A look at three more pitchers returning from major arm injuries in 2015.
A couple of months ago, we went under the microscope with a trio of pitchers who were coming back from major elbow injuries, as Jose Fernandez, Matt Cain, and Matt Moore each made his 2015 debut (on the same day, no less). Today we take a similar approach but open up the scope beyond elbows to see how some pitchers have fared in their own comebacks from injury, specifically focusing on pitchers for contending clubs who will be counted on to maintain effectiveness as their teams make the push for the postseason. Not every pitcher comes back to the mound in the same condition that he left it, and a pitcher's mechanics can offer a glimpse into his progress in getting back to 100 percent, while helping us to understand some of the details of his prognosis over the next couple of months.
The Tigers cleared a spot for Drew Smyly to start again. Does he have the right credentials?
Three seasons ago, Phil Coke started 14 games for a playoff-bound Detroit team. Coke, who the Yankees reared as a starter during his prospect days, had appeared in 158 games by that point, with all but one coming in relief. (The exception was a spot-start in the previous season's finale.) Success felt like a long shot, yet Detroit's effort made sense. As Detroit's pitching coach Jeff Jones, who served as the club's bullpen coach at the time, later explained, "[Coke] had the variety of quality stuff, he'd done it before and been successful in the minor leagues." Coke's variety of stuff and minor league success never yielded results, however, and the overwhelmed lefty returned to the bullpen by midseason.
Jones's experience with Coke during that forgettable trial should serve as a nice reference point this spring, when he converts another southpaw reliever into a starter. The pupil this time is Drew Smyly, whose transition should come easier. Smyly's stay in the bullpen lasted one season and was caused by a deep, talented rotation. Rather than send him to the minors, Dave Dombrowski used him to stabilize the bullpen. Things worked out well on all fronts: Detroit led the AL in rotation ERA and Smyly posted the game's second-best strikeout-to-walk ratio among left-handed relievers.
A Tiger trade might make room in the rotation for Drew Smyly, and the A's try to bring back Bartolo Colon.
Tigers Open to Shuffling Rotation Our fantasy writers pined throughout the 2013 season for Drew Smyly to find his way into the Tigers’ starting five. If general manager Dave Dombrowski is to be believed, they will get their wish next year.
As a few incubment closers prepare to hit free agency, Craig breaks down the pitchers who could supplant them.
In his September 12 Bullpen Report, Mike Gianella broke down the contract situations of all the closers in baseball, giving us an idea of where there might be change and throwing out some names so we could capitalize early. I loved this idea and wanted to take it a step further in the cases of the five teams that will be losing a closer to free agency. With that in mind, let’s get to it:
Two Red Sox position players could have sneaky value, and the door may not be closed on Jose Valverde just yet.
Each week, two members of the BP fantasy team will provide a rundown of potentially valuable players that are available as free agents in most fantasy formats across the major platforms. We will run one column on the National League and one on the American League each week, with Josh Shepardson tackling the senior circuit on Mondays and Paul Singman focusing on the junior circuit on Tuesdays.
In some cases, baseball's on-field etiquette seems clear, but there is often more to the story than either we or the players know.
On August 11 in Toledo, the Durham Bulls’ Will Rhymes hit a second-inning, two-run home run off of Toledo Mud Hens starter Drew Smyly. (If you watch the video above, you’ll see a replay of Rhymes’ homer partway through.)
Does the Pirates' Josh Harrison have a historically troubled relationship to the strike zone?
Start with the best part, from Josh Harrison’s perspective. On Friday, Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Pirates. It felt, at that moment, like one of the most inevitable no-hitters ever, because it had felt, in the first inning, like one of the most inevitable no-hitters ever. But, with one out, Josh Harrison got a base hit. That at-bat:
Starting Pitching VP returns with Niemann, Burnett, Doubront, and Parker
Readers, today I am proud to introduce you to the newest member of the Baseball Prospectus Fantasy team, Paul Sporer. You may recognize Paul from Roto Hardball or from his own blog, Baseball by Paul. Paul will be writing the Starting Pitching edition of Value Picks as well as resurrecting the Weekly Planner. Welcome aboard, Paul! —Derek Carty, Fantasy Manager
Best- and worst-case scenarios for Tiger cubs ranging from Turner to Paulino.
Prospect #1: RHP Jacob Turner Background with Player: My eyes; industry sources. Who: After being selected ninth overall in the 2009 Rule Four draft and signing a major league deal that included a $4.7M bonus, it quickly became apparent that Jacob Turner was in fact a dream come true, a Ken doll of pitching characteristics with prototypical size and strength, a clean and easy delivery that allows for repeatability and a potentially plus command profile, a lively plus fastball that can touch higher, an above-average 12-6 curve with tight rotation and excellent depth, a changeup with good action, and good overall feel for sequencing and situations.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: After reaching the majors last season, Turner will have every opportunity to claim a rotation spot during spring training. This is a huge jump for a young arm, regardless of the polish and punch of the arsenal, and Turner could face a harsh reality. Turner has advanced strike-throwing ability, but that shouldn’t be confused with advanced command. With the ability to throw his three-pitch mix for strikes, Turner can manage the intensity of the arsenal and force poor contact rather than go for throat rips with every at-bat. Against superior competition, throwing strikes is a good way to win the hearts of the hitters you face, as they can send you a flowers and chocolates after they victimize your offerings. At the major league level, you have to up the intensity of the arsenal while not only maintaining the ability to throw strikes but also refining the ability to throw quality strikes. With the training wheels still on the bike and the minor league blueprint for success still fresh in the mind, 2012 will be a developmental year for Jacob Turner, one that will feature a few highs and more than a few lows, especially if the 20-year-old is thrown to the major league wolves.