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Raising Aces 

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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

10-04

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1

Raising Aces: Playoff Pitchers, and Pitches, to Watch
by
Doug Thorburn

09-27

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5

Raising Aces: A Taxonomy of Pitcher Triples
by
Doug Thorburn

09-20

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9

Raising Aces: The Top 10 Homers Hit by Pitchers in 2013
by
Doug Thorburn

09-13

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3

Raising Aces: What's the Point?
by
Doug Thorburn

09-06

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4

Raising Aces: Taijuan Walker, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

08-30

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2

Raising Aces: A Closer Look at Relievers
by
Doug Thorburn

08-23

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2

Raising Aces: The RP-Funk All-Stars
by
Doug Thorburn

08-16

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1

Raising Aces: Elevator Action
by
Doug Thorburn

08-09

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5

Raising Aces: What Happened to Liriano and Masterson?
by
Doug Thorburn

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November 8, 2013 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Great Pitchers, Flawed Mechanics

11

Doug Thorburn

Pitchers who succeed despite less-than-perfect deliveries.

One of the most common questions people ask me is to name good pitchers who have bad mechanics. Of course, mechanics are too nuanced to draw lines in the sand of “good” and “bad,” but the question is fascinating nonetheless. The general rule is that the best pitchers have excellent mechanics, but it’s true that some of the top players in the game have flaws in their deliveries.

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November 1, 2013 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Bush League: Kyle Zimmer

2

Doug Thorburn

Mid-season adjustments put the Royals pitching prospect on the path to prominence.

The Kansas City Royals chose Kyle Zimmer out of the University of San Francisco with the fifth overall selection of the 2012 draft. He was the second pitcher off the board, following LSU's Kevin Gausman, and he earned the distinction of having my favorite delivery of the opening round. Zimmer rose to the Double-A ranks in his first full season of pro ball, where he dominated for a handful of starts before he was shut down in mid-August due to stiffness in his throwing shoulder.

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October 25, 2013 9:52 am

Raising Aces: How Long Home Runs Happen

0

Doug Thorburn

What went wrong for the pitchers who surrendered the longest homers hit in 2013?

Two months ago, I introduced an article dubbed Elevator Action, which was inspired by the tendency for elevated pitches to leave the yard. The concept behind the piece was that it can often be more damaging to miss targets within the strike zone than is to sail pitches out of reach. Pitchers who pound the zone but lack the command to places pitches on its periphery will suffer the consequences.

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A look at the young pitchers Doug will be doing deep dives on this offseason.

The advent of MLB.tv has revolutionized the baseball experience, granting access to the nearly 2500 games that take place each season in the majors and opening many avenues of analysis. But the extensive footage available via MLB's younger brother, MiLB.tv, is often overlooked. Though the video quality may be lacking, the minor-league product offers valuable glimpses of the game's elite prospects.

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October 11, 2013 10:08 am

Raising Aces: Set-up the Fall Guy

2

Doug Thorburn

A tip of the cap toward the effective set-up men who get little publicity unless they implode.

The role of set-up man is a tough gig. Serving as the bridge to the more famous, better-compensated closer, the set-up man carries all of the risks of a late-inning reliever with virtually none of the accolades. A closer who gets his requisite three outs (or more, as often happens in the postseason) might be credited for “shutting the door” on the opposition, but the eighth-inning guy is rarely mentioned in the aftermath of a victory. The only time the name of a set-up man appears in bold ink is when he gives up runs and incurs the dreaded blown save.

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October 4, 2013 2:59 pm

Raising Aces: Playoff Pitchers, and Pitches, to Watch

1

Doug Thorburn

Things to focus on during today's baseball overload.

The National League contingent of the League Division Series kicked off yesterday, with the Cardinals and Dodgers jumping to early leads in the opening round, but today's jammed slate will bring playoff baseball into full swing. All eight of the qualifying teams will take the field; four ballgames on tap matches the total of the past three days combined. I'm ready to buckle up for a 12-hour day of playoff baseball, eagerly anticipating the level of intensity and intrigue that can be found only in October.

