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I just hate Barnes' and Farrell's clear <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=BS" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('BS'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">BS</span></a> in saying he was trying to get a high fastball at the hands to get weak contact. Don't insult our intelligence. We saw where Vazquez set up. I hope they both get very long bans. There's no place in the game for this kind of garbage.
I almost spit out my water reading this one, lol:
"Over time this becomes the same as rule A, as the pitcher will have accrued so much electric stabilization as to be unstoppable."
I certainly don't. If anything, we should force a player who strikes out four times to actually wear a golden sombrero helmet for the next game.
It's really funny to me that people still complain about the writing styles of BP writers; especially when many of these same people hail Jason's work as the "glory days" of BP (I loved Jason's work, too). Jason got a ton of flack for his humor style and the off-beat articles he wrote.
This is nothing new for BP. Some people just don't like it, and that's fine. But I don't understand complaining about it, when it's always been the style of BP, even with a constantly changing staff. It's part of the product.
If you have constructive criticism or disagree with a player evaluation, go for it. But when you're complaining about writing style, I'm not sure what you are expecting. The style has never really changed all that much and it probably isn't going to.
As for the quality of the work, as long as BP contributors keep getting hired by teams, I'm going to keep on reading.
Loved the article, love Rickey, hate this:
"All I know is that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Joe+Morgan">Joe Morgan</a></span> never stole a base when it didn't mean anything and never when we [the old <span class="teamdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/team_audit.php?team=CIN" target="blank">Cincinnati Reds</a></span>] were either ahead or behind by four runs. If you're losing 7-0 and steal a base, what's that got to do with the game? I wouldn't count those."
By that logic, if you're losing 7-0, you might as well forfeit altogether. So, so, so incredibly stupid.
Minor league stolen base numbers are fickle and the <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=70296">Billy Burns</a></span> argument is a straw man.
That said, I don't think Buxton will steal 50 bags in the majors, because he'll probably have too many extra base hits. However, 30-40 is certainly within his capability as a true "80" runner. While minor league numbers are fickle, he did steal 20 bags and only get caught twice in 2015 at AA in only 59 games. Over a full season that's 50+ steals.
Additionally, the Twins haven't been running him much, and he frankly hasn't been standing on first that often at the big club. I don't think he's earned the MLB green light yet, but when he does, he'll steal plenty of bags.
Thank you, Matthew. This is the finest piece I've ever read on BP.
Missed one, Greinke is in that group as well.
One of my favorite pitchers to watch. What's incredible about his slider is that it's already one of the best in the game. According to Fangraphs' pitch values, his slider is 9th best in value per 100 pitches among starters.
Maybe even more impressively, his fastball, slider, and curve all rank in the top 11 for the same metric among all qualified starters. Only three other pitchers have that kind of killer repertoire with three double-plus to elite pitches:
Those are three names any pitcher would want to be mentioned with.
I would LOVE to see a package centering on Plouffe and a decent, but not great prospect or two for Upton. Definitely smarter than selling the farm for a #1 starter like the A's tried to do last year.
If I'm the Twins, no way in hell I'd give up that much for a rental. Look what that did to the A's. Teams like the Twins and A's can't afford to empty their minor league system for a rental.
Here's hoping <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=78149">Terry Ryan</a></span> is smarter than <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=18911">Billy Beane</a></span>.
From the amount I've read about TJ surgery (a lot), predicting risk factors is pure guesswork at this point. Could be biology, youth overuse, slider/splitter/curveball usage, workload, velocity, mechanics, etc. etc. etc., or any or all of the above, or something else entirely. Like I said, guesswork. I'm sure if I wanted to support an argument for a guy having greater risk factors, I could do it for just about anyone.
I guess what I'm curious about is: what is the success rate of a young, highly talented pitcher having TJ returning to form vs the success rate of your typical mid-first-round talent (because, let's be honest, this draft has very little top-tier talent, if any, besides Aiken).
Maybe we don't have enough data, but it's something I'm curious about.
I would love to see someone do an in-depth analysis that studies the risk associated with picking a guy with 1/1 talent that has undergone TJ vs picking a guy that has mid-first-round talent and is healthy.
Where Aiken goes is endlessly intriguing to me. As a Twins fan, I would have no qualms about taking him at #6, because intuitively, the risk of taking a marginal player there like a risky high school bat, outweighs the risk of Aiken never returning to form. I'll take the talent all day.
