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Submariners Newsbeat

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Rany Jazeryli: In Praise of MLB’s Submarine Wizards

Everyone is Chad Bradford Wannabe.

The true submariners — the guys who would come close to scraping their knuckles on the mound — share much in common besides the angle of their throwing arm. And while Ziegler shares those traits as well, he’s taken the craft to places it’s never been before. He’s simultaneously the archetype of a submarine pitcher and a new iteration entirely. Consider:

They were all effective: There’s obviously a selection bias going on here, because submarine pitchers who are not effective are not going to last long enough in the majors to be remembered in pieces like this. Still, it’s imperative to note that every one of the pitchers I just listed had a well-above-average ERA for his career, from Myers (112 ERA+) to Quisenberry (146 ERA+). Ziegler, with a 171 ERA+, has been more effective than all of them.

Of course, their effectiveness is all the more noteworthy because …

They were all completely overlooked as prospects: Tekulve and Quisenberry, two of the 20 best relievers of all time, were not drafted at all. Neither was Leach or Reed. Eichhorn was a second-round pick,7 but he was actually drafted as a conventional pitcher and converted to submarine pitching after a shoulder injury. Myers was a fourth-rounder and Neshek was a sixth-rounder; no one else listed above was drafted prior to the 10th round.

Ziegler, as mentioned, was a 20th-round pick who was released about eight minutes later. These guys were nobodies, because …

They all threw really, really slow: For his career,8 Bradford’s fastball averaged 80.7 mph, which is a tick faster than Myers’s 80.6. We don’t have velocity data for the 20th-century guys, but they didn’t throw much harder. Tekulve probably threw in the mid-80s; Quisenberry probably threw in the low 80s. Of Eichhorn, The Scouting Report: 1987 wrote, “The most veteran hitters say they have never seen a major league pitcher throw a pitch as slow as Eichhorn does.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 20, 2014 at 04:21 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: submariners

 

 

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