweighting observations made at the start of the regular season, and the rational observer will maintain perspective while enjoying the day's festivities. But that doesn't mean that there’s nothing to be learned from the first round of games. Early in the season, many pitchers are making real adjustments to elements of their mechanics, approach, and repertoire, and these alterations can be put under the microscope in order to get an idea of the player's developmental patterns.

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March 28, 2014 11:22 am

Raising Aces: Out on a Limb: 2014 Pitcher Predictions

10

Doug Thorburn

What does Doug see ahead for selected pitchers in 2014?

Along with the rest of the BP staff, I’ve submitted my pre-season predictions for division standings and end-of-season award winners. I tend to stay in the neighborhood of likely outcomes for these picks, resulting in easy answers such as “Mike Trout for AL MVP” or “Tigers win the AL Central,” but I’m more intrigued by the long-shot stories that emerge once the season starts.

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A close look at the mechanics of a trio of top pitching prospects.

With one week to go until Opening Day, let's tackle one final Bush League installment of the offseason, taking a look at a trio of pitchers who rank among BP's Top 50 prospects: the Rockies’ Eddie Butler, the Pirates’ Tyler Glasnow, and the Twins’ Alex Meyer. These pitchers embody some of the more common traits of high-end prospects on the mound, from stuff to mechanics, and though each player saw his stock rise during the 2013 season, there’s still a heavy dose of development needed before they’ll be ready for the show.

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March 14, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jonathan Gray

7

Doug Thorburn

The Rockies' top prospect gets better before our eyes.

This week's trip through the bushes takes us to the Colorado system to evaluate the top prospect in the Rockies’ pipeline: Jonathan Gray. The 6'4”, 255-pound right-hander has an elite arsenal, with an intimidating fastball complemented by a plus slider and a changeup that is considered a major asset. That repertoire should play very well in the majors and would seem to be a strong fit for the thin air of Coors Field. Gray's profile is even more intriguing once we get past pitch selection, so let's dig into the specifics that make him such a unique specimen.

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March 7, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Over the Radar 2.0

9

Doug Thorburn

A mechanical look at the pitchers who've gained the most fastball velocity over the last couple seasons.

This week, we’re focusing on pitch velocity and identifying the arms who have seen a big change in their fastball speeds over the last couple of years. On Monday, we looked at the players who are on the velocity downslope, with offerings that fall under the radar-gun readings of their past. Today we study the other side of the coin, drawing attention to those pitchers who have added fuel to their heat over the past couple of seasons.

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March 3, 2014 12:00 pm

Raising Aces: Under the Gun 2.0

17

Doug Thorburn

A mechanical look at the pitchers who lost the most fastball velocity last season.

When it comes to pitching, velocity is the straw that stirs the drink. Fastball speed provides the baseline for batter timing and sets up every other arrow in a pitcher's quiver, explaining why velocity is the most sought-after commodity in pitchers at every level of play. Consequently, it can be devastating when a big-league pitcher transitions from pumping premium octane to regular gas, as it slows the performance of the whole machine.

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February 28, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Bush League: Andrew Heaney

1

Doug Thorburn

A mechanical look at the minor leagues' top left-handed pitching prospect.

Lefty starter Andrew Heaney was chosen by the Miami Marlins with the ninth overall selection of the 2012 draft, taken out of Oklahoma State University. He was the fifth pitcher taken in the top nine picks, and the second southpaw (behind Max Fried). Ranked no. 30 on the BP Top 101 prospect list, Heaney has enjoyed a seamless transition to pro ball, and though his strikeout rate doesn't jump off the page, his strong command has fueled excellent run prevention.

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In which Doug discovers mechanical connections between the pitchers on the Nats, Cardinals, Marlins, and other teams.

I spent most of the winter in hibernation, buried within the cozy confines of my baseball-analysis den and wading through a sea of pitchers. I'm happy to say that the seeds of thought that were planted in the final weeks of 2013 are now bearing fruit, as the 2014 Starting Pitcher Guide that Paul Sporer and I produced was released last week and covers close to 400 pitchers throughout the professional ranks. This was my second year contributing mechanical reports to the Guide, and I thoroughly enjoyed the arduous-yet-rewarding process as well as the pitching discussions that were generated as a result (and which can be heard on the latest episode of TINSTAAPP).

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February 14, 2014 6:43 am

Raising Aces: Bush League: Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez

12

Doug Thorburn

Mechanical breakdowns of two top Toronto arms.

The Bush League series takes a slight turn this week, doubling up to tackle a pair of pitchers from the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects list. I broke down the mechanics of a total of 21 pitchers from the Top 101 in the newly-released 2014 Starting Pitcher Guide, including each of the top 18, and all 47 arms from the big list were covered by Paul Sporer within the guide. I’d like to cover a number of those top pitchers at BP before the season begins, so let's make a dent with the top two prospects in the Toronto system.

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February 7, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Bush League: Archie Bradley

5

Doug Thorburn

Doug evaluates the mechanics of the no. 9 prospect on the Top 101.

Archie Bradley was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks near the top of the first round of the 2011 draft, checking in at seventh overall, but he was actually the fifth pitcher selected in a draft class that was historically loaded with arms. The right-hander was chosen out of Broken Arrow High School in Oklahoma, just three spots behind his friend and fellow Oklahoma prepster Dylan Bundy. The BP prospect team recently tabbed Bradley as the top prospect in Arizona’s system, and he ranked ninth on the Top 101 list, slotting just behind Taijuan Walker as the second-best pitching prospect in the game.

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January 31, 2014 11:49 am

Raising Aces: The Evolution of Pitching Mechanics

12

Doug Thorburn

From Walter Johnson to Lucas Giolito.

The perceptions surrounding the art and science of pitching have evolved over the history of major league baseball. Methodology has been shaped by example through elite players, molded by the evolution of game theory, and influenced by changes to the rules and dimensions on the field of play. More recently, the findings of statistical analysis and the study of biomechanics have impacted the ways that pitchers go about their craft.

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January 24, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Fade to Black and White

19

Doug Thorburn

Scouting the deliveries of pitchers from the dawn of the television era and earlier.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve looked at the pitchers who gained entry to the Hall of Fame during the formative years of my youth. Most of these pitchers hailed from the 1960s and '70s, with the occasional senior citizen (read: Hoyt Wilhelm) having gained notoriety in the '50s. The footage becomes more scarce—and less colorful—as we progress back in time, and the lack of video clips makes it more difficult to break down the pitching mechanics of the founding fathers of Cooperstown.

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