Jeff, slightly off topic, but, do you know if anyone at BP has had eyes on <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=102320">Chih-Wei Hu</a></span>? I'm scouting stats, but the kid has been dominant at A+ Fort Myers and just pitched great in his AAA debut the other day, filling in for an injured starter in Rochester. With the numbers he's putting up, I have to think there's some form of MLB future in him.
Seems like he's come out of nowhere the last couple years, but I've heard no chatter about him in prospect circles.
This is a neat analysis; the cutter is definitely the most loosely defined pitch in baseball. I think the difficulty is that most pitches of the same category are thrown with a generally similar grip and generally similar pronation/supination. The cutter, however, some pitchers grip like a slider and supinate like a fastball. Some grip more fastball like and supinate like a slider, etc, etc.
Then there are the crazy outliers like <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=57743">Madison Bumgarner</a></span> who calls his pitch a cutter due to the grip and lack of extreme supination, but Pitch F/X calls it a slider due to the extreme movement.
It really is one of the most difficult things to define in the sport, which is something I love about it. It's very "baseball." I like the mentality of Dan Duqette, who sees it as a conversation of "is the pitch effective", which is ultimately what matters the most.
Jeff, I'm much more disappointed that you didn't include former Minnesota Twin <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=31752">Lew Ford</a></span> of the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League. He was 4-4 with a home run and 4 <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=RBI" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('RBI'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">RBI</span></a> two days ago and 3-5 with another home run today. Why the bias against Indy ball? Shouldn't ALL minor league players be eligible for the update? What if Lew Ford gets back to MLB this year? Surely I need that information for my fantasy league.
I'm surprised <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=58136">Andrew Cashner</a></span> didn't show up on here. His two-seamer comes in at 95-97 and it looks like it's bouncing off a wall when it gets near home plate. Many of them look just like that Yordano heater.
Though, I certainly agree that Yordano throws with some very Bard-like movement.
Only had one hit on the night, but worth noting that <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=100631">Byron Buxton</a></span> hit a walk-off two-run homer in a tight pitcher's duel. Also, he's been absolutely murdering baseballs lately.
What would cause <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=66326">Yordano Ventura</a></span> to be excluded from the top of the <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=TRAA" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('TRAA'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">TRAA</span></a> list? Only two players even attempted a steal on him last year, fewest among all SP.
"Trajectory to mediocrity" is a pretty big leap after four starts for Strasburg, unless it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.
And his five whiffs per 95 pitches might be unsettling in a large sample, but he also had 11 whiffs in 95 pitches in the previous outing. We probably need to wait a while before we label anything broken with Strasburg.
That's a great point. I'm definitely in the "why not try it" camp. The Royals gave <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47360">Wade Davis</a></span> (who had very similar minor shoulder woes as a starter) three shots to be a MLB starter, didn't work out...but he was still able to become an elite bullpen arm in his late-20s. I'd say that's a good model for how the Twins can approach Meyer over the next 2-3 years.
I think I actually talked myself into agreeing with you now. The Twins probably should just give him a shot as a starter ASAP. I just don't think they should relegate him the the bullpen without trying him as a starter at the MLB level.
I bet people said the same thing about <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Randy+Johnson">Randy Johnson</a></span>...
Check out his minor league stats. His control/command were far worse than Meyer at the same stage and he's the only player in MLB history that comes close to comparing to Meyer. They're very, very similar in stature, development curve, repertoire, minor league track record, and overall skill set.
I'm not saying Meyer is a HOFer by any stretch, but many, many, many evaluators have tagged him as a high-end starter (including BP, who ranked him 14th overall in the 101. If they thought he was a <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=RP" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('RP'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">RP</span></a>, he wouldn't rank that high). If he takes another half-season before they bring him up, I don't think it impacts his overall future profile.
If a guy has the chance to be a high-end starter, it behooves the team to give him every opportunity to be that. If he doesn't pan out this year, he's <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=47360">Wade Davis</a></span> next year. Patience is the smart play here, especially for a team that lacks high quality starting pitching at the MLB level and has a glut of hard-throwing RP in the minors.
My point is that Meyer is part of a very select group of people with a very select skillset. Being "an inch or two taller" actually makes a big difference when it comes to the ability to repeat mechanics. There just aren't very many people in the world that can do what Meyer can do with that stature. That being the case, I think it's unwise to remove height from the equation simply because we have less data to work from for players with similar stature. Simply making the data pool larger by taking height out of the equation doesn't exactly solve the issue.
To me, this is purely a baseball decision based on the individual player's skillset. The reasoning for not bringing him up is that the Twins think he can start, because he's had some success, he has three pitches, and he has potential to be a frontline starter.
If he just needs more time to refine his mechanics, you might as well take it. On top of that, the Twins NEED starting pitchers, they don't need hard-throwing bullpen righties. They just drafted two guys in Cederoth and Burdi who are near ML ready as hard-throwing late inning relievers. And then they drafted about four more guys who are hard-throwing college righties with bullpen profiles.
The Twins aren't going to compete this year, so there's no reason to give up and send a guy to the pen if he can still become a starter. It's not like he's been a complete bust as one to this point.
While it may not be wise to only use the small sample of super-tall pitchers, it may also be unwise to only use data from all pitchers, when a player like this is so unique. I think the evaluation of the player and his skillset and development takes precedent due to the lack of reliable comparisons.
I actually don't think that Meyer is being handled poorly. Tall starters take a lot longer to be ML ready, because it takes them years to consistently repeat their mechanics due to all the moving parts. His control/command has gotten better every year and he's getting close to being ready. If a guy can start and throw 95+ with a great strikeout pitch, you get him to start.
To prove my point, only five players in ML history have pitched over 100 innings as a starter in a season at 6'9" or taller: <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Randy+Johnson">Randy Johnson</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Chris+Young">Chris Young</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=48246">Jeff Niemann</a></span>, <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=990">Mark Hendrickson</a></span>, and Eric Hillman
Chris Young didn't have a full season as a starter until age 26. Randy Johnson arrived for a full season at 25 (only 160 innings). Niemann arrived at 26, Hendrickson at 29, Hillman at 27 (he was out of baseball by 29). All of these guys had extended time in the minors to work on their mechanics until they were repeatable.
So in the very limited track record we have, Meyer is still relatively young to be making his debut at 25 as a 6'9" starter.
Never thought I'd see a Yordano/Buxton comp. of any kind. I'm currently stuck at my computer in a puddle of drool.
3 years and $42 million is an incredible value compared to what Hughes would get on the open market, even if he regresses to be simply average. This is a great move for the Twins.
Were there any suggestions on the team to throw an 8 on Bryant's power? After seeing his BP display at the Futures Game, I saw more than a 7. I know it's only BP, but it was really damn impressive. Hit one about 480-500 to dead center (over the batter's eye) and crushed multiple to right-center over the big wall. Hitting it out oppo to right-center in Target Field is insanely difficult, especially from a BP toss. Is it simply playing down due to the hit tool? Or am I just putting too much stock in one ridiculous BP session?
The dude did look just like David Schwimmer.
And thanks Doug for the always excellent work.
With all of the heat and big time sliders coming out of bullpens these days, I think a lot of teams see little need to have pitchers go much beyond 100 pitches. I think that contributes a lot to why guys aren't going as deep.
Still, I wish that teams would get out of this group think mode and innovate on pitch counts. 100 is an arbitrary number and has little to do with what an individual pitcher can handle. As Doug said, some guys should probably get cut off at 80, others at 120. At the same time, guys in the minors should be training to build up their pitch counts like a marathon runner builds miles. Instead, they do the same thing every game all season, then the team jumps them up the next season to a new pitch count. You wouldn't do that type of training in any other sport, because it doesn't make any sense. You're not going to run 5 miles once a week for a year, then all of a sudden bump to 10 the next year without ever building up towards that.
Springer has a solid approach, though. He doesn't swing at many pitches out of the zone. If he had a bad approach along with the swing and miss, I'd be more worried. People said the same thing about Puig and he improved dramatically in his swing/miss game. Pitchers may adjust, but so may Springer.
Nick Gordon: 3-5, 2B, 3B, and his first professional SB. I'm hoping he keeps crushing rookie ball pitches and gets called up to Cedar Rapids for a couple months.
My goodness, Nolan Ryan
I didn't articulate that correctly. What Doug has pointed out is that height can be overrated in a pitcher's ability to create downhill plane (not that downhill plane isn't important). He showed that some shorter pitchers find ways to create downhill plane while some tall pitchers eliminate some of their advantage of plane in their deliveries. Essentially, height doesn't tell us everything.
What I should have said to articulate better is that as far as durability, Berrios' height isn't as important as his athletic/muscular build. And as far as downhill plane, it may be difficult to know how much of a disadvantage Berrios has in that area without doing an in-depth study of his delivery. Doug gave a good example in Yordano's ability to get solid downhill plane despite being shorter than ideal height.
If you've ever stood next to Berrios, you can see he is a very athletic kid. He's got a stockier build than you might think and is very muscular. That said, he's more like 5'10" than 6'. To me, the build of the pitcher is more important than height. As Doug Thorburn and Paul Sporer have showed us, downhill plane is often overrated as well. I think the durability concerns will go away as he logs more innings. I'm also encouraged, because when I saw him at Cedar Rapids, he was 90-92 with fringe command. Now he's 93-95 with good command and sharper off-speed stuff. The improvements are really, really exciting.
Could be. That kind of drop off can't be skills related. Mauer should be able to hit .300 well into his 30s, much like Victor Martinez.
Joe Mauer: one of the quickest bats in 2013, one of the slowest in 2014. Gotta be something wrong with him...
Excellent point, I could not agree more.
So far Law, Mayo, Callis, and Manuel all have the Cubs on a below-slot college bat like Conforto with Gordon falling to the Twins. What's changing PG's mind on this one?
Sorry, that's #4
Regarding #3, David Clyde: Can anyone imagine what would happen if Brady Aiken went 1:1 and was immediately put into the Astros rotation?
My personal list, even if he fully recovers, because 1.5 seasons without Jose feels like a lifetime.
1. Jose Fernandez
2. Jose Fernandez
3. Jose Fernandez
4. Jose Fernandez
5. Jose Fernandez
6. Jose Fernandez
7. Jose Fernandez
8. Jose Fernandez
9. Jose Fernandez
10. Jose Fernandez
11. Jose Fernandez
12. Jose Fernandez
13. Jose Fernandez
What's the point of going on? First Jose, now Yordano. This might be the worst baseball season ever.
Not very many hitters can flip a switch and nearly double they're walk rate from one season to the next. That and his ability to steal bags despite not being a blazing fast runner have really impressed me. I know Gardy gets a little pissy about his routine fly outs, but it's hard to complain with everything else he's doing. He's a hell of a ballplayer.
The format is great, love these new reports. Great work everyone.
This is incredible and awesome. I think these reports should be sponsored "Brought to you by Lubriderm."
Jeff, thanks for the write up on Polanco. Did you get a chance to see his play in the field? How is he handling 2B right now?
That response is poetic. Just got a rush of nostalgia from 10-year-old me.
Pence is the Jim Furyk of baseball.
Too many people bitch, even when you admit you were wrong about a guy. Jason, I'm glad you're willing to take us through your process of changing your mind on a player. I imagine it's something you have to go through all the time and it's not easy to share, because you have to admit being wrong. The fact that you can self-evaluate honestly will only make you a better scout. Keep up the good work and thanks for answering 1000s of our twitter questions and article comments so that we grown men can salivate over our org's teenagers.
I've watched almost every pitch Cashner has thrown this season and am absolutely head over heels for him and that fastball. Is there anyone that tracks strikeouts looking? I've been trying to find out if he leads the league, because he's got to be close to 40-50% of his Ks being of the backward variety.
I really hope he can stay healthy for a full season, because he really could become one of the best pitchers in the game.
It's the only likely scenario. They'll have to move him to the pen, because there's no sign of him getting better. Hughes and Nolasco are under contract for more money and more years, so no chance there. Gibson has been the best starter and is relatively young. That leaves Correia, who is better than Pelfrey and has pitched better than Pelfrey.
For a team that needs to start showing improvement to a frustrated fan base, they're going to need to get into win-now mode and make a push for 80 wins. That means bringing up Meyer. Pelfrey just isn't good enough and soon, he won't be rosterable unless he finds some utility in the pen.
Looks like you're right: http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140423&content_id=73159192&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_milb&sid=milb
Here's hoping he replaces Pelfrey in the next few weeks.
Couldn't agree more. I don't think Porter saw the irony.
In this case, it's bat flips and bunting that cause permanent damage. I actually understand guys getting worked up over words. It's the other stuff that bothers me.
If I were a manager or pitching coach, I would have every one of my guys watch Jose Fernandez react to getting taken deep by Carlos Gonzalez this year (he pimped the hell out if it, too).
As for Bo Porter, he's just an idiot. This is Major League Baseball, not little league. There's no mercy rule. Guys get paid to produce, not to take it easy because it hurts your feelings to give up seven runs in one inning.
Is anyone else feeling "unwritten rule" fatigue?
I find it hilarious that according to the unwritte rules: sliding hard into second base, spikes up, to break up a double play is strongly encouraged (inflicting physical damage), but pimping a home run or trying to score more runs in a blowout is strongly discouraged (hurting feelings).
I guess spikes and slides may break the secondbaseman's bones, but words will definitely hurt me.
Jose Fernandez now has three X-rated pitches. All Marlins games are now aired on premium cable only.
Yeah, that's what I think they should and probably will do.
Isn't it likely that Buxton is simply at High-A to rehab his wrist? Usually Twins players and prospects alike do their rehab down in Florida, since it's warm and the Twins have their facilities down there.
I'm so, so, so sad.
Happy Yordano day BP House! Happy Yordano day commenters! Happy Yordano day you wonderful old ballpark and grass!
I know what I'm gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.
Sumptuous is apt, especially if you have ever seen his topless photo. It's my dyansty team's profile picture, obviously. Should definitely be considered for the cover of the BP Annual next year.
Both Dayton Moore and Ned Yost have said he won't have an innings limit and that they'd let him throw 200 innings. Still optimistic to expect 200, but it's not impossible if they let him loose.
I think Javier Baez has the largest Endowment Effect.
As always, great stuff, Doug. From what you've seen of Meyer, how probable is it that he stays in the rotation? I know the track record for 6'9" guys isn't great, but I want to believe.
Normally I don't bother with spring stats, but Yordano faced a big-boy lineup with the only regular Ranger missing being Adrian Beltre. He made Choo, Fielder, and Andrus all look foolish. The curveball was nasty and the fastball was electric. Can't wait to watch this kid pitch every fifth day.
As a Twins fan, I'm really interested to see what Hughes does this year. If he can be league average, at $8 million that's a great value, considering how much guys like John Danks, Edwin Jackson, Bronson Arroyo, amd Wandy Rodriguez have been paid.
Thus the decline in hip rotation, since he finishes the rotation after striking.
I wonder if he was dealing with a knee issue in his right leg last year. It almost looks like he's pulling up to avoid striking down too hard on the right leg. It looks like his foot strike is tentative in 2013 compared to 2012. Do you see this at all?
See you on Hagerstown, Jason.
I'm assuming you mean avg fly ball distance?
K/9 for Jarrod Parker (6.12 in 2013) or K/9 of Twins pitching staff (6.11 in 2013)
#7. Anyone that actually believes Votto should change his approach even one iota should be banned from writing, talking, or even thinking about baseball. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but good god #7 makes me want to do horrible things.
Thanks again, Doug. I like what you said about the positives in Sale's delivery. Something that is easy for my untrained eye to overlook. And again, great work on this, it made my day.
Thanks for the reply, Doug. Mad Bum was the first one that popped into my head, so thanks for validating my (very) amateur scouting eyes.
What do you think of Chris Sale? His delivery reminds me of Elaine from Seinfeld trying to dance. I mean, the guy is great, but his delivery scares the hell out of me. Is he more unorthodox or unnatural(if that destinction makes sense)? Do you see an injury risk in a guy like that because of the delivery and lack of physical strength?
Great article, this topic is really intriguing. Which pitchers in todays game do you think have the most "natural" mechanics. Who might have the most "unnatural"?
Do you see any reason that Terry Ryan would announce in January that Kurt Suzuki is the starting catcher in Minny? What could they be hesitant about with Pinto? Suzuki is terrible offensively and doesn't throw out baserunners. I am beyond perplexed.
I saw Adam Walker play four games last year over two weekends and came away impressed. He's obviously very athletic and has tons of raw power. He has plenty of holes in his game, especially his awareness of the strike zone and plenty of swings and misses. However, I saw him hit a moonshot that must have gone 475 feet and a line-drive bomb that looked like it was going to knock the scoreboard over. He also knocked a couple more hard liners for base hits.
Anyone seen more of Adam Walker in person and have any thoughts on him? Parks?