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Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: JH Schroeder

Player Name: Hand, Brad

Report Date: 7/26/2017

GS/G

IP

ER

H

K

BB

HBP

WHIP

ERA

Sample

9

9.1

0

7

15

0

0

0.96

0.00

Totals

46

51.0

12

37

66

14

4

1.00

2.12

Context: This report looks at Brad Hand’s appearances for last month of games, beginning with his game against Atlanta on June 28th through today. Hand made nine appearances total. He entered the game to start the eighth inning seven times, entered in the ninth and received a save, and entered with two outs in the seventh and pitched 1 1/3 innings. Looking at his pitch usage, his work during this month was in line with the rest of his season.

Physical/Health: Healthy, strong, big-bodied guy, but has handled a large workload. Led MLB relievers in appearances and relief innings in 2016. 10th in relief innings this season. Converted starter, but still slightly different muscle groups, so some worry about wear and tear. Delivery looks like it places a good amount of stress on his elbow.

SCOUTING BREAKDOWN

Fastball

Hand has always had a good fastball, that plays up a bit due to some short arm action, and has been even better this year when combined with his heavy slider usage.

Hand has two fastballs, a four-seam version that works 92-95 mph with average rise and run, and a two-seam version that also sits anywhere from 91-95 with average run, and above-average sink.

Hand’s fastball grades as a plus pitch, and can flash higher, due to his velocity, left-handedness, and deception. He also does a good job of using the pitches well to play up their effectiveness. His four-seam works well as a swing and miss pitch up, while his two-seamer plays as a groundball pitch down in the zone.

Hand has a good enough fastball that he can generally get away missing his spot, but his effectiveness this year has been largely due to him setting up his fastball well. In particular, he’s done a good job using his four-seamer to get in on right handed batters, throwing sinkers down and away for groundballs, or weak contact. Against lefties, Hand almost exclusively uses his four-seamer away, which pairs well with his wipeout slider.

From watching Hand, both fastballs have a clear role in his repertoire. As noted above, the sinker plays when located down in the zone, and the four-seamer plays when located up. Both pitches have clear uses and effect, something not every pitcher has.

vs. LHB

2017 Season: 42.5% fastballs (40.6% four-seam, 1.9% two-seam)

vs. RHB

2017 Season: 55.0% fastballs (22.7% four-seam, 33.4% two-seam)

Four-seam FB vs. Two-seam FB against RHH (2017 season)

Four-seam vs. Two-seam FB against LHH (2017 season)

Breaking Pitches

Hand has developed one of the better sliders in baseball, and will mix in an occasional curveball. The slider works anywhere from 81-85, and has some of the best vertical movement for that pitch type in baseball. More impressively, Hand manipulates the break of this pitch, typically opting for more vertical movement when thrown down and in to right-handed hitters. He does not rely on his curveball, but uses to try and steal a first pitch strike against right-handed batters. The curveball sits at 76-77, and has average break.

Hand’s slider rates as an 80 pitch. His 20 percent whiff rate on the pitch is one of the best in baseball. He also generates an impressive amount of chase from right-handed batters on the backfoot slider (almost 53 percent). His slider shows late, and has very sharp two-plane action.

After watching Hand’s appearances in this time frame, it became clear his slider was successful despite a lack of precise command, particularly against right-handed batters. When he hung his slider, it typically locked up a right-handed batter who gave up on the pitch. When he executed his slider where he wanted, he succeeded in getting a swing and miss, chase, or at worst a groundball. His slider’s effectiveness against righties is probably the largest reason he is split-neutral. It looked like hanging the slider against a lefty was more dangerous than doing so against a righty, as they were more likely to not give up on the pitch.

The curveball is Hand’s third pitch, used in a very limited manner. From my sample, he used his curveball only as the first pitch to right-handed batters. From his usage table, Hand throws his curveball 26 percent of the time in 0-0 counts against right-handed batters. Also, from my sample, he always followed his curveball with a fastball, often a four-seam fastball inside to a righty. From a strategic standpoint, this is an effective way for Hand to get to an 0-2 count without showing the hitter his slider. Furthermore, his curveball probably does a slightly better of setting up the fastball given the larger velocity gap.

His curveball grades as a 50, but is a successful third pitch in the way Hand is currently utilizing it.

vs. LHB

2017 Season: 57.4% breaking balls (57.4% sliders)

vs. RHB

2017 Season: 44.6% breaking balls (36.2% sliders, 8.4% curveballs)

Breaking Pitch Locations for LHHs vs. RHHs with two strikes (2017 season)

Off-Speed Pitches

Hand used a changeup (around 10 percent) as a starter, but has gradually moved away from this pitch, throwing only two this season, both in April. His changeup is below average, thrown historically from 86-88, with less movement than his sinker.

His changeup grades out as a 40 pitch and was well-advised to be dropped from his arsenal.

Notable Games

Date:

Description:

7/4 at Cleveland

Struck out the side against the Indians, facing Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley, and Edwin Encarnacion.

Fielding/Pickoff

Hand didn’t give much of a look at his fielding, he doesn’t look like a particularly athletic guy on the mound, but he does finish his motion in a good defensive posture. Hand was 1.56 to 1.72 to the plate with speed on first-base, and much slower with speed on second-base (2.02). His pickoff looked average, readable, but good enough at keeping a runner honest. As a former starter, more aware than your average high leverage reliever about the running game.

Additional Notes

Mechanics

Hand has a simple, but unclean delivery. His motion starts with an abbreviated leg kick before reaching down the mound. His arm has a slight-hook, to a short-arm, moderately high-effort finish. He does create nice separation between shoulders and hips. There is some slight recoil to his delivery, particularly on leverage pitches. His arm-slot wandered a bit, from three-quarters to high-three-quarters, though he typically repeated in the three-quarters slot.

Mound Presence

Hand has an above-average mound presence. He looks bigger on the mound than his listed height and weight. He was very calm, even in high leverage situation, and showed very little emotion. Continued to attack the strike-zone regardless of his results.

Recommendation to Acquire: Hand would fit in any bullpen as a high-leverage reliever capable of getting lefties and righties out. As an additional bonus, he also can provide some length to a bullpen. He should be capable of working two innings in a playoff situation. Only red-flag would be the somewhat stressful arm-action combined with his high workload.