This article is for those about to watch an exciting postseason, regardless of any particular rooting interests. There are dozens of storylines taking place on the mound, and every playoff team has some pitching-related nuance to appreciate as we watch them go to war.

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September 27, 2013 7:12 am

Raising Aces: A Taxonomy of Pitcher Triples

5

Doug Thorburn

Breaking down how each of this season's 10 pitcher triples happened.

Last week, we ventured into the world of pitcher offense by taking a look at the top 10 home runs that were hit by hurlers this season. At the time that the article was published, there had been 20 homers hit by pitchers on the year, but Jhoulys Chacin did some afternoon yardwork for pitcher bomb no. 21 last Friday. It was the first homer of the year for a Rockies pitcher, and prior to the blast the Rox were one of just two National League clubs whose pitchers had not hit either a home run or a triple on the season (the Pirates are now alone in that distinction).

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September 20, 2013 6:55 am

Raising Aces: The Top 10 Homers Hit by Pitchers in 2013

9

Doug Thorburn

A "helped his own cause" countdown.

By design, Raising Aces is pitcher-centric, using a multifaceted approach involving mechanics, stuff, and stats to study the game from the hill. But for the next two weeks, we are going to shift the focus from the pitcher's mound to the batter's box, taking a moment to pay homage to the under-appreciated art of pitcher offense.

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September 13, 2013 9:12 am

Raising Aces: What's the Point?

3

Doug Thorburn

A look at the release points of several pitchers who release the ball consistently, inconsistently, and from unusual angles.

The ability for a pitcher to repeat his release point is at the heart of pitch command. Timing plays the most critical role in generating an ideal release point, but the physical position of a player's arm slot is another variable in the equation. In general, those pitchers with the best command are able to repeat both the vertical and horizontal position at which the baseball leaves the hand, while those players with more volatile release points will suffer the statistical consequences.

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September 6, 2013 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Taijuan Walker, the Debut Ante

4

Doug Thorburn

Doug finds a lot to like and plenty to nitpick in Taijuan Walker's early outings.

Last Friday, Seattle baseball fans were treated to the long-anticipated arrival of pitching prospect Taijuan Walker. The right-hander entered the season as the top prospect in the Mariners' system, and he ranked ninth overall on Jason Parks' mid-season list of the top 50 prospects in the game, placing third among pitchers (behind Archie Bradley and Kevin Gausman).

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August 30, 2013 8:38 am

Raising Aces: A Closer Look at Relievers

2

Doug Thorburn

Mechanical analysis of three of the AL's dominant closers.

Relief pitchers have been in vogue lately, whether carving out air time on TINSTAAPP or funking up Raising Aces. The RP-Funk All-Stars may have all hailed from the senior circuit, but some of the most impressive performances of the season have come from the American League. Ninth-inning relievers have been dominating hitters and shortening games all across the AL, as no fewer than five different closers entered Thursday's action with an ERA under 2.00. Although he falls just short of inclusion to that particular club this season, we start the show with none other than the greatest stopper of all time.

(all stats through 8/28/13, PITCHf/x stats are courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net)

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August 23, 2013 7:17 am

Raising Aces: The RP-Funk All-Stars

2

Doug Thorburn

A close look at four relievers who benefit from funky mechanics.

Starting pitchers tend to receive most of the attention devoted to pitchers, both in Raising Aces and within the general community of baseball evaluators. Yet some of the most intriguing pitchers in the major leagues hail from the bullpen. Starters tend to adhere to a prototypical build designed for stamina, but relief pitchers come in all shapes and sizes, often earning their roles as a direct result of the perception that they cannot withstand the rigors of a 200-inning season or a seven-inning appearance.

There are a multitude of reasons why a pitcher might be assigned to relief work, including body type, pitch selection, and/or mechanical trends. When it comes to mechanics, a pitcher with a funky delivery can be sent to the pen just as quickly as one whose motion is perceived as dangerous. These attributes can be intertwined, as the same elements that make a delivery look goofy can also present the risk of injury. Other times, a pitcher's mechanical approach is geared toward deception, creating strategic angles that are designed to exploit platoon splits or to exaggerate downhill plane.